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New Texas law will require landlords to notify tenants of flood risks before signing lease

It goes into effect on Jan. 1 and will require Texas landlords to let possible tenants know about flood risks before signing a lease.

HOUSTON — A new law going into effect on Jan. 1 will require Texas landlords to notify renters of flood risks.

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"It's another tool in the toolbox," Texas Rep. Armando Walle said.

It's huge news for families in Southeast Texas considering most people living in Harris County are renters.

"I've lived here for 56 years," Houston renter Kenny Ryman said.

He said his apartment flooded during Hurricane Harvey and he wasn't informed of the flood risk when he signed the lease to rent the property.

Starting next year, what happened to Ryman and countless others will be against the law because of a bill authored by Walle.

"So, if it flooded once in the last five years or lives in the 100-year flood plain, the landlord has to give you -- in writing -- a notification that your home that you are about to rent or lease or put your family in has a propensity to flood," Walle said.

If landlords fail to notify their tenants, Walle said you can break the lease if your apartment gets flooded and is substantially damaged.

Ryman said the new law makes him feel better.

"They should've let us know in the first place before we sign the lease," Ryman said.

The new law only applies to leasing agreements that are signed on Jan. 1 and beyond. It does not impact your current contract if you're already under contractual obligation.