Hello, I’m currently renting a home in San Antonio, TX. As you all know we experienced a really bad storm recently. (The home we are renting is in below average shape, built in 91. Rated a C overall in move-in inspection.) To prepare for the storm and avoid burst pipes we followed all necessary precautions: left hot and cold water trickling throughout home. Left cabinets under sinks open. Unplugged hose. Kept heat set at 70. (House temp maxed out at 50). And after all of that, we still had a pipe burst in the wall by the master bedroom/ master bath to the outside. As soon as we discovered the issue we shut off the main water valve and contacted Property Management as well as SAWs. An emergency service was submitted 20FEB and a plumbing company came by 21FEB for a brief inspection. They reported that they must rip open drywall to find the pipe. PM confirmed 22FEB APPROVAL for vendor to proceed with repairs. 25FEB still haven’t heard from vendor, reached out to PM and they say they will call and reach back. Also tells me, “btw tenant is responsible for repair costs.” They point to the following lines in the lease :
Paragraph 21. LIABILITY: Unless caused by Landlord, Landlord is not responsible to Tenant, Tenant's guests, family, or occupants for any damages, injuries, or losses to person or property caused by fire, flood, water leaks, ice, snow, hail, winds, explosion, smoke, interruption of utilities, theft, burglary, robbery, assault, vandalism, other persons, condition of the Property, environmental contaminants (for example, carbon monoxide, asbestos, radon, lead-based paint, mold, fungus, etc.), or other occurrences or casualty losses. Tenant will promptly reimburse Landlord for any loss, property damage, or cost of repairs or service to the Property caused by Tenant, Tenant's guests, any occupants, or any pets.
So they are implying that unless directly caused by landlord, EVERYTHING is the tenants responsibility? In this case the damage wasn’t caused by the tenant, so who is liable ? Is this Liability note even legal ? How can they just place all responsibility caused by anything on the tenant ?
I looked up this line from Texas Law and I’m wondering if it has any merit in this case :
A landlord who knowingly violates Section 92.006 by contracting orally or in writing with a tenant to waive the landlord's duty to repair under this subchapter shall be liable to the tenant for actual damages, a civil penalty of one month's rent plus $2,000, and reasonable attorney's fees. For purposes of this subsection, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the landlord acted without knowledge of the violation. The tenant shall have the burden of pleading and proving a knowing violation. If the lease is in writing and is not in violation of Section 92.006, the tenant's proof of a knowing violation must be clear and convincing. A mutual agreement for tenant repair under Subsection (g) of Section 92.0561 is not a violation of Section 92.006.
Anyway I would love some input from the community on this issue. I just want this resolved In a fair/legal way. It just doesn’t seem right. Thanks for any and all input.
No that clause just means that they are not responsible for damage caused to your personal property. They are responsible for the building. You did not cause this problem. They should re-read their own lease!
Just because something is in a lease agreement and agreed to by all parties does not mean it is legal. from what I've read, the landlord is saying he is not responsible for your personal belongings for acts outside of his control. Likewise, you are not responsible for his property when damages caused by acts outside your control.
Get the work done and let the owner settle down. If they attempt to come after you for money, simply ignore them or hire an attorney to set them street.
The Property Managers interpretation of that paragraph would never hold up in court. They are just wrong
Keep detailed records and document everything in case you need to go to court to get your deposit back. I would also consider sending this information directly to the owner once repaired. Obviously if this gets more contentious be prepared to move at the end of your lease