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Old 03-29-2012, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
5,569 posts, read 10,898,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DexterCat View Post
while i agree that he technically did tell me about it when i signed the lease, i did not authorize the maintenance guy to repair the unit at my expense. as far as i know, you cant just order services for someone and stick them with the bill.

ps - i just read the entire lease and am shocked to see that there is no section that deals with early termination fees if i break my lease early...

literally, breaking my lease is not mentioned in the lease at all or any consequences for breaking the lease early. thats really strange...
And there is a possible argument to be made there, but that would totally get into a "he said, she said" case. Obviously the LL thought you were asking for it to be fixed. Without knowing what the EXACT conversation was, that would be a tough one to judge on, even in court.
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:10 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 10,661,719 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lacerta View Post
We actually do have that in our lease that if we send out the HVAC guy and the problem was due to dirty filters, the tenant gets the bill. And we have in our lease that any money paid will be applied first to outstanding costs and lastly to rent, so if the bill wasn't paid, the next month's rent will be considered late. That is a pretty standard lease clause.
if memory serves me, this was discussed not too long ago. Something similar for texas, if the LL has to maintain the a/c and if the tenant can be charged. I recall that after a couple pages, someone finally posted the links that said that the LL must maintain the a/c unit and can not waiver that resposnisbility. If the tenat contacts them about a non functioning a/c or heating unit that was centrally installed or installed in a window at the time the lease was signed, the LL must provide service and repair. But that wasn;t the whole thing, it also said that if the cause of the problem was the tenants fault, the LL can charge the tenant for that service call. If the LL refuses to repiar, the tenant has legal rights to repair and deduct so long as the follow the other section of the law. It was those diofferent sectiosn pertaining to different parts that were being mixed up and causing so much confusion. but in the end, the LL was required to service it, and if they determine it was caused by the tenant, the tenat can be charged.
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:11 PM
 
Location: san antonio texas
1,814 posts, read 835,608 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lacerta View Post
And there is a possible argument to be made there, but that would totally get into a "he said, she said" case. Obviously the LL thought you were asking for it to be fixed. Without knowing what the EXACT conversation was, that would be a tough one to judge on, even in court.

the conversation was me leaving a message on his voicemail that was 'scott, my ac isnt working. please call me'.

i may have gone into detail about how we hadn't used the AC in over a month (this was in feb and it was still kinda chilly in texas), but that was it.

he is really good about getting his guy over here to fix what needs to be fixed (to date, he has fixed a leaky water heater, leaky faucets both in the kitchen and bathroom, slow leak on the toilet) but has never billed me for anything.
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:13 PM
 
Location: san antonio texas
1,814 posts, read 835,608 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificFlights View Post
if memory serves me, this was discussed not too long ago. Something similar for texas, if the LL has to maintain the a/c and if the tenant can be charged. I recall that after a couple pages, someone finally posted the links that said that the LL must maintain the a/c unit and can not waiver that resposnisbility. If the tenat contacts them about a non functioning a/c or heating unit that was centrally installed or installed in a window at the time the lease was signed, the LL must provide service and repair. But that wasn;t the whole thing, it also said that if the cause of the problem was the tenants fault, the LL can charge the tenant for that service call. If the LL refuses to repiar, the tenant has legal rights to repair and deduct so long as the follow the other section of the law. It was those diofferent sectiosn pertaining to different parts that were being mixed up and causing so much confusion. but in the end, the LL was required to service it, and if they determine it was caused by the tenant, the tenat can be charged.
thats what was said on the ehow link i posted. there are subsequent links within that link that go into more detail about the texas law and renters, as well as links to groups that can help you if you have an issue.

Texas Law Regarding Apartment Air Conditioners | eHow.com
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:59 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 10,661,719 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DexterCat View Post
thats what was said on the ehow link i posted. there are subsequent links within that link that go into more detail about the texas law and renters, as well as links to groups that can help you if you have an issue.

Texas Law Regarding Apartment Air Conditioners | eHow.com
What does ehow have to do with anything. You get the official Texas law and you go by that law, not what someone thinks it means. Anyeway, ehow does specifdically say that the airc condition is not required, but if it is installed the LL must maintain and repair, and if its the tenats's fault, the tenat pays.

