Foo - Texas landlord/tenant legal question
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02-04-09, 08:23 PM
I rent an apartment in a residential area. My apartment got burglarized a few weeks ago. Turns out the burglar lives across the street and has burglarized people on this block before. Found out today he has been convicted of THREE felonies, including two robberies (i.e. theft by force). He probably thought I was going to drop it, but he is going to be arrested finally, later this week. I saw him casing my place again the other night. I want to move out for safety reasons.
I am looking for an attorney opinion (I am an attorney but don't practice landlord/tenant law). I am already familiar with the basic LL law you can find using Google, so looking for something more specific to my facts. Certainly there must be a level of safety risk beyond which a tenant cannot be forced to abide.
Any Texas case on point that anyone knows of?
Can you consider a peace bond, barring the person from being within x amount of yards from your residence? That is definitely an option, provided you have evidence of this.
IANAL, of course.
02-05-09, 11:29 AM
I don't think you can break a lease because someone across the street is a thief... But, take a close look at your lease and any buidling security clauses in it, and then look at your city's building codes and any required security measures the landlord MUST provide. If the building meets all codes, and the terms of your lease have been met, you're pretty much at the mercy of your neighborhood! You cannot expect a landlord to be responsible for the folks across the street, can you? If, on the other hand, your city REQUIRES a locked front access, and your building's door is open, you may be able to show cause to break the lease.
Add neighborhood crime reports to things to check out BEFORE you sign a lease, folks!
02-05-09, 12:12 PM
Sorry, but I don't see where you could make the claim, MBP. Any argument on the warranty of habitability would be unlikely to fly because it's not a defect of the landlord's property. In fact, it sounds like it's probably not something that is under the landlord's control, at all. I took a quick look for relevant cases and couldn't find anything that would help you.
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