New Texas law 2022 warns tenants prone to flooding

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Starting in January, landlords must follow a new law that warns renters about potential flood hazards to properties.

The bill, authored by Texas Representative Armando Walle, was signed this summer by Governor Greg Abbott.

“All we want to do is empower the community, empower the tenants, and one of those rights is a warning that this particular home has flooded in the past,” says Walle.

His bill requires landlords to notify potential tenants that the property is located in a 100-year floodplain and if it has flooded in the past 5 years. It only applies to tenants who sign or renew their lease starting January 1, 2022. Landlords with certain upgraded properties in the 100-year floodplain are exempt.

ALSO SEE: Map showing where Houstonians report flooding the most

“More than half of the population in Harris County are renters, which means his new law will have far-reaching effects,” said Walle.

The flood warning must be a written notice given to the potential tenant before or during the signing of the lease.

Tenants near Brays Bayou, who have seen the area severely flooded three times since 2016 say the new law is a great safeguard.

Daniel Quiroz said: “I’m glad to hear that.

“They need things like that because people have to know,” said Bob Culver. “It’s like buying a used car, you don’t know if it’s flooded until you drive it.”

Tammy Goodall moved into an apartment across from Brays Bayou two years ago.

“I saw the bayou go all the way to the end, like from my apartment I could see the water, so it was overwhelming and scary,” she recalls.

Goodall is not here on Tax Day or Memorial Day floods flooded the streets and homes of southwest Houston. And her landlord never told her about the flood risk of her apartment, which is located in the 100-year floodplain.

“No, they haven’t told us that, I don’t know anything about that,” Goodall said.

And that ignorance is what Representative Armando Walle is trying to change.

If tenants do not receive this warning with a new lease in January and fail to withstand the flooding, the law allows tenants to cancel their lease.

“If they’re not warned, they’re allowed to break the contract and recover the cost of that breach,” Walle said.

He said the new law matches renters with homebuyers, who already have this protection.

For updates on this story, follow Shelley Childers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Dais Johnston

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