SO lets get to the bottom of this:
1. Is there an a/c unit installed?
2. Was it not working?
3. Did you tell the landlord that it wasn;t working?
4. Did the landlord service and repair the air conditioner?
5. Did the landlord claim its the tenats fault?

If all five are YES, you owe the landlord the money. You have the option of fighting the LL in court and may win on who's fault it was, but until that happens, you will be responsible to pay for the repairs if you said yes to all 5 questions.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:20 PM
 
5,318 posts, read 5,575,393 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DexterCat View Post
ps - i just read the entire lease and am shocked to see that there is no section that deals with early termination fees if i break my lease early...

literally, breaking my lease is not mentioned in the lease at all or any consequences for breaking the lease early. thats really strange...
Actually, it is quite normal when a lease does not specify anything about early termination. For most states, per state law, the tenant owes rent until the last day of the lease if tenant leaves prior to the end date of lease OR until the landlord finds a replacement tenant.

If landlord does not find a replacement tenant, then prior tenant pays all the rent until lease expiration date. If landlord does find a new tenant, landlord can charge prior tenant for the costs associated with getting the replacement tenant and rent for the time between prior tenant and new tenant.

If prior tenant does not pay, landlord can sue in court and it is usually an easy win, with a judgement of several months of rent going against the credit of the prior tenant, plus court costs, etc.
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
16,498 posts, read 22,967,292 times
Reputation: 12798
Quote:
Originally Posted by DexterCat View Post
there is one section in the rental agreement that im really having issues with. in it, it states that:

'landlord does not warrant and will not replace or repair the following: window units, ceiling fans, garbage disposals and dishwashers'.

since he repaired the window unit i complained about... how does that work? he specifically states that he will NOT repair or replace it, yet sends his maintenance guy (who i've found out is not licensed for HVAC) to repair it, then tries to bill me for it, saying i caused the breaker to trip.

the other gripe i have with this is, having air conditioning is required in texas. there is no legal way he can include a clause in the lease that goes against law and enforce it, right?
Okay, there's that, and then, later, there's this:

while i agree that he technically did tell me about it when i signed the lease, i did not authorize the maintenance guy to repair the unit at my expense. as far as i know, you cant just order services for someone and stick them with the bill.

So, he told you that he would not repair them (pay to have them repaired), and you signed the document in which he told you this. Yet you called him anyway. It's conceivable that he might argue, and a judge might agree, that knowing (as you obviously did since you signed the lease and doing so, you are by law assumed to have read it), that he thought that you were asking him to send someone over that you would pay and he was doing you a favor.

Also, you seem to have two arguments going here. One, that the work charged for wasn't done. Two, that you shouldn't have to pay for the work that was done.

If you're going to take this to court, you need to pick one and stick to it.
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:53 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
22,482 posts, read 27,048,543 times
Reputation: 23041
With all due respect I think you're making a massive mountain out of a molehill and I wouldn't be at all surprised if your landlord feels the same way and that your continual niggling finally forced him into telling you he'd rather see you out of the place when your lease expires.

All this fuss about a $65 repair bill and now you're picking apart the lease which you signed - obviously something you should have read before you signed. Only you can decide whether or not to go to court over this but I can assure you that your wife being "in law enforcement" doesn't make a whit of difference to a judge and, in my opinion, whatever case you bring has little merit and is a waste of the court's time. But I'm not an attorney and you really should be seeking the advice of a professional instead of wasting time poring over legal papers looking for straws.

Hope this all works out and that you find something more suitable. Do a better check next time around so you know where things like the breaker panel are located, and read your lease properly so that you fully understand its terms and conditions. Good luck.
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,521 posts, read 21,161,315 times
Reputation: 6509
Quote:
Originally Posted by DexterCat View Post
there is one section in the rental agreement that im really having issues with. in it, it states that:

'landlord does not warrant and will not replace or repair the following: window units, ceiling fans, garbage disposals and dishwashers'.

since he repaired the window unit i complained about... how does that work? he specifically states that he will NOT repair or replace it, yet sends his maintenance guy (who i've found out is not licensed for HVAC) to repair it, then tries to bill me for it, saying i caused the breaker to trip.

the other gripe i have with this is, having air conditioning is required in texas. there is no legal way he can include a clause in the lease that goes against law and enforce it, right?
Wrong, having AC is not required in Texas.

