This has been going on for a month. There is water damage and mold is starting to grow. My a/c is hanging from a board in the ceiling where there is now water damage. I'm afraid this is unsafe. I did not notify my apartment in writing the first time I had this problem, but I do have copies of the work orders(that say there is a leak) starting on March 1, 2012... I notified them again through email(including pictures) on March, 9, 2012. If my problem is not fixed on the 16th of March, am I able to terminate my lease?
Construction / Development Lawyer
A leak with mold growing would probably constitute a condition that materially affects the physical health and safety of an ordinary tenant. To resolve such conditions, you have to comply with the landlord - tenant provisions set out in the Texas Property Code. You cannot simply declare that you are fed up and move out. If you do, the landlord could declare you in default of the lease, accelerate all the remaining payments, and sue you for all the rent remaining under your lease.
For a condition that materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant, the landlord is required to make repairs or to remedy the condition. To start that process under the Landlord - Tenant provisions of the Texas Property Code, specifically section 92.056, the tenant needs to provide written notice of the condition and to request repairs. When I represent a tenant, I recommend that the tenant hand deliver the notice and also send it by certified mail. If after a reasonable time, the landlord does not address/resolve the condition, or make a diligent effort to do so, the tenant would have to send a second notice. If the landlord does not then resolve the condition, or make diligent effort to resolve the condition within a reasonable time, the tenant can terminate the lease, remedy the condition and hold the landlord accountable for the cost, or pursue one of the other remedies set out in Texas Property Code section 92.056.
You can review the Texas Property Code, Chapter 92 - Landlord - Tenant Residential Property, at the following web addresses:
2 lawyers agree
Personal Injury Lawyer
I am sure you should have a copy of your lease agreement. Read it from beginning to end. It should provide the answers with respect to exactly what you should do and what your requirements are.
You did good by taking pictures of the damage. Save those.
Again, re-read the lease. If that does not answer your questions, then you should call a local attorney.