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actual damages, moving expenses, your deposit, and other statutory penalties. If a governmental agency has condemned the premises, contact them to discuss their intentions. They generally cannot take any action against you for continuing to occupy the premises, and you may be entitled to some relocation assistance from the municipality.

A landlord can legally close the premises by failing to renew the lease or may terminate a month-to-month lease by giving you a 30-day advance notice. If the landlord does this in response to your requests for repairs, the landlord will also be liable to you for moving expenses, your deposit, and other statutory penalties for violating the retaliation provision of the Texas Property Code. See “Retaliation for Requesting Repairs or Exercising Your Rights as a Tenant.” If you stay longer, after the landlord legally closes down the property, the landlord can remove you ONLY by going through the courts. See "Lockouts" and "Eviction." If the landlord shuts off the utilities, this will have the same effect as closing down the premises, and the landlord will probably still be liable in the situations described above. You may be able to get the utilities transferred to your name or be able to make other arrange- ments, especially if the landlord has shut off the service in the middle of a lease term. See "Utility Disconnection."

The landlord may allow you to transfer to another unit the landlord owns, although this alone will not forgive liability. Check out the new place as described in "Selecting Your New Home." Make sure your deposit will transfer as well, and negotiate to obtain moving expenses (by getting one month's rent free, for example). Get any agreement in writing. If negotiations break down, get in touch with an attorney or tenant association and get more advice. In some instances, you may be able to transfer and still sue your landlord for damages as discussed above.

Governmental Fines If a governmental entity such as a city code enforcement office charges a fine to your landlord, the landlord may not charge you for the fine unless you or an occupant of the property caused the damage or condition that led to the fine.


A landlord must install the following security devices without the necessity of your request: a window latch on each exterior window of the dwelling; a doorknob lock or keyed deadbolt on each exterior door; a sliding door pin lock on each exterior sliding glass door of the dwelling; a sliding door handle latch or a sliding door security bar on each exterior sliding glass door of the dwelling; and a keyless bolting device and a door viewer on each exterior door of the dwelling. Keyless deadbolts are not required for units reserved for the elderly (over 55 years of age) or disabled if it is part of the landlord's responsibility as part of a written lease or other written agreement to check on the well being of the tenants. Also, keyed deadbolts or doorknob locks are not


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