Texas law allows a tenant to deduct costs for repairs from their rent in a few situations. If you are planning to exercise this right, it is important to read the law carefully. There are specific requirements that you must meet.
You must be current on rent when asking your landlord to make a repair. Withholding rent is strongly discouraged and can result in the landlord filing for an eviction. If you withhold rent, you may lose your right to have the property repaired until all the rent has been paid. This law is in Section 92.052 of the Property Code.
The law can be complex, so you may wish to talk to an attorney before taking any action. For more information on finding an attorney, please see the library's Legal Help page.
For more information on a tenant's right to repairs, please see the Repairs page of our Landlord/Tenant guide.
The Texas Property Code mentions a few situations in which a tenant might be able to deduct repair costs from the rent:
Making the repairs yourself & deducting the cost
Section 92.056 & Section 92.0561
This law requires a tenant to take certain steps when asking their landlord to make repairs. These include letting the landlord know about the problem and giving them a reasonable amount of time to make the repair.
If you have taken these steps, you may make the repair yourself and deduct the cost of the repair from your rent. The law requires you to notify the landlord first.
Installing or rekeying security devices
This law requires a landlord to install security devices like locks, window latches, and sliding door pins. They are also required to rekey security devices between tenants.
If your landlord fails to do this, you may install or rekey the devices and deduct reasonable costs from your rent.
Reconnecting or preventing utility shutoffs
Some landlords may agree to furnish and pay for water, gas, or electric services for their tenants. If your landlord fails to pay for these utilities and they are cut off (or about to be), there are remedies available.
This law allows you to deduct from the rent the amount necessary to reconnect or prevent a cutoff.
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