Test post: single image

This is a test post. The image seen/not seen in the middle is a PNG screencap from FileZilla.

By Shelly BrisbinJanuary 14, 2022 9:54 am


Speaker 1 [00:00:00] This is the Texas standard.

Speaker 2 [00:00:02] Well, landlords in Texas are now required to inform prospective renters whether their properties are in floodplains. This the result of a new law that went into effect January 1st. Jasper Shearer has been writing about this for the Houston Chronicle. He covers state politics there. Jasper, welcome to the Texas Standard. Good to have you.

Speaker 3 [00:00:20] Thanks for having me.

Speaker 2 [00:00:22] So what does this new law say specifically about when and how a landlord is supposed to tell prospective tenants about a location being in a floodplain?

Speaker 3 [00:00:30] Right, so as you noted, landlords have to tell their tenants, either prospective tenants or current tenants who are renewing their leases if the property is located inside a 100 year flood plain or if the property was damaged by flooding within the last five years. And the 100 year flood plain is kind of a a jargony term that’s supposed to refer to property that’s located in in an area where a storm that would occur every 100 years would flood. And as we’ve seen in recent storms, a lot of those maps are really out of date. So I think that’s what this law is trying to be kind of a catch all and also refer to those areas that have been flooded within the last five years as well. A lot of which are located outside of those those floodplains.

Speaker 2 [00:01:22] What are tenant advocates having to say about this? I mean, I’ve heard some say that this law might not be enough to insure people that live in places in flood plains are or actually know what the situation is, right?

Speaker 3 [00:01:38] Well, I think the big thing we’re hearing from them is they’re just relieved that this is bringing renters in line with homebuyers. The Legislature enacted similar requirements for home for those selling homes back in 2019, and this this bill just didn’t get across the finish line that year or so. That just kind of puts them on a level playing field and kind of created this imbalance where, you know, landlords would essentially receive notice that they were buying a flood prone property and then they could turn around and rent it out without giving the same notice to their tenants. So that scenario is starting January 1st is is no longer possible.

Speaker 2 [00:02:22] Well, I guess that’s progress some would say. But on the other hand, if you’re in a long term lease, there’s no it doesn’t seem like there’s any requirement for a landlord to let you know until it’s time to renew that lease. As I understand it, is that right?

Speaker 3 [00:02:39] That’s right. So in in that case, you could theoretically see, you know, if someone had just renewed their lease and then a big storm is coming down the pike, that that tenant wouldn’t be, you know, wouldn’t get the benefit of this bill. So that’s I think that’s the big, I guess, loophole, if you will. But you know what I’ve been hearing mostly from tenant advocates and and those folks is that I think they are pretty satisfied with the language in this. And sort of again, just addressing those properties that fall outside the 100 year flood plain with these outdated maps, it’s kind of scoops up those homes because of the the five year flooding requirement.

Speaker 2 [00:03:21] Well, now what about the landlord who maybe didn’t know their property was in a floodplain? I mean, obviously, anyone with a recent memory of Hurricane Harvey’s flooding in the 2015 summer flooding in Austin would understand how, you know, might not be a good idea. But could this mean more apartments and rental houses could cease to exist in some of these areas? And of course, that in turn exacerbate a shortage of housing? Yeah, that is a is a growing problem across the state.

Speaker 3 [00:03:51] Yeah, I think that’s absolutely a real concern. And some of the, I think, opposition to this bill in 2019 from some of the kind of landlord advocate groups. I think they were concerned that landlords would like you were saying not be aware. But if you look at, I guess, with the new law in place, you know, the some of those groups are trying to reach out to, you know, publicize put out news releases, can’t directly contact the landlords to make sure they know about the new requirements. And in some cases, yes. I think it might discourage some landlords from, you know, or even prospective landlords from buying properties that they know are in flood prone areas now that they are going to be required to inform their tenants when they didn’t have to do so in the past.

Speaker 2 [00:04:45] Jasper Scherer is a reporter for the Houston Chronicle. We’re going to link to his latest over Texas Standard, Dawg. Jasper, thanks again.

Speaker 3 [00:04:52] Of course. Thanks for having me.