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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    20

    Default No Hot Water / Apartment Water Heater Broke

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Texas

    My hot water heater broke and I have no hot water in my apartment unit currently. It was malfunctioning for about a week, the water got EXTREMELY hot to the point you could burn your skin on anything higher than the medium setting. I didn't gripe about that but about a week later, thats all she wrote, no more hot water. So I called in for an emergency repair and a technician came out pretty quick and diagnosed it as the thermostat and told me he reset it and I shouldnt have any more trouble with it. Not even 24 hours later its cold again. I called the main desk and told them and they told me a tech would come by, except noone did. I bugged them all day about it too. In the end they told me they're ordering a part but a tech would come by to reset it one more time so I could have hot water in the morning and would repair it next day, except that did not happen.

    As long as they can fix it by tomorrow then I don't really care but if they don't, what are my courses of action and more importantly, what 'should' I do given those options? I have enough saved up to relocate if necessary but can I break my lease in this situation if they don't repair it soon? Can I atleast get a hotel and demand they take those days I had no hot water off my rent or repair the hot water heater myself and have them take that out the rent?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,233

    Default Re: No Hot Water / Apartment Water Heater Broke

    You don't have any options other than to stick it out until it's repaired.

    Section 92.052 of the Texas L-T Act requires that a landlord "provide and maintain in good operating condition a device to supply hot water of a minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit" and "make a diligent effort to repair or remedy a condition." That section, unfortunately, doesn't give you a remedy if he fails to repair it.

    Section 92.056 does give you remedies for a condition that "materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant." A non-working water heater does not a health and safety issue because you can heat water on the stove for cooking, washing, bathing, etc. Inconvenient, yes, but nothing for which you can break your lease or have the landlord pay for alternate lodging.

    https://law.justia.com/codes/texas/2...-8/chapter-92/

    Like I said, stick it out until it's repaired. Don't try to fix it yourself or you might end up buying it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: No Hot Water / Apartment Water Heater Broke

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    You don't have any options other than to stick it out until it's repaired.

    Section 92.052 of the Texas L-T Act requires that a landlord "provide and maintain in good operating condition a device to supply hot water of a minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit" and "make a diligent effort to repair or remedy a condition." That section, unfortunately, doesn't give you a remedy if he fails to repair it.

    Section 92.056 does give you remedies for a condition that "materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant." A non-working water heater does not a health and safety issue because you can heat water on the stove for cooking, washing, bathing, etc. Inconvenient, yes, but nothing for which you can break your lease or have the landlord pay for alternate lodging.

    https://law.justia.com/codes/texas/2...-8/chapter-92/

    Like I said, stick it out until it's repaired. Don't try to fix it yourself or you might end up buying it.
    Thanks. I still have some questions.

    What qualifies as a diligent attempt of repair? My main concern isnt necessarily their failure to repair it but more so that they have a history of waiting weeks to even months before addressing repairs here. I definitely dont want to go on weeks without hot water. If they 'say' they will be here the next business day to repair it or even after a few days but do not show up, is that still considered a reasonable attempt of repair?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,233

    Default Re: No Hot Water / Apartment Water Heater Broke

    Quote Quoting Kaiden
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    What qualifies as a diligent attempt of repair?
    Diligent, like reasonable, is subjective and in the eye of the beholder. Is a week too long to resolve a water heater malfunction. I think so. When I had one go out on a Sunday at one of my rentals years ago I called a plumber and paid the emergency fee to get one installed that day. On the other hand when my own AC went out one Hot August Night in Phoenix (120 degrees) it took my own AC guy (who had done work for me for years) 5 days to order one and get it installed for me because ACs were failing all over town. There are just too many variables involved, especially since hot water is not a "health and safety" issue.

    Quote Quoting Kaiden
    View Post
    My main concern isn't necessarily their failure to repair it but more so that they have a history of waiting weeks to even months before addressing repairs here. I definitely don't want to go on weeks without hot water. If they 'say' they will be here the next business day to repair it or even after a few days but do not show up, is that still considered a reasonable attempt of repair?
    It could be, depending on the reasons. Maybe parts are hard to find, maybe they want to explore repair before replace, maybe they are just aholes and do this to everybody because the owner says don't spend money.

    I don't know.

    It's unfortunate that the statute says that the landlord has to do something but doesn't say what the consequences are for not doing it.

    You can choose to move out but you'll lose your deposit and possibly get sued for it. And you can bet that the LL will have the water heater fixed the day after you move.

    It's a bad situation, and I don't see any way of compelling management to move any faster without putting yourself at risk.

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