Tenant Rights to breake a lease

6 Replies

Hi,

In this case, I am on the other side (tenant) not landlord, and I'm in quite a situation, I hope someone here can help.

I just rented a duplex in Arlington Texas, and since I moved in the fridge has not been working.

I have reached out to the property mgmt about 8 times, and they ignore me. I have all the texts and calls as proof, but nothing in paper writting. It has been 20 days since I moved in.

In the contract, in the "special provisions" section it says that landlord will provide fridge and mantain it functioning. Do I have grounds to break my lease without penalty? Could the text msgs be used as evidence if we went to court?

Thanks in adv.

Most state's landlord/tenant laws (easily found online) have a process by which you complain to the courts and escrow your rent with them rather than pay the landlord, then landlord is notified.  Or call the city and ask them the process. If you just don't pay rent, even with notice that it's due to repairs needed, you're likely not protected from landlord starting eviction, which could harm you in looking for your next place.  

I am not familiar with TX laws, but in California, appliances are considered amenities and not part of habitability. Read your lease and see if there are specifics on the repair and maintenance of any appliances. Unless there is language that states how and what repairs are the landlord's responsibility, it may be very difficult to get repairs done quickly. Small claims court may not be a good option but may be a last resort.

Texas law allows a tenant to terminate the lease in cases where the landlord has failed to make repairs only when the situation effects the safety of the tenant or the habitability of the property. While frustrating no doubt, a refrigerator does not meet that standard. The tenant would also have to provide proper documented notice and reasonable time for the landlord to rectify the problem . Very seldom do tenants navigate the process correctly

In regards to the refrigerator. Have you made the repair request in writing by certified and regular mail?  

Personally, I would go an buy a used refrigerator and call it a day. No doubt you have spent more than the cost of an $150 used fridge in eating out and such already.  Document your efforts and then try to recoup the money from the management company