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Texas tenants: what you need to know about retaliation

One of the biggest fears Texas tenants have when they are leasing residential space is that they could lose their home if they get in a dispute with the landlord. However, there are protections in place that prohibit landlords from retaliating against tenants for various reasons.

In other words, landlords cannot take negative action against tenants for unlawful reasons. If you are a tenant, knowing what these reasons are will give you confidence that you can protect yourself without risking eviction.

According to Texas laws, a landlord cannot take negative action against a tenant who:

  • Requests that a landlord complete repairs
  • Reports building or housing code violations to government entities
  • Attempts to enforce the terms of a lease agreement
  • Organizes or participates in a tenant group or association

These are all lawful, protected actions that tenants are allowed to take without having to face consequences from their landlord for six months.

These consequences include cancellation of lease, increase of rent, decrease in services, filing of eviction papers or interfering with the tenant's rights. Engaging in any dishonest or misleading action in response to a tenant's exercising of his or her rights is also prohibited.

What all this means is that tenants have the right to report violations and hold a landlord accountable for lease terms without fear of losing their home in retaliation. However, sometimes it is not clear if certain actions are retaliatory or not, or if certain tenant actions are protected or not. 

Because of this, it is wise for a tenant to discuss with an attorney any concerns or questions about their rights and legal protections, should a dispute arise. Disputes between tenants and landlords can become quite contentious, and tenants often feel at a disadvantage. However, with legal guidance, Texas tenants can protect themselves and their home.

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