Questions From A Renter During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Disability Rights Texas Handout

Created 3/26/2020
Updated: 4/15/2020
Publication Code: HS6

Questions From A Renter During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This handout can be made available in Braille or audio file upon request.

I got COVID-19 and need help taking care of myself while I recover. Can I end my lease early without paying any penalties?

Yes. Because you have a disability and you need help caring for yourself, you can terminate your lease without penalty. You should tell your landlord in writing (even text or e-mail) what is happening and that you need to end the lease early. If the landlord gives you trouble or says no, make sure you tell them that you are asking for an accommodation (and provide them a note from someone that is in a position to know about your situation). If the landlord still refuses, please reach out to housing@DRTx.org.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made me even more anxious than I was before and I’m having a hard time sleeping. I need to go be with family because I need the support right now. Can I end my lease early without paying any penalties?

Yes.  Because the pandemic is making your anxiety worse, you can end your lease early without penalty. You should tell your landlord in writing (even text or e-mail would work) what is happening and that you need to end the lease early. If the landlord gives you trouble or says no, make sure you tell them that you are asking for an accommodation (and provide them a note from someone that is in a position to know about your situation). If the landlord still refuses, please reach out to housing@DRTx.org

I take care of my son has disabilities that make him vulnerable to COVID-19. My landlord says I have to move out right now but I cannot go look at places to live because that would put my son at risk. What can I do?

You can ask your landlord for an accommodation in writing (even text or e-mail should work) to allow you more time to stay in your unit until it is safe for you to go look for housing.

My Landlord found out I had COVID-19 (or they think I have it) and has told me I have to move out. Can they do this?

No. A landlord cannot force you to move out because you have or had COVID-19.

I cannot work because I need to self-quarantine. I do not have any income right now and am waiting for unemployment to come in. I am going to miss my rent deadline. What do I do?

If your rent will be late because someone thinks you have coronavirus or because you do have coronavirus, you can ask your landlord for an accommodation to pay your rent late without late fees.

I need my CPAP machine to sleep at night so I can breathe while I sleep. My power outlets aren’t working, but my landlord said that does not count as an ‘emergency’ repair and they will not come fix the issue. Can they ignore my maintenance request?

Likely Not.  Because you are a person with disabilities and this directly impacts your ability to breath, you could likely get an accommodation for the landlord to repair the electric issue quickly versus having to wait for an unknown period of time. To get an accommodation, ask your landlord in writing (even text or e-mail would work) to fix the electrical issue and explain why you need it done quickly. If the landlord gives you trouble or says no, make sure you tell them that you are asking for an accommodation (and provide them a note from someone that is in a position to know about your situation). If the landlord still refuses, please reach out to housing@DRTx.org.

My income has changed because of coronavirus and layoffs and I will not be able to pay my monthly rent. What do I do?

Call 211 for resources to help you with rent. If you live in a private rental, contact your landlord to see if they are willing to accommodate a flexible or amended payment plan. If you live in public housing or you have a housing choice voucher contact your PHA to let them know that there has been a change in your income and they should adjust your portion. If you live in a federally assisted property, contact the property management to have them adjust your portion.

If you need assistance with any of the issues described above, please call our intake line at 1-800-252-9108, apply online at intake.DRTx.org, or send an email to housing@DRTx.org with your name, phone number, address and a description of the issue.


Disability Rights Texas logo

www.DRTx.org
Intake: 1-800-252-9108
Main Line: 512-454-4816
Online Intake: intake.DRTx.org

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.

These handouts are not intended to, and do not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.