New Texas law will require landlords to notify tenants of flood risk before signing lease

It will take effect Jan. 1 and will require Texas landlords to notify potential tenants of flood risks before signing a lease.

HOUSTON — A new law that takes effect Jan. 1 will require Texas landlords to notify tenants of flood risks.

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“It’s another tool in the toolbox,” Texas Rep. Armando Walle said.

This is huge news for families in Southeast Texas, given that most residents of Harris County are renters.

“I’ve lived here for 56 years,” said Houston tenant Kenny Ryman.

He said his apartment was flooded during Hurricane Harvey and he was not told of the risk of flooding when he signed the lease for the property.

Starting next year, what happened to Ryman and countless others will be illegal because of a bill Walle drafted.

“So if he’s been flooded once in the last five years or if he lives in the 100-year-old floodplain, the landlord has to give you – in writing – notice that your house that you’re about to renting or renting out family has a propensity to flood,” Walle said.

If landlords don’t notify their tenants, Walle said you can break the lease if your apartment floods and is significantly damaged.

Ryman said the new law made him feel better.

“They should have let us know before they signed the lease,” Ryman said.

The new law only applies to rental contracts signed on January 1 and beyond. This has no impact on your current contract if you are already under contractual obligation.

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