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Rule 509.6. Judgment: Amount; Form and Content; Issuance and Service; Failure to Comply (2013)
(a) Amount. Judgment may be rendered against the landlord for failure to repair or remedy a condition at the residential rental property if the total judgment does not exceed $10,000, excluding interest and court costs but including attorney's fees. Any party who prevails in a lawsuit brought under these rules may recover the party's court costs and reasonable attorney's fees as allowed by law.
(b) Form and Content.
(1) The judgment must be in writing, signed, and dated and must include the names of the parties to the proceeding and the street address of the residential rental property where the condition is to be repaired or remedied.
(c) Issuance and Service. The judge must issue the judgment. The judgment may be served on the landlord in open court or by any means provided in Rule 501.4 at an address listed in the citation, the address listed on any answer, or such other address the landlord furnishes to the court in writing. Unless the judge serves the landlord in open court or by other means provided in Rule 501.4, the sheriff; constable, or other authorized person who serves the landlord must promptly file a return of service in the justice court.
(2) In the judgment, the judge may:
(A) order the landlord to take reasonable action to repair or remedy the condition;
(3) If the judge orders the landlord to repair or remedy a condition, the judgment must include in reasonable detail the actions the landlord must take to repair or remedy the condition and the date when the repair or remedy must be completed.
(B) order a reduction in the tenant's rent, from the date of the first repair notice, in proportion to the reduced rental value resulting from the condition until the condition is repaired or remedied;
(C) award a civil penalty of one month's rent plus $500;
(D) award the tenant's actual damages; and
(E) award court costs and attorney's fees, excluding any attorney's fees for a claim for damages relating to a personal injury.
(4) If the judge orders a reduction in the tenant's rent, the judgment must state:
(A) the amount of the rent the tenant must pay, if any;
(B) the frequency with which the tenant must pay the rent;
(C) the condition justifying the reduction of rent;
(D) the effective date of the order reducing rent;
(E) that the order reducing rent will terminate on the date the condition is repaired or remedied; and
(F) that on the day the condition is repaired or remedied, the landlord must give the tenant written notice, served in accordance with Rule 501.4, that the condition justifying the reduction of rent has been repaired or remedied and the rent will revert to the rent amount specified in the lease.
(d) Failure to Comply. If the landlord fails to comply with an order to repair or remedy a condition or reduce the tenant's rent, the failure is grounds for citing the landlord for contempt of court under Section 21.002 of the Texas Government Code.
Added by order of April 15th, 2013, eff. Aug. 31, 2013.