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Do I have to move out of my apartment if my landlord wants to make repairs?

Asked by user in Texas.

My top floor apartment leaked a lot of water through the ceiling. City firemen tested the ceiling and walls and discovered mold. Now management says I need to move out. I don't know what to do.

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

I’m sorry you are going through this difficult time.

In Texas, landlords have a legal obligation to repair conditions that “materially affect the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant.” (See Texas Property Code 92.056). Not all types of mold are toxic. However, if the mold in your apartment is toxic, your landlord has a legal duty to have it removed in a “reasonable amount of time.” In most situations, Texas courts have held that 7 days is a “reasonable amount of time.”

Importantly, a landlord cannot evict you for complaining about mold. (See Texas Property Code 92.331). What’s more, even for nonpayment, most evictions are currently on hold in Texas. Finally, to evict you, your landlord has to go through the following steps:

  1. Notice to Vacate. Your landlord must give you at least 3 days to move out before they can file an eviction suit, though it could be shorter or longer according to the lease.
  2. Filing of Eviction Suit. The eviction hearing cannot take place for at least 10 days after the petition is filed.
  3. Judgment. Once a judgment has been issued, no further action can take place for 5 days to give the parties the opportunity to appeal.
  4. Appeal. If the tenant files an appeal, the hearing cannot take place for at least 8 days.
  5. Writ of Possession. Once there is a final judgment, the landlord can ask the judge for a writ of possession. The constable must post a 24-hour notice before "executing the writ" and removing your property from the rental.

I would recommend speaking to a landlord-tenant attorney. You can find one using our free online directory. If you think you might qualify for free legal help, you can reach out to the State Bar of Texas referral service.

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Laura Brown

Laura Brown has dedicated her career to being an advocate for individuals, children and families who have been hurt due to another person's negligence. In 2000, she launched her own personal injury law firm to focus on cases in Texas and nationwide, and she is especially passionate about birth injuries.

Laura attended Baylor University as an undergraduate premedical student, graduating with a degree in biology. Though she was destined to be a trial lawyer like her father and grandfather before her, her pre-med background was the perfect training for her ultimate calling: fighting for the victims of negligence. She was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1992 and has served her community ever since.

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