Landlord has left my door secured with CARDBOARD for almost a month?
1 attorney answer
An insecure front door would 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:
Also, the landlord cannot retaliate against a tenant for pursuing a remedy concerning defects in the premises for six months under Texas Property Code section 92.331. The tenant's remedies for retaliation are set out in Property Code section 92.333:
"Sec. 92.333. Tenant Remedies.
In addition to other remedies provided by law, if a landlord retaliates against a tenant under this subchapter, the tenant may recover from the landlord a civil penalty of one month's rent plus $500, actual damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney's fees in an action for recovery of property damages, moving costs, actual expenses, civil penalties, or declaratory or injunctive relief, less any delinquent rents or other sums for which the tenant is liable to the landlord. If the tenant's rent payment to the landlord is subsidized in whole or in part by a governmental entity, the civil penalty granted under this section shall reflect the fair market rent of the dwelling plus $500."