We know the last week was incredibly challenging and difficult for many Texas Apartment Association members and the communities they serve. As you cope with the aftermath, cleanup and restoration of services following Winter Storm Uri, we wanted to remind you of some TAA resources that may be helpful.
We have also posted these on a new resource page on our website.
Price Gouging Prohibited
Texas law prohibits charging excessive or exorbitant fees for certain life necessities, including housing, following a disaster. The Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection line accepts price-gouging complaints.
March 1 Rent Payments
Rental property owners should keep their property’s current situation in mind when dealing with March 1 rental due dates. Under the TAA Lease, there is no obligation to abate rent or accept late rent, but nothing precludes TAA members from voluntarily abating all or part of the rent as a gesture of goodwill and compassion. Considerations may include the extent of damage on your property, the availability of your staff to accept rental payments, your plans to repair damage, as well as other factors. Ultimately, this is a business decision.
Lease Termination Due to Natural Disaster or Catastrophe
If you believe that catastrophic damage is substantial, or that performance of needed repairs poses a danger to residents, Paragraph 26.5 of the TAA Lease allows the owner to terminate the lease by giving residents at least 7 days’ written notice. The TAA REDBOOK Online and TAA Click & Lease have sample notices for this purpose for conventional and tax credit properties. More information on our resource page.
Also see “Rental Housing Owners’ Rights and Legal Responsibilities after a Natural Disaster or Other Catastrophe.”
You may also wish to view this video, “Terminating Leases After a Natural Disaster or Catastrophe, with Howard Bookstaff.”
Lease Addendum Allowing Temporary Increased Occupancy Because of Fire, Natural Disaster or Catastrophe
If you wish to authorize a temporary increase of occupancy in a unit to accommodate displaced friends or family members of your residents, this addendum allows you to modify the terms of your lease to make that accommodation. This form is also available in the TAA REDBOOK Online and through TAA Click & Lease. Learn more.
SBA Disaster Assistance Available For Texas Businesses and Residents Affected by Severe Winter Storms
Low-interest federal disaster loans are now available to Texas businesses and residents as a result of President Biden’s major disaster declaration. Learn more.
Filing insurance claims promptly when able is important. TAA members should contact their insurance companies directly to file claims, and work with your adjuster to identify all damages and coverages.
While damage assessments and documentation are key to both relief efforts and the claims process, protecting life and property should be your primary concern when conditions are still dangerous.
A 2017 law designed to limit lawsuit abuses in weather-related cases impacts lawsuits filed when there is a dispute between the insured and the insurer. It requires notice before a lawsuit is filed, and made some other changes to these kinds of lawsuits, including the penalty interest rate. This legislation affects homeowners’ insurance claims, which does not cover flood or wind damage claims.
Top 5 Consumer Tips for Storm Claims, from Texas Watch
Self-Reporting Damage Survey
Texas Division of Emergency Management is encouraging Texans to complete the Self Reporting Damage Survey to help the state identify damages across Texas and help emergency management officials gain an understanding of damages that occurred during the recent winter weather. This data is also needed to provide information to FEMA and highlight the need for federal disaster assistance for individuals.