AUSTIN (KXAN) — Janice Lenhart, 82, is recovering from a bad fall.
“I just decided I would start walking and so I put the walker away and I walk,” said Lenhardt, a retired teacher who lives in Taylor.
“I’m not telling you that it doesn’t hurt,” she said, “but that’s OK because I’m walking”
Lenhardt said next in her recovery she would like to start driving, but she can’t because her garage door only goes about halfway up, trapping her car in the garage.
“It horrified me. Why isn’t this garage door going up? Well, I went out there and looked and it was bent,” she said.
Dents are in several places and appear to push in from the outside as if someone or something ran into the door.
Lenhart rents her home at The Gardens of Taylor, so, when it happened about a month ago, she reported it and expected the management company would replace the garage door. But her situation wasn’t that open and shut.
“Management told me that I had to pay for it,” she recalled. “Very emotional, and I have been very sad, depressed.”
KXAN Investigator Mike Rush called the management company, Continental Management of Topeka. The president of the company said she’s conducting an investigation because she believed it’s possible Lenhart caused the damage herself.
“But it’s not true because the break is pushing into the garage and not going out of the garage,” Lenhart pointed out.
Alex Stamm is a lawyer for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. He said tenants need to look at their contracts to understand what is and isn’t covered.
Stamm is not involved in this case but he said, in general, if there’s a health and safety issue the tenant did not cause, the landlord is obligated to make repairs.
However, he said, “The most common lease form in Texas does have a clause that waives the landlord’s obligation to pay for damage to doors even if the tenant didn’t cause it.”
In Lenhart’s case, Continental Management’s president originally told Rush she would pay the full cost of a new garage door, but she said she decided because it’s unclear how the damage happened, she would agree to pay for half of the new garage door.
“I feel like you guys have been a tremendous help to me. Such a blessing to me and I appreciate it,” Lenhart said.
Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid said if renters have damage they didn’t cause that they believe is a health and safety issue, they should write a letter to the management company explaining the risk and ask for repairs. Renters should send the letter certified mail with a receipt.