If my apartment complex says thatI can’t hangout in my garage, can I fight this?

I have been living in my apartments for about 6 months on a 12 month lease and have always been a good tenant. I go out to my garage for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours per night to smoke cigars. I don’t like to smoke inside my apartment with my kids there, etc. and I don’t like sitting outside getting eaten by bugs, so I go to my garage. I don’t do anything loud or anything that would disturb anybody else. Yesterday I got a letter on my door stating that I was violating my lease because “somebody is living in garage 39”. I went down there today to straighten it out, I told them what I had been doing in my garage, and assured them that nobody was living there. They told me that garages were to be used as car storage only. I told them that was BS and that I hadn’t violated my lease in any way. They printed out the lease and highlighted some stuff pertaining to garages and my supposed violations.

But the things they highlighted were: 1. Garages can’t be used as “storage units” – Everybody in the apartments uses their garage for storage on some level and the items I’m storing are minimal. I can still easily fit my car in there; 2. Garages can’t be used for “commercial or industrial purposes” – no issue with that either; 3. Disturbance – I’m very quiet and you would never know that I’m in my garage if you didn’t see me go in. I do use a radio out there but I have tested it at the volume I use it at and it cannot be heard even when you’re right up against the door. They say that the disturbance occurred when one of my neighbors reported that somebody was living in there and that constitutes a “disturbance”. I feel that my rights are being violated. What can I do?

Asked on September 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You need to carefully read your written lease in that its terms and conditions set forth the obligations owed you by the landlord over your rental and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

From what you have written and highlighted in your questions it does not appear that you are in violation of your written lease in that you simply are "hanging out" in your garage like many other people do in theirs. You are not using it as a storage unit, it is not being used for "commercial or industrial purposes" and are not creating a disturbance.

I suggest that you write the landlord in response to the notice you recently received setting forth your position keeping a copy for future reference.

Good luck.


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