I rent a house and am about 12 months into an 18 month lease. A few months ago, we had a squirrel get caught in our wall. The wildlife removal guy told us upon entering the attic that he noticed an active rat infestation. He also said it was his opinion that it was the landlord's responsibility to fix since the damage is to his house, not our property (so far).
Now that winter has come again, I am hearing the rats constantly. They are waking me up at night. My landlord still says pest control is our responsibility. I don't want to pay for a 1 year rat pest service since we only have 6 months left, but I'm afraid there's not much time until they enter the rest of the house. Can I hold my landlord responsible?
Estate Planning Attorney
The answer, in my opinion, is probably yes. It is customary for landlords to make repairs to homes that they lease. The Texas Property Code also cites that tenants can make demand of their landlords to repair issues that may materially affect the health or safety of any occupant.
In this case, if you have a rat infestation, I would recommend sending a formal written request to your landlord by Certified Mail and giving him a timeline to repair the issue. Since the Property Code allows you to make this demand, then (if not action is taken by the landlord) make the repairs yourself and deduct it from the rent, you may consider that course of action.
That said BE CAUTIOUS the Property Code has some specific requirements about the demand letter, the timeframe and what you can do. I would recommend speaking to a lawyer to get some help with this. I am in the Dallas area so if I may be of help please feel free to contact me.