Check your lease before the freeze: What are renters responsible for during arctic blast?

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Thursday, December 22, 2022
Renters should check lease and talk to landlord ahead of arctic blast
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What should you do as a renter ahead of this upcoming freeze? In the video above, ABC13's Tom Abrahams explains more about what to do.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As we make preparations to winterize our homes for the arctic front, questions arise about what you should do as a renter ahead of time.

With 58% of Houstonians and 45% of Harris County residents being renters, ABC13 spoke with a real estate attorney, who suggested you look at your lease and communicate with your landlord before the temperatures drop. Millions signed leases that spell out what they are and are not responsible for in their apartment or house.

SEE ALSO: Not sure how to prepare for arctic cold front? Here are the best ways to winterize your home

"You may have, by signing a lease, agreed to undertake certain tasks in the event of a freeze," Real Estate Attorney Ernie Garcia said. "It's important to know what your lease says about what you've already agreed to do."

As for utilities, if you live in an apartment complex, that is not your responsibility. But if your lease doesn't spell out the specifics, be proactive and contact your landlord in writing.

SEE ALSO: Houston plumbing experts answer how to handle the expected arctic cold front

"Inside an individual apartment, you don't need to drip water, you don't need to worry about the other things. The apartment complex is taking care of those things for you, making sure those systems are safe," Garcia said. "If your lease is completely silent on it, but say your landlord sends you a message or notice in writing to you, asking you to do something, it really comes down to what is a reasonable request. "

Even if you're not legally obligated to do certain things to prepare for the bad weather, doing it anyway could save you a lot of headaches.

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