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Study your lease carefully to determine the circumstances under which the landlord may enter your home. Unless the lease agreement says the landlord can enter your apartment or house, she has NO right to do so, except in emergencies and for routine inspections or repairs and, prefer- abl , when you are given advance notice. In every residential lease (oral or written), a tenant has an implied right to peaceable, quiet enjoyment of the premises. A tenant also has a right of privacy in her own home.

You may want to have your own keyed lock on the door of the apart- ment or house. If you want your own keyed lock, be sure you provide for this in your lease or get written permission from your landlord. Also, a dwelling must be equipped with a keyless bolting device on each exterior door of the dwelling without necessity of request by the tenant. This will prevent improper entries while you are home. See "Locks and Security Devices."


It is your landlord’s duty to repair or remedy most conditions in your unit that affect your health and safety, unless you cause the damage through abnormal use, and so long as you follow the proper procedure to request such repairs. Make sure the lease does not say that you give up your rights requiring the landlord to make these repairs. Although such clauses are often considered void, it is better to modify the lease than rely on the courts to resolve a dispute. See "Exceptions to the Landlord's Duty to Repair."

Texas law does NOT require a landlord to repair or remedy a condi- tion that does not affect your health or safety, such as a defective dishwasher. Therefore, you should read the lease to see if the landlord promises to repair such problems. If she does not, you should ask her to change the lease to include repairing these problems. See "Repairs and Improvements."


"Fair housing" (anti-discrimination) laws prohibit discrimination against families with children. For example, it is illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent to a family just because they have children. Often, such discrimination takes the form of occupancy policies. A landlord cannot have occupancy limits that discriminate against families with children. Texas law generally limits occupancy to three adults (persons over 18) for each bedroom of the dwelling, unless the landlord is required by fair housing laws to allow a higher occupancy rate. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has determined that, as a general rule, a landlord's occupancy policy of two persons per bedroom is reasonable, but whether or not such an occupancy policy violates fair housing laws will depend on many factors. When determining whether an occupancy policy violates fair housing laws, HUD considers such factors as the size and number of bedrooms, the age of the children, the


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