Withholding Rent In Texas
Disputes between landlords and tenants can become fraught with emotion, particularly for the tenants. Sometimes a tenant may wish to withhold rent as a means to elicit cooperation from their landlord to make a repair or correct some portion of the community. The state of Texas prohibits the withholding of rent. Withholding rent in Texas will lead to an eviction suit being filed against the tenant for non-payment of rent. The resident may however, elect to have a professional come to complete the necessary work, and deduct the amount of the repairs from the rent.
It is important to keep in mind that deducting rent is a very drastic means to an end and should only be employed when the situation is as serious as the action. That is to say that deducting rent can only be accomplished without penalty to the tenant when the situation necessitating the withholding directly affects the health or safety of the person living there.
Should a situation of such urgency and seriousness arise, first notify your landlord in writing. Give the landlord reasonable time to correct the issue. If the issue is not resolved, make a second written request for the work to be completed and again allow reasonable time for the landlord to comply with your request. Should the landlord blatantly ignore your requests and the situation is directly affecting the health and safety of the inhabitants of the home you may write a letter to the landlord documenting your intent to deduct repairs from your rent.
It is important that your rental payment not be in arrears when notice is given, that the reason for deducting be substantial, and that you are able to provide proof that the funds necessary for paying rent were available at the time that rent is due. This is to prevent people from using repairs as an excuse not to pay rent when their reason is actually a lack of funds.
If your situation is not serious enough to warrant deducting rent, you are not without recourse. You may still terminate your lease contract by putting the request for repairs in writing twice as described above. If the landlord fails to make the repairs after a reasonable amount of time, you may immediately terminate your lease by written notice.
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