Quote:
Austin Tenants’ Council/The Myths of Renting in Texas

Myth: The landlord must provide air conditioning equipment for the tenant.
Truth: If such equipment is not in the property when the tenant takes possession, the landlord is not required to provide it unless it is agreed between the parties beforehand, preferably in writing.
Since the lease clearly states it is not the landlords responsibility to repair the AC, he was doing you a favor sending the maintenance guy to take a look at it. But he should have made it clear that he intended to bill you for the visit. Still, he did so at your request, so I think you should pay for the assistance. The maintenance guy does not have to be licensed to check the switches or breakers or to clean or replace filters.

Since your lease says it was not the LL responsibility to repair the AC, you should have paid the bill. It is not too late for you to apologize and pay the bill, explaining that you did not realize your lease said he was not responsible for repairing the AC. If you don't, he can withhold the bill from your security deposit. Maybe you can repair your relationship with the LL so he doesn't terminate your rental at the end of the lease. I doubt that he can withhold the repair bill from your rent and evict you, probably would not be successful in court if you show up to contest it.

Last edited by CptnRn; 03-30-2012 at 12:18 PM..
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,521 posts, read 21,161,315 times
Reputation: 6509
Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificFlights View Post
if memory serves me, this was discussed not too long ago. Something similar for texas, if the LL has to maintain the a/c and if the tenant can be charged. I recall that after a couple pages, someone finally posted the links that said that the LL must maintain the a/c unit and can not waiver that resposnisbility. If the tenat contacts them about a non functioning a/c or heating unit that was centrally installed or installed in a window at the time the lease was signed, the LL must provide service and repair. But that wasn;t the whole thing, it also said that if the cause of the problem was the tenants fault, the LL can charge the tenant for that service call. If the LL refuses to repiar, the tenant has legal rights to repair and deduct so long as the follow the other section of the law. It was those diofferent sectiosn pertaining to different parts that were being mixed up and causing so much confusion. but in the end, the LL was required to service it, and if they determine it was caused by the tenant, the tenat can be charged.
Repair and deduct is not easy to accomplish under Texas law.

Quote:
http://www.housing-rights.org/repairs.html

3. Repair and deduct as outlined below.
Repair and Deduct
The repair and deduct law is complicated, and ATC recommends that a tenant get further assistance before exercising this remedy. A tenant should contact either the Austin Tenants’ Council or an attorney.
To exercise the right to repair and deduct, two things must be done:
  1. The tenant must have a local housing, building, or health official or other official having jurisdiction notify the landlord in writing that the conditions affect the material health or safety of the tenant (but see exceptions described below); and
  2. The tenant must deliver the required notices requesting the repair as outlined above. However, the final notice given to the landlord must state the tenant’s intent to exercise the right to repair and deduct and include a reasonable description of the intended repairs. (NOTE: If the tenant sends the first request for repair by certified or registered mail, then a second notice is not required. The first notice is also the final notice and must state the tenant’s intent to exercise the right to repair and deduct and include a reasonable description of the intended repairs.
In Austin, the official having jurisdiction is usually a building inspector from the City of Austin’s Building Inspection Department. See the section, “For Assistance in Enforcing Repair Rights,” below. If these conditions are met and the landlord still fails to make the repair or remedy within a reasonable time, a tenant may have the repairs made and deduct the costs from the monthly rent by using the following procedure.
The tenant’s deduction for the cost of the repair or remedy may not exceed the amount of one month’s rent or $500, whichever is greater. If the tenant’s rent is subsidized in whole or in part by a governmental agency, the deduction limitation of one month’s rent shall mean the fair market rent of the dwelling and not the actual amount the tenant pays.

Etc, etc.



See my previous post, landlord was not require to service or repair the AC since it was stated in the lease.

Quote:
http://www.housing-rights.org/myths.html

Myth: A tenant may withhold rent if the landlord fails to make repairs.
Truth: A tenant’s withholding of rent is seen as retaliation, and the tenant risks eviction and may forfeit certain rights under the law.

Last edited by CptnRn; 03-30-2012 at 12:12 PM..
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