Bryan renters share frustration with living conditions, experts say renters should know their rights as renters


BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – Texas renters have rights, but many don’t know what to do when dealing with mold or other unsafe conditions.

Eric Cobb and Kawana Dawson are just two of several tenants at a Bryan apartment complex who have contacted KBTX for awareness and help about what they describe as undesirable living conditions that their landlord has allegedly turned a blind eye to. Residents say they are fed up with their living conditions and want the landlord to step up and fix health and safety issues at the property.

Dawson and Cobb say their complaints to management about mold, broken stoves and water damage regularly fall on deaf ears.

Cobb, who boasts of being a family man, says the situation is frustrating. Cobb spends his day as a service technician for Brazos Valley-based SERVEPRO, a company that rehabilitates and rehabilitates buildings that have suffered fire, water and mildew damage.

“To come home after doing a form work, to come home and live in it, it’s just really, really disappointing,” Cobb said. “I’m more concerned about my daughter’s health and safety, and the landlord doesn’t seem to have a problem with that.”

Dawson says she feels the landlord is taking advantage of the residents.

“I pay him, but I don’t get anything fixed,” Dawson said. “The mold has been there since I was there, but I didn’t know what it was. My ceiling was leaking and it got worse over time.”

Experts say knowledge is power when it comes to your rights as a renter.

Joshua Benn from the Benn rights group in College Station has practiced real estate law for over twenty years. He says your first right is the right to advice. He advises anyone who has problems with their landlord to contact a lawyer.

“The justice of the peace, or small claims court, where many landlord-tenant cases are tried, is generally designed to help tenants or even landlords who don’t have lawyers, but it’s still a good idea to make sure that’s the case Leases and everything is interpreted correctly,” said Benn.

Benn says it’s also important for renters to familiarize themselves with Texas tenancy laws.

“Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Act is one of the first places I suggest renters look at what their rights are, along with their lease,” Benn said.

Dawson and Cobb say they just want their landlord to do the right thing.

“He has to do something about it,” Cobb said. “It’s not a requirement. It’s a request.”

“You don’t overcharge anyone, you don’t come to fix nothing and then you drag people in and then something’s wrong with the unit and you don’t even fix it, you don’t care, you just want the money,” he said dawson

Experts say it’s important to keep your rent payment on track. Even in the event of a dispute, you should not withhold the rent, as this could lead to eviction.


Tenant Rights of the Texas Attorney General

Texas Tenant Advisor

Housing Association Texas

Texas Rights Handbook

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