Lubbock Renters, Here’s How to Get Your Air Conditioning (and Other Things) Fixed if Your Landlord Drags Their Feet
As a tenant in Texas, you have rights. One of those rights, according to the Texas Attorney General's Office, is "to demand that the landlord repair any condition that materially affects your health and safety. Under Texas law, by renting you the property, the landlord guarantees that the unit will be a fit place to live."
In the unrelenting Texas heat, this includes your air conditioner.
When requesting any repair, you must give your landlord written notice. Some judges accept text messages and emails as admissible forms of notice, but not every judge. If you feel like you may have a problem, or your landlord has given you issues in the past, be sure to send a certified letter requesting the repair. That way you have legal proof they received it.
If the unit has still not been repaired in a reasonable amount of time, you have a couple of options. But first, let's talk "reasonable time."
The default time is seven days. However, in some cases a shorter amount of time is considered reasonable. On 100+ temperature days with small children, you could probably make a strong case for over two days (after they received the letter) as being entirely too long.
Your first and easiest option is to let the City of Lubbock handle it. Call Code Enforcement at 775-1720 with your landlord's contact information. They will begin contacting your landlord and putting the pressure on them on your behalf. You can also file a dispute with the Office of Dispute Resolution.
Your other option is more work on your part, but might be more appropriate if your landlord has been especially terrible at repairing things that could harm you.
Send a second written notice, this time with a list of your intentions should the landlord fail to make the repair. Be sure to mention that you may terminate the lease, repair the problem and deduct the cost from your rent or get a court to order that the repairs be made. Those are your rights if you declare them.
Of course, your landlord does have due process and may wish to fight you on this, so you may want to consult a lawyer or Legal Aide before going this route.
Important! Your rent must be current. If your rent isn't paid up, then your landlord owes you exactly nothing. Your landlord is also not responsible if you broke it through negligence or anything that's not normal wear and tear.
Also remember: I'm a DJ, not a lawyer, so anything I recommend here is not intended as legal advice.
One last piece of advice on the whole air conditioning thing. Don't forget to switch out your air filters often. That goes a long way toward avoiding this problem in the first place.