A lot of tenants believe that landlords are responsible for repairing and paying for all damage to their houses, but this is far from being true. As a tenant, it is important to understand the responsibilities you have in maintaining a rental property in Texas. While landlords are typically responsible for major repairs and upkeep of the property, certain repairs fall under the tenant's purview.
Texas law requires tenants to keep the rental property clean and safe and to use the property reasonably well. This means that tenants are responsible for minor repairs and upkeep that are necessary to keep the property in a safe and habitable condition.
Maintenance Responsibilities Tenants Are Accountable For
First and foremost, tenants need to understand that their responsibilities and landlords' responsibilities when it comes to repairing damages in Texas are largely governed by the terms of the lease agreement. This means that the specific responsibilities can vary greatly from one rental situation to another. As a result, you need to carefully review your lease agreement before signing it and familiarize yourself with its terms.
In general, here are some of the commonly outlined repair responsibilities for tenants in Texas:
1. Minor Repair
Tenants are often responsible for minor repair and maintenance tasks, such as; fixing a leaky faucet, changing light bulbs, or unclogging a toilet. These types of repairs are considered the tenant's responsibility because they are relatively simple and inexpensive to fix.
However, they should keep in mind that even minor repairs can become major problems if they are not addressed promptly. For example, a leaky faucet can lead to water damage and mold growth if it is not repaired promptly.
2. Damages Caused By Tenant Negligence
Tenants are also responsible for damages that are caused by their negligence. For example, if a tenant causes a fire or flood due to their actions, they may be responsible for paying for the repairs. Similarly, if a tenant damages the walls, floors, or fixtures due to carelessness or abuse, they may be responsible for paying for the repairs.
Tenants should understand that damage caused by their negligence can be much more expensive to repair than simple wear and tear. For instance, a flooded bathroom can lead to extensive water damage, mold growth, and structural damage.
3. Appliance Repairs
Tenants are often responsible for the repair and maintenance of any appliances that are provided as part of the rental property. This can include refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, and other appliances that are included in the rental property.
The specific responsibilities for appliance repairs can vary depending on the terms of the lease agreement and the individual circumstances of each rental property. For example, in some cases, landlords may be responsible for repairing or replacing appliances that break down due to normal wear and tear. In other cases, tenants may be responsible for the full cost of repairs, including the cost of parts and labor.
4. Landscaping And Lawn Maintenance
In Texas, when tenants are responsible for landscaping and lawn maintenance, they are typically expected to keep the property well-maintained. And that includes mowing the lawn, trimming shrubs and trees, and removing any debris or litter. They may also be responsible for maintaining flower beds, gardens, and other landscaping features such as sprinkler systems and irrigation systems.
In addition to maintaining the property, tenants are also responsible for any damage caused by landscaping and lawn maintenance activities. For example, if you damage a neighbor's property while mowing the lawn, you may be held responsible for the cost of repairs.
5. Pest Control
Pests can be a major problem in rental properties. This is why tenants and landlords need to understand who is responsible for pest control.
If a tenant brings pests into the rental property by bringing in furniture or other items that are infested with it, the tenant may be responsible for paying for pest control. Tenants are also responsible for pest control if they are the cause of the pest infestation, such as; failing to properly dispose of garbage or leaving food out in the open.
If you are a tenant in Texas and you are concerned about pests in your rental property, it is vital to communicate with your landlord. Your landlord should be able to provide you with information about the steps they are taking to control pests, and should also be able to give you advice about how to prevent pests from entering the rental property.
6. Healing And Cooling Repairs
In Texas, the laws regarding heating and cooling system repairs can vary depending on the specific situation. If a tenant damages the heating and cooling system through negligence such as altering the system or failing to report a problem promptly, the tenant may be responsible for paying for repairs.
7. Plumbing Repairs
Just like the heating and cooling system, the plumbing system is also an important component of a rental property. If a tenant causes damage to the plumbing system through their negligence such as flushing inappropriate items down the toilet, he or she will pay for repairs.
Tenants need to be mindful of the plumbing system in their rental property and report any problems or issues to their landlord as soon as they arise. By addressing plumbing problems early on, they can help prevent more significant and costly problems from occurring.
How Much Time Are Tenants In Texas Given To Fix The Damages They caused?
In Texas, if a tenant causes damage to the rental property, the landlord has the right to tell the tenant to repair the damage within a reasonable amount of time. This time frame is typically specified in the lease agreement.
If the lease agreement is silent on this matter, the Texas Property Code requires the tenant to repair the damages within a reasonable amount of time, which is typically considered to be 30 days. However, the exact amount of time may depend on the specific circumstances and the severity of the damage.
If the tenant fails to repair the damages within the specified time frame, the landlord may have the right to deduct the cost of repairs from the tenant's security deposit or to take legal action to recover the cost of repairs.
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