Tenants in Texas have the right to “repair and deduct”—that is, to hire a repair person to fix a serious problem with a rental unit and deduct the cost from your rent. There are some caveats, however. In most cases, your rental must be inspected by a local housing, building, or health official before you can legally repair and deduct. They must notify the landlord, in writing, that the condition threatens your health or safety.
Once you've done that, keep in mind that there are a few more legal restrictions:
- The total cost of the repair cannot exceed one month’s rent or $500, whichever is greater.
- You're going to need to provide your landlord with a copy of the repair bill and the receipt for its payment along with the rental payment that remains after the deduction.
- Your can't hire a professional repair person if the landlord gives you an affidavit (a sworn statement) explaining the reasons for the delay before you find a contractor.
- Repairs must be made by a professional, not by you yourself. If you want to get a friend or family member to make the fix, then you need to get special approval from your landlord beforehand.
Make sure you're very familiar with state laws concerning the repair and deduct process before you get started—otherwise, you could find yourself in legal hot water.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.