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Summary: Currently, a landlord is prohibited from interrupting electric service to a tenant. However, some contest that prohibition does not give a landlord sufficient remedy for a tenant that directly pays a landlord for electricity and fails to pay. HB 1086 establishes a process for the landlord to interrupt electric service to a tenant for failure to pay an electric bill.
Analysis: Allowing a landlord to interrupt electrical service in the case of nonpayment enhances the property rights of the landlord. However, this legislation takes a complex approach to fix a simple problem. This complicated approach will make compliance more difficult. Instead of adding all this new language, Section 92.008 of the Property Code could be amended to allow a landlord to interrupt electricity in the case of a nonpayment and require written or in-person notice be given to the tenant. Complicating the code to the extent that this bill does may lead to unintended consequences.
For these reasons, TPPA recommends amending the bill to simplify it and exclude provisions beyond simple and clear language allowing a landlord to interrupt electric service for nonpayment with a requirement that written notice be delivered in advance in person.