Understanding your rights as a renter

Your roof is leaking and you can’t get the landlord to fix it. Maybe your hot water goes out and there isn’t a maintenance man in sight. 

If you’re renting, whether it be an apartment or house, you have rights and you can get necessary repairs fixed.

Three things to protect your rights

  1. Understand your lease
  2. Put in writing any problems or issues that need to be fixed
  3. Always pay your rent. If you quit paying your rent, you lose your rights

Three things landlords need to do

  1. Landlords need to provide a fit place to live and repair any condition that affects your health and safety
  2. Provide smoke alarms
  3. Provide locks on exterior doors

Four tips from a pro

Rachel Cruze, a best-selling author, financial expert and daughter of money pro Dave Ramsey, offers these four tips to renters:

  1. Asking questions before signing lease. Make sure you properly understand what’s written in your lease
  2. Take pictures of any issues when you move in. This allows you to avoid losing your security deposit or paying extra when you move out
  3. Get renter’s insurance. If something happens, what you own is protected
  4. Pick a good roommate. Good friends don’t always make good roomies. Pick someone who can be counted on to pay on time and help out around the apartment

Useful resources

Tap here to read the Tenant’s Rights Handbook.

Tap here to read the Texas attorney general tenant rights page. 

Important contacts

Lone Star Legal Services

A non-profit that provides legal help to people with low incomes and underserved populations.

Phone: 713-652-0077

Website: www.lonestarlegal.org

Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program

Provides free legal help to low-income residents in Harris County.

Phone: 713-228-0735

Website: www.makejusticehappen.org

Houston College of Law Legal Clinic

Phone: 713-646-2990

Website: http://www.stcl.edu/lawclinics

Houston Apartment Association (hotline)

Phone: 713-595-0300

Wednesday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Thursday and Friday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., 2- 4 p.m.

Photos: Standing up for Houston-area renters


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