As we originally reported at the conclusion of the 2021 regular Texas Legislative Session, a new landlord/tenant law goes into effect in the new year. The new law is in Chapter 92, Property Code, which means technically it only applies in the context of manufactured housing communities when both the lot and home are leased. Meaning it would not apply in a lot-lease only situation that is governed under Chapter 94, Property Code. However, several practitioners are making their own business decision to incorporate the new separate disclosure in all MH leasing agreements.
Under the new requirement the landlord must provide a notice to a tenant that complies with the following:
"(Landlord) ( ) is or ( ) is not aware that the dwelling you are renting is located in a 100-year floodplain. If neither box is checked, you should assume the dwelling is in a 100-year floodplain. Even if the dwelling is not in a 100-year floodplain, the dwelling may still be susceptible to flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maintains a flood map on its Internet website that is searchable by address, at no cost, to determine if a dwelling is located in a flood hazard area. Most tenant insurance policies do not cover damages or loss incurred in a flood. You should seek insurance coverage that would cover losses caused by a flood."
If the property is elevated above the floodplain the notice is not required.
However, if the landlord does have actual knowledge that flooding has occurred within the most recent five years, the landlord must provide the following notice:
"(Landlord) ( ) is or ( ) is not aware that the dwelling you are renting has flooded at least once within the last five years."
The notices required must be included in a separate written document given to the tenant at or before execution of the lease.
The law does have some “teeth” in it for non-compliance. If a landlord violates the new law, and a tenant suffers, “a substantial loss or damage to the tenant's personal property as a result of flooding, the tenant may terminate the lease by giving a written notice of termination to the landlord not later than the 30th day after the date the loss or damage occurred. For purposes of this subsection, a tenant suffers a substantial loss or damage to personal property if the total cost of repairs to or replacement of the personal property is 50 percent or more of the personal property's market value on the date the flooding occurred.“
For those members looking for the new disclosure forms, TMHA has created two new forms: