Renters' Rights: Landlords demanding rent for severely flood-damaged apartments

- Many Houstonians are concerned about paying rent on borderline unhabitable apartments and homes after Hurricane Harvey. We have new information about renters whose homes were made unhabitable by floodwaters.

Houston's Mayor Sylvester Turner urged landlords to be lenient today following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, and he had a strong warning for any landlords who might victimize apartment residents after the flooding. "If we determine that any terminations were done improperly, we will take all necessary measures to protect the rights of the tenants," said Mayor Turner.

"For me, that's the equivalent of theft.  If they take the September rent, and force people out or if they take the rent, and then are not moving forward to make necessary repairs--we will not tolerate anyone in the city being victimized." Mayor Turner continued to state that he would work the Harris County District Attorney to prosecute any landlords who victimize renters.

Fort Bend County Justice of the Peace Joel Cloudser appeared on the "Isiah Factor"reinforcing the rule of "not withholding rent" and giving the landlord an opportunity to fix any problems. However, if the rental unit is destroyed and uninhabitable with no way of fixing it, the judge gave this answer, "then you can terminate the lease and you can move out.  You are entitled to your pro-rated share of the rent unused for the month, and also your security deposit." He did emphasize that if your rental unit can be repaired the landlord must be given the chance to do so.

if you are still not clear how things work regarding your rent, following a natural disaster such as this, Judge Clouser will host a renters' rights workshop today for all who need those important questions answered and goes from 6:00 to 8:00 tonight, The Fort Bend County East End Annex on Texas Parkway. 

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