As a person living in an apartment under landlord law, you have many advantages over homeowners. You don't have to mow the lawn, paint the house or repave the driveway. It may seem like you haven't any responsibilities under landlord law above and beyond getting the rent check in on time, but as your apartment finder in Houston, Texas, you do. Through landlord-tenant law, you are required to do several things:
- Keep your apartment or house safe and sanitary.
- Dispose of trash and garbage in a sanitary manner. While your landlord will usually maintain the outside of a rental unit (depending on the lease agreement) you are responsible for the interior. Failing to keep the rented unit clean could result in the loss of your security deposit.
- Keep all appliances that the property owner provides in good working order.
- Keep the electrical and plumbing fixtures clean and use them properly. If any of these fixtures break, it is your responsibility to contact the property owner. Your apartment manager is responsible for keeping these things in good working order, and unless they've broken because of your carelessness your property owner is typically responsible for making the repairs to your apartment.
- Do not damage the apartment or permit your guests or visitors to do so.
- Do not disturb other tenant living at your apartment complex. You have your right to quiet enjoyment, and so do the other tenants. It is the apartment manager’s responsibility to make sure that the noise/comfort level of the other apartment neighbors is appropriate, and in order to do this, he or she will want you to help them out.
- Permit your apartment manager or leasing agent to enter your apartment if he makes a reasonable request and gives you at least 24 hours notice. Reasonable request would be to inspect the rental property - not to snoop around through your things every two days throughout your tenancy at their property. You have the right to your privacy, and if your apartment manager continually demands to enter your apartment, you should contact your local tenant's union to see what actions you should take.
- Do not allow guests or family members to stay in your apartment beyond a reasonable amount of time without notifying your apartment manager and having their name added to your apartment lease.
If you are aware of your responsibilities as a tenant, and you follow the rules, you should have a happy, healthy stay. On the other hand, failure to do a combination these things could result in a lost security deposit, being sued in small claims court, or worse... eviction from your apartment!