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Real estate: Will cited landlords lose right to rent?

When people rent an apartment or home, they trust that their landlord, as well as any separate owner of the property, is providing a safe environment. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case in Texas. Many renters in one major city complain that though landlords cited for multiple safety violations are supposed to lose the right to rent property, that isn't happening. These kinds of real estate disputes have the potential to cause harm if tenants are unknowingly exposed to hazards.

In the city of Austin, an initiative called the Repeat Offender program was created about eight years ago after a balcony collapsed in an apartment complex. The intention of the program was to pinpoint certain properties or landlords that may have multiple safety violations. Those added to the list have to pay a fee and are subject to having their property inspected for two years. The problem is, according to advocates, the landlords don't always pay promptly, and it can take time for the city to take action.

Many tenants say that a better solution would be for those on the Repeat Offender list to lose the privilege to rent more property. The city has had this option but hasn't been using it, though one division manager in the local Code Department said that will soon change. Those who represent landlords say they only want the city to use this option if nothing else works.

Though this particular situation is happening in another city, people in other parts of Texas may want to pay attention. A landlord who fails to maintain a safe property could be putting tenants in jeopardy. Those who are unsure of how to resolve this particular type of real estate dispute may want to contact an attorney who has routinely handled this type of case in the past.

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