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Can My Landlord Evict Me Due to Damage from the Winter Storm?

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Disability Rights Texas Handout

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Can My Landlord Evict Me Due to Damage from the Winter Storm?

Landlords are evicting people because of damage that resulted from the Texas Winter Storm. Some homes experienced power outages, bursting pipes, and other issues that lead to damage that will be repaired. Some landlords are evicting people while repairs are completed. If you are in this situation, learn about your rights and what you can do to make sure you have a place to live.

What Are My Options?

If you are a person with a disability and you are facing eviction so that repairs can be made to your home, you might be able to ask your landlord to change their policy so that you still have a place to live. Having more time to move out, moving into another home owned by your landlord, or staying in your home while repairs are completed are examples of policy changes you landlord could implement to help you. You may be able to ask your landlord to change their policy to accommodate you if:

  • the eviction is causing additional stress and making your anxiety or depression worse;
  • losing housing would put you at risk of serious disease if you were exposed to COVID-19; or
  • losing housing would put someone you live with at risk of serious disease if exposed to COVID-19.

To request a change in policy you should ask for an accommodation from your landlord.

Asking for an Accommodation

Tell your landlord in writing (even email or text would work) what is happening, how it is affecting you (physically, mentally, or emotionally), and explain what you need. There is a sample accommodation letter below.

If the landlord does not respond or says “no,” make sure you let them know that you are asking for a reasonable accommodation

If the landlord asks for more information or proof, it is a good idea to provide your landlord with a note from someone that is in a position to know about your situation. This could include a doctor or nurse, a therapist, a social worker, or even a close friend that knows the situation. The note should explain why you need the accommodation.

If the landlord still refuses, call us at 1-833-212-4212, or send us an email at housing@drtx.org. The email should include your name, phone number, address, and a description of what is happening. We may be able to help.

Sample Accommodation Letter

(Note: You should change the bold portions of this sample accommodation letter to fit your circumstances.)

Dear Landlord,

I am writing to ask for a reasonable accommodation as a person with disabilities that impact my ability to focus, clean my home, make my bed, and sleep. I live at 123 Road Dr., City, Texas.

You have a policy of making tenants leave their homes because of damages from the winter storm. You have also been filing evictions against tenants that are unable to leave when you tell them they must leave their homes. I request an accommodation to that policy. Specifically, I request that you allow me more time to move out or to remain in my home while repairs are completed. I need this accommodation because having to find a new place to live is making the symptoms of anxiety and depression worse.

I would appreciate a response in writing within 5 days. Please let me know if you have any questions about my request for a reasonable accommodation. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to receiving your reply.

Sincerely,

Resident

 

Published: March 16, 2021
Publication Code: HS13


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Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.

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