While living in your off-campus apartment/house, you may have questions about your rights and your landlord's responsibilities, which Commuter Programs can assist you with. You may, unfortunately, run into some problems or have issues that you are not quite sure how to deal with. Commuter Programs will work with you to help you come to a resolution.
When you need a repair made in your apartment/house, you usually call your landlord to make the repair request. This is fine, but you need to always follow-up in writing. Send the written request to your landlord (hand deliver and get signed by office representative or certified mail) and always keep a copy for your records. The sample Notice To Repair (PDF Document) letter can be used as the follow-up written request..
The landlord typically has up to 72 hours to check out the repair and make a decision concerning the repair. It is recommended that if there has been no response, that the tenant repeat the process several times (talking to landlord, and sending written request), and if after several attempts of receiving the repair request in writing, the landlord still has not fixed the problem, it is highly recommended that you then consult with an attorney.
Remember, you must be current on your rent!
Problems With Your Landlord
Sexual Harassment & Discrimination
If you feel you have been sexually harassed (PDF Document) by your landlord or his/her employee, contact legal counsel.
If you feel your landlord or their employee has discriminated against you (PDF Document), contact legal counsel.
Sale of Property
During your lease term, it is possible that your landlord will sell the building you are living in. Even if you get a new landlord mid-year, your current lease still remains valid (but exceptions do exist). Contact legal counsel for those exceptions.
Your landlord is required to provide 24 hours notice prior to entering the premises in non-emergency instances. If you are having issues with your landlord entering unlawfully, contact legal counsel. You may also want to send a Notice of Unlawful Entry (PDF Document) to your landlord (make sure to keep a copy for your records).
Eviction (PDF Document)
Your landlord has the right to evict a tenant for various reasons. Your landlord must follow certain procedures when evicting a tenant. If you are being evicted, you should contact the legal counsel immediately.
Locked Out of Apartment
Your landlord has the right to change the locks to your apartment if you are delinquent in the rent, but before the landlord can change the locks, they must give a notice of intent to change your locks. If the notice is hand delivered, it must be at least three (3) days prior to changing the locks. If the notice is mailed, it must be at least five (5) days prior to changing the locks. Once the landlord changes the locks, they must also post a notice stating that the locks have been changed and where you can get a key any time during the day. If the landlord does not state where you can pick-up the key, they will be in violation of the Texas Landlord/Tenant Property Code. In addition, the landlord must provide a key if requested by the tenant. The landlord cannot refuse to issue the tenant a key if the landlord changed the locks. If they do refuse, the landlord will again be in violation of the Texas Landlord/ Tenant Property Code.
Noisy Neighbors (PDF Document)
Noisy neighbors can create an uncomfortable living environment. If you have a problem with a neighbor disturbing your peace and quiet, you should first try to resolve the dispute between the two of you before contacting your landlord. Sending a letter is one good way to do this. Second, you should keep a detailed record of every occurrence. If after several attempts you are unsuccessful in reducing the disruption, contact your landlord so that they are aware of the situation. If after contacting you landlord and the problem still continues, you may want to send the landlord a Notice of Noise Violation (PDF Document) in writing. Make sure to keep a copy for your records.
If the problem persists, you may want to contact the police to report a noise disturbance. Make sure to keep a copy of the police report for your records, and send a copy to your landlord.
If you are being evicted (PDF Document) for noise violations, make sure you are aware of your rights and responsibilities. Contact legal counsel immediately.
If you are a service member and are renting a property, know your rights under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (PDF Document).
Unlawful retaliation (PDF Document)
Discrimination (PDF Document)
If you suspect your unit has a code violation and your landlord refuses to fix the problem, you can contact the City of Canyon Housing Code Enforcement at (806) 655-5034 to request a Code Enforcement Officer to inspect the premises.
Black Mold (PDF Document)
Lead Paint Disclosure (PDF Document)
Problems With Your Roommate
Sharing living space with another person is an option for many students wanting to live off-campus. Whether you have known the person your entire life, or just meeting them last week, your relationship with your roommate will surely be different than the relationship you have with other friends. Having a roommate can bring about the "best of times and the worst of times." While benefits of having a roommate do exist, it is very important to consider the drawbacks of living with someone who may have different cleaning, sleeping, and study habits as well as different views on religion and politics.
Get to Know Your Roommate
It is important to take time to get to know each other a little bit better before jumping into the semester with classes, activities, and work. Asking those upfront questions (where your roommate is from, family, high school, activities, hobbies, etc.), setting up the lines of communication, and negotiation the initial ground rules for living together.
Commuter Programs recommends that you and your roommate complete a Roommate Contract (PDF document) anytime a new lease is signed or a lease is renewed. This document is designed to provide you and your roommate(s) the opportunity to establish some guidelines related to the details of living together. You are encouraged to spend quality time discussing each section, being as honest and forthright with your opinions as possible. Even though the contract will not protect you or your roommate(s) from any claims that the landlord may have, its main purpose is to provide a chance for you to proactively discuss issues that could potentially become areas of conflict.
Being someone's roommate can be the beginning of a very influential friendship. It is important to remember that your roommate is not a mirror image of you, and it is okay if roommates are not best friends. Learning to accept each other's differences without infringing on one another's freedoms can be valuable part of your education. If you need advice on how to settle a dispute, contact Commuter Programs at (806) 651-2313.