A common problem in Real Estate Law is the landlord-tenant relationship. In a residential landlord-tenant relationship the owner (landlord) consents to the occupancy of another (tenant) while holding onto their title to the land. While this relationship is governed by several statues and the Property Code, the most important piece to the relationship is the lease agreement either written or oral.
Tenants are afforded certain rights. These rights include quiet enjoyment of the property, right of privacy, a healthy and safe environment and security. The right to peace and quiet for a tenant grants them the right to complain about the problem, say a noisy neighbor, and request the landlord address the problem. Under right of privacy, unless otherwise stated in the lease agreement, the landlord has no right to enter the tenants dwelling. Regarding healthy and safe environment rights and security, the landlord has a duty to repair problems that affect a tenant’s health and safety including pest and rodent control, leaks, heating and air conditioning problems. For the security of the tenant, the landlord is required to rekey between tenants and provide a keyless bolting device on all exterior doors.
If the landlord fails to comply with the statues, Property Code, or lease agreement, the tenant does have rights and remedies including, but not limited to, termination of the lease and even filing a suit against the landlord or management company. The tenant should not, with little exceptions, withhold rent if any of their rights have been violated because the landlord could then file suit.
The landlord does have rights as well. The landlord does not have to repair damages caused by the tenant or if the damage does not affect health and safety. If rent is not completely paid and all rules are followed, a landlord does have the right to prevent a tenant from entering the premises being leased. If the tenant fails to pay rent, and the lease agreement states, the landlord also has the right to posses all non-exempt property found in the leased property. The landlord may file an eviction if the tenant fails to abide by the terms of the lease agreement.
*** This blog is meant for informational purposes only. This blog is not intended as legal advice. If you have any questions or wish to speak to an attorney, please contact our office***