Protecting a Property from Winter Freeze: Is the Tenant or Landlord Responsible?

Winter freeze is coming. There’s concerns about the pipes and potential damage if pipes burst. Whos’ responsible for protecting a property from winter freeze? Is it the landlord or the tenant.

Responsibility is determined by what’s stated in the lease agreement but it is typically the tenant’s responsibility.

If the rental property is a single-family home and the landlord and tenant used a Texas Realtors Residential Lease with the assistance of a real estate agent the terms of the lease are clear.

Section 17.A.7 says Tenant’s General Responsibilities: Tenant, at Tenant’s expense, must take all necessary precautions to prevent broken water pipes due to freezing or other causes.

If the property is an apartment using the Texas Apartment Association Apartment Lease contract the tenant has responsibility to reducing risk by taking action with the interior of the property.

Section 24.4 states Unless we instruct otherwise, during freezing weather you must for 24 hours a day: (A) keep the apartment heated to at least 50° Fahrenheit, (B) keep cabinet and closet doors open, and (C) drip hot- and cold-water faucets. You’ll be liable for any damage to our and others’ property caused by broken water pipes due to your violating these requirements.

If your lease is neither a Texas Realtors Residential Lease or the Texas Apartment Association Apartment Lease you will need to review the terms to determine responsibility. If you do not have a copy of your lease you can request it from the landlord.

If it’s unclear who is responsible I recommend you contact an attorney.