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Renting and Flooded: The Hurricane Harvey Experience

by | | Last Updated On September 15, 2017

Renting and Flooded: The Hurricane Harvey Experience

If you are a renter, then you should have renters insurance to cover all of your own items. As for the residence that is the for the land lord to cover as well as repair. That said, according to AllStates "ask the agent" any sort of water damage caused by flood isn't covered by a renters policy. You would need separate flood insurance for that.

Your landlord is responsible for fixing what he/she needs to due to flood damage. Structural or what was already there (carpet/appliances/etc) that was damaged by no fault of yours.

The landlord is responsible for ensuring that the premises are liveable, and that includes replacing or repairing whatever he/she originally provided.
For instance, that might include ripping out the carpeting. If he provided the carpeting. Whether he replaces the carpeting is another consideration entirely, as carpeting is not something that is a necessity.

Your personal belongings are just that "yours" and are not connected in any way with the facilities that the landlord provides in connection with the rent that you pay.

Unless you can prove in court that your landlord had some personal role in bringing a tropical storm/hurricane to your neighborhood, he/she has no legal responsibility other than to restore your apartment to its original condition as soon as is possible.

However, under the present circumstances with continued widespread power outages, and with home repair contractors backlogged for weeks, or perhaps months it might take some time for him to be able to restore his building to its original condition.

The Texas Property Code, specifically for those recently affected by Hurricane Harvey states that if the premises are totally unusable, either the landlord or the tenant may terminate the lease. To do that you just have to give a written notice any time before repairs are completed.

You are entitled to a reduction of your rent if a portion of your apartment home is not usable. For example, if you are paying for a 2-bedroom unit and one bedroom is ruined and needs repairs, a judge may rule that you only have to pay for the space that is usable. You will have to go to a county court if your landlord is not willing to agree to the reduction in rent.

Texas Property Code that applies in this situation:

Sec. 92.054. CASUALTY LOSS. (a) If a condition results from an insured casualty loss, such as fire, smoke, hail, explosion, or a similar cause, the period for repair does not begin until the landlord receives the insurance proceeds.
(b) If after a casualty loss the rental premises are as a practical matter totally unusable for residential purposes and if the casualty loss is not caused by the negligence or fault of the tenant, a member of the tenant's family, or a guest or invitee of the tenant, either the landlord or the tenant may terminate the lease by giving written notice to the other any time before repairs are completed. If the lease is terminated, the tenant is entitled only to a pro rata refund of rent from the date the tenant moves out and to a refund of any security deposit otherwise required by law.
(c) If after a casualty loss the rental premises are partially unusable for residential purposes and if the casualty loss is not caused by the negligence or fault of the tenant, a member of the tenant's family, or a guest or invitee of the tenant, the tenant is entitled to reduction in the rent in an amount proportionate to the extent the premises are unusable because of the casualty, but only on judgment of a county or district court. A landlord and tenant may agree otherwise in a written lease.


Insurance Financial Debt Relief Assistance Program Renting

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