How Long Can a Texas Landlord Leave You Without Air Conditioning?
With summer temperatures in Nacogdoches and the rest of Texas regularly reaching into the triple digits, air conditioning is something that is tough to live without. Having your air conditioning suddenly give out in the middle of summer can be frustrating, and even more so if you live in a rental property. If you find yourself facing this situation, you may be wondering how long your landlord legally has to get the AC problem fixed. To help you answer this question, here is a full overview of Texas tenancy laws as they relate to air conditioning.
Texas Tenancy Laws and Air Conditioning
Like most other states, landlords in Texas are under no legal obligation to provide air conditioning in their rental properties. A few cities like Dallas do have specific laws that require landlords to provide AC, but this is fairly rare. However, if you live in a rental property that had working air conditioning when you moved in, Texas law does require that the landlord repair the system should it ever stop working. That being said, it is up to the tenant to verify that the air conditioning system is working before signing the lease and moving into the property.
According to the Texas Tenants’ Rights Handbook, landlords have to make a valid effort to repair any problems that can affect the health and safety of their tenants, and this must be done within a certain timeframe of their notification of the issue. For most problems, landlords are required to have the problem fixed, or at least make a diligent effort toward doing so, within seven days of being notified of it. However, in situations that involve a lack of heating, air conditioning, or water, the landlord only has three days to fix the issue.
Still, there is some leeway in this. The landlord can still claim that, even if the problem isn’t fixed yet, they made an attempt within the timeframe. This is actually quite a common occurrence in situations where your AC goes out. Many HVAC companies are extremely busy during the summer, and it could potentially take more than three days before someone can come look at the issue.
Steps You Can Take If Your Landlord Doesn’t Repair the Issue in Time
If you notice that your AC stops working or can’t keep your home cool, the first thing you have to do is immediately notify your landlord. It is best to do this via email to ensure that you have a record of when you informed them of the problem. It is also important that you do this quickly because the law requires you to inform the landlord of any issues within a reasonable amount of time, and failure to do so could void your lease agreement.
After notifying your landlord, they are required to keep you informed about what steps they are taking and when the problem will be resolved. If the problem hasn’t been fixed within three days and the landlord hasn’t made a reasonable effort, there are a number of possible options you can take.
The first step is usually to notify the city so that they are aware of the issue. Hopefully, they can spur the landlord into action. Texas law also allows for something known as “repair and deduct.” This essentially means that, if the landlord doesn’t act in time, you can pay for the repairs out of your own pocket and deduct the expenses from your next rent payment. The only stipulation is that the repairs cannot exceed $500.
In extreme cases, you are legally allowed to sue the landlord for damages or cancel your lease agreement. However, either of these is generally only a last resort. The one thing that you shouldn’t do is withhold your rent as this may void your lease and forfeit your rights.
Expert Cooling and Home Services
At Nacogdoches Sheet Metal, Plumbing & Air Conditioning, LTD., our company has been proudly providing exceptional HVAC services to customers in the Nacogdoches area since the 1940s. We are a certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, and our current owner has been in charge since 2010. We offer a wide range of HVAC services, including air conditioning and heating repair, maintenance, and installation as well as sheet metal fabrication. Our NATE-certified HVAC technicians also specialize in air duct cleaning and indoor air quality equipment and services. Besides that, our team also includes licensed plumbers specializing in water heaters, garbage disposals, and a full range of plumbing installation and repair services. No matter what type of home service you need, give us a call at Nacogdoches Sheet Metal, Plumbing & Air Conditioning, LTD. today and get the professional expertise your home and family deserve.