Your rights as a renter to repairs on a leaky roof

A Houston couple contacted us saying their apartment roof is leaking from all this rain this week and they just moved in.

Renters have rights when it comes to a leaky roof. It makes a home uninhabitable and state law requires a landlord to repair it.

"Here's the new water spot from today. The water is dripping there right now. This bucket is under that hole, that hole that came right there yesterday," said Nayland Walker, showing us water damage in their apartment over Zoom.


Added his wife Felecia Davis, "They were going to have a roofing many come out yesterday. Nobody showed up yesterday. I got up this morning and they're still telling me as soon as they get on the property, they would let us know and that's been over 24 hours."

The couple says they just moved in Friday from another unit at the same apartment complex where they say they also had water stains and no hot water from the bathroom faucet for a year. They say repairs took months and didn't always resolve the problems.

"He kept saying they had a piece they had to get to come repair but, they said they had to order it.  They said that three or four times they had to order it, they claimed the whole year we were there," said Davis.


We asked FOX 26 legal analyst Chris Tritico what a renter's rights are when it comes to a leaky roof.

"When you move in and water is leaking through the roof, that is not habitable, and you have the right to break that lease, and move out. That doesn't mean you're not going to get sued, but it does mean you have a defense to that lawsuit," said Tritico.

He says you can also request the repair by certified mail.

"Give them ten days to repair it, and tell them on the 10th day I'm moving out because this apartment is not habitable in the condition it's in," he said.

Walker and Davis are hoping for a repair because they don't want to have to move again.

"With everything that's going on, you don't want to have to keep searching and you're already in a place you believe that can help," said Walker.

We received the following statement from the apartment management:

"The resident, Felicia Davis, ... reported a roof leak on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. We were told by the contractor that they would be out Wednesday, June 24, 2020, to complete the repair. They were not able to. The management office did reach out on Wednesday to Felicia to let her know that the contractor was not able to be at the property on Wednesday. The contractors were at the property today and completed the roof repair.

The sheetrock repairs are scheduled for tomorrow. We will follow up with the resident after the sheetrock repairs are complete.

The issues that they were experiencing in #1902 were due to pipes needing replaced and was a major job for the plumbing company.

They replaced a lot of pipe as quickly as possible with little disruption to the residents. I did not see in the work order history of any roof leaks in this apartment.

It is always good practice to reports issues in writing to the management office."