I’m renting a home and the owner/management company will not repair or replace the garage door/opener?

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I’m renting a home and the owner/management company will not repair or replace the garage door/opener?

I moved in January 31, 2017. I did the inspection form and sent to company. In the beginning I was told that the owner would not repair/replace garage door/opener because it was deemed working fine. Earlier this week, the garage door opened only half way, which I thought was just a fluke. However, today 3/23/17 the garage door opened then closed as I was pulling my car out of garage. I had to physically lift the garage door of car, and then get my daughter to push the button inside garage door for it to go back up. The management company is now informing the owner of property of the incident and to see if he is willing to repair/replace garage door/opener. I’ll waiting to hear something. I understand that the landlord doesn’t have to replace or repair, it’s his right. However, I don’t think that you can deem the garage door/opener working fine when it opens half way on occasions, isn’t this considered unsafe and a hazard? I will wait to see what the outcome is but will need advice. In the meantime, what are my options if the owner doesn’t repair/replace it.

Asked on March 23, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Based on what you write, the landlord needs to repair this, since the landlord has the obligation to provide a safe rental--and a door which could close on a vehicle or person, as you indicate this one could, is not safe. There is, unfortunately, no good way to compel them to honor this obligation if they will not do so voluntarily: you could file a lawsuit against them seeking a court order requiring the repair, or you could withhold rent on the basis that the premises is not safe due to the door (and also that with an unsafe or nonfunctional door, they are violating your lease by not giving you what you are renting--space with a fully usable garage), wait for the landlord to try to evict you, then raise the problem as a defense to your obligation to pay rent--but that puts you in the position of defending against a potential eviction. You may be best off offering to pay some of the cost and arrange for the repair if the landlord will bear the rest of the cost--while you should not have to pay anything, if absorbing part of the cost spares you from litigation and resolves a safety issue, it may be worthwhile.


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