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I have had a fellow tenant who has engaged in harassment via laser lights, which has resulted in a police report on these tenants who makes lots of notice after 10pm at night and other such nuisance behavior. It is my understanding that I am not wrong for asking the landlord to do something about this. Unfortunately, nothing has been done expect empty promises that I should continue to call the police so they can make a tight case to evict them.

My understanding is that in Texas you don't need so much police reports and accumulating incidents, one violation is enough. So I feel like I was stringed along and sure enough the real estate company sold the apartment complex to another company and the problem persists.

Is there any documentation out there on how to terminate a lease via court procedure for a landlord not ensuring quiet enjoyment?

Unfortunately I have not received consistent answers, for example, here in this documentation: https://www.rentprep.com/landlord-tips/quiet-enjoyment/

It says that a landlord allowing loud noises and things infringing on others quiet enjoyment to be a breach of quiet enjoyment, but then I have also been told that these types of matters are "fraught" when taken to court.

So which is it? And is there any solid documentation out there one way or the other for the state of Texas?

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Is there any documentation out there on how to terminate a lease via court procedure for a landlord not ensuring quiet enjoyment?

Most likely there is no documentation for that specific purpose. The proceedings would be those of a typical lawsuit.

According to Goldman v. Alkek, 850 S.W.2d 568, 571-572 (1993), you as tenant would need to establish [in court] the landlord's "breach of the warranty of quiet enjoyment by showing: (1) an intention of the landlord that the tenant no longer enjoy the premises; (2) a material act by the landlord that substantially interferes with the intended use and enjoyment of the premises; (3) permanent deprivation of the tenant's use and enjoyment of the premises; and (4) abandonment of the premises within a reasonable time after the commission of the act".

These elements require similar proof as in claims of constructive eviction, and Goldman points out that "Texas case law generally requires proof of abandonment to establish a breach of the warranty of quiet enjoyment".

Goldman at 572 explains that claims of breach of warranty of quiet enjoyment typically arise as tenant's defense where "a landlord seeks to collect rent payments still remaining under the lease when his tenant has already abandoned the property. [...] If [tenant] proves his claim, the lease is effectively rescinded, and the tenant will be excused from any further obligation to pay rent".

Regarding element (2) above, Fidelity Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Makinsky, 768 S.W.2d 818, 821 (1989) points out that "[b]oth action and lack of action can constitute 'conduct' by the landlord which amounts to a constructive eviction". This is relevant to your situation in that the tenant refuses to actually address the nuisance that deprives you of the --implied or express-- covenant of quiet enjoyment.

but then I have also been told that these types of matters are "fraught" when taken to court.

I often get many downvotes on Law SE for denouncing the uncomfortable truth that many, many judges deliberately ignore statutes and case law when they make their rulings.

Cases of this and other types might have legal merit and be supported on evidence, and yet be decided adversely because law and evidence are outweighed by illicit interests running high in courtrooms & judges' chambers. Some or many of the "fraught" instances you have heard of might have been affected by these dynamics.

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  • This has got to be one of the most well put together answers I have ever received on this forum. The one semester I spent in law school and the little I got from Jurisdictionary cds I borrowed from a friend many moons ago, taught me that case law is important and I think this is the first answer I ever got citing case law. I ask myself, I cannot possibly be the first person to go through this. – Daniel Apr 26 at 22:44
  • While I have accepted your answer, its definitely a good one. Here is what someone may counterargue: flip.lease/learn/habitability/constructive-eviction-in-texas. I am referring specifically to the four arguments that must be established. Point 3 and 4 may be why judges do not want to bother hearing the case, if its clear from their reading that point 3 and 4 was not established, but at any rate I need to read Fidelity v. Makinsky. – Daniel Apr 26 at 22:48
  • @Daniel Thank you kindly for your feedback. Element (3) might be established if the timing and substance of police reports evidence that nuisances persist (i.e., are permanent), coupled w/landlord's failure to address them seriously despite your complaints thereof. Element (4) would be established by actually moving out ahead of schedule, i.e., by early termination of the lease. Various tenant-litigants also advance the argument that the breach of quiet enjoyment violates TX statute against deceptive practices, although it is unclear whether the unit was represented to you as a quiet place. – Iñaki Viggers Apr 26 at 23:24
  • wow, once again, blown away by your answers. – Daniel Apr 27 at 0:07

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