PROVISION OF TEXAS APARTMENT ASSOCIATION LEASE RULED VOID ON PUBLIC POLICY GROUNDS

On December 18, 2013, in the majority opinion of Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company v. White, the San Antonio Court of Appeals ruled the catch-all provision — “due to . . . any other cause not due to our negligence or fault” — contained in paragraph 12 of a Texas Apartment Association lease is void. The court concluded that paragraph 12’s broad imposition of liability on a tenant for damage not caused by the landlord is void because it violates public policy as expressed in the Texas Property Code. The dissent by Justice Barnard asserted that the public policy preservation of contractual freedom trumps White’s claim.

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