As the tenant of a rented residence, you have rights as well as responsibilities. The law requires that your landlord respect your rights.
The exercise of your tenant rights may occasionally have an adverse effect on your landlord. In return, he or she may take action against you that violates your rights. This is landlord retaliation, and the Texas State Law Library explains what you can do about it.
What does landlord retaliation look like?
Broadly speaking, a landlord can retaliate by interfering with your rights as a tenant by taking action against you in bad faith:
- Raising the rent
- Depriving you of use of the premises
- Decreasing the services you receive
- Ending your lease or evicting you
Note that if you do not fulfill your obligations under your lease, your landlord can legally take actions such as these. Retaliation occurs when your landlord performs such actions without justification.
What are your rights as a tenant?
As a tenant, your rights include the ability to form or participate in a tenant organization and to report any suspected housing or building code violations to the appropriate government entity. Perhaps most significantly, you have the right to request repairs, mold remediation or pest infestation to your landlord and to expect that he or she will do something in response.
What are the possible remedies for landlord retaliation?
After a case of landlord retaliation, you may choose to leave the premises. If so, your landlord may have to pay for your moving expenses. Otherwise, your landlord may have to credit you one month’s rent plus pay $500 in damages. If you have to take your landlord to court and you win, you can request that your landlord cover your legal fees and court costs. This is in addition to any other damages you may have suffered because of the retaliation.
A lease agreement is a legal contract in which you and your landlord each have obligations to each other. You have the right to ask your landlord to fulfill his or her obligations without fear of retaliation.