Are you a property manager currently facing disputes with your tenants? If so, you need to keep yourself updated with current landlord-tenant laws, and be aware of your responsibilities to avoid legal problems and lawsuits which can cost you time and money. Read on to know more about the common methods to legally approach real estate issues in Texas.
Legal problems may appear when a provision in your rental agreement is broken by a tenant, or when you fail to keep up with your legal responsibilities tied to the lease agreement. Both you and the tenant signs this legal document so make sure to think about the implications of each detail you include.
Rejection of Tenant Applicants
The laws of the state indicate how renters and rental owners should deal with each other in relation to the tenancy agreement. It also draws the line on the limits of security deposits and when it can be used or returned.
When screening applications in your current lease, make sure to comply with anti-discrimination and fair housing laws. In the screening process, avoid asking questions that can make potential tenants feel discriminated against their national origin, race, sex, religion, or disability.
Be careful also in publishing advertisements and make sure that the taglines and images you use don’t have any underlying tones of racism or other possible grounds for a discrimination lawsuit.
As a landlord in Texas, you have the right to reject potential tenants on the grounds of having a low credit rating (perhaps due to a history of declaring bankruptcy), bad references from former landlords, missed rent payments, or negative behavior. But you cannot discriminate against groups listed under the protected category status of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. If you wish to learn more about the laws consult with a landlord real estate attorney.
Non-Compliance with the Lease
Rent rules should be clearly outlined in the agreement signed between the owner of the property and the one occupying it. Examples include what rights the tenant or landlord has when it comes to repairs, the types of material present in the property such as lead paint on walls, or other potential risk and hazard to the tenant.
Like any other proprietor, you would also want your tenants to pay their rent on schedule, and without having to send any notices. If however, they consistently fail to give what is owed, you can send proper notice of eviction as long as you comply with the specific rules in Texas. This includes giving a three days notice in writing to the renting family prior to filing a notice to vacate. Should you experience any increase in real estate-related expenses, you may also raise rents.
A big portion of landlord and tenants’ disputes involve the issue of security deposits. To avoid facing this legal issue, read on the state rules regarding deposits. For instance, a security deposit must be paid back to the tenant within 30 days of moving out of your property.
Livable Housing for Renters
Property owners have the legal responsibility to ensure that their premises remain habitable for all occupants under the doctrine of implied warranty of habitability. Overseeing major repairs and watching out for wear and tear of your personal property help avoid tenants from claiming the right to deduct the amount they spent on home damages from the monthly rent due.
Moreover, by keeping your properties in good condition, you avoid any potential personal injury lawsuits such as a slip and fall case due to a broken staircase inside the house or apartment.
Landlords’ Legal Aid
No matter what legal issue your tenant brings, never retaliate through raising the rent or immediate eviction. Doing so is considered illegal in Texas. Instead of retaliation, gather documentation to develop a counterclaim with the help of an eviction attorney or landlord lawyer.
Do you need a legal professional to oversee your actions on tenant disputes and lawsuits? Do you have specific questions about your rental unit?
If so, get in touch with Girling Law Firm, PLLC, the landlord’s real estate attorney. As one of the only eviction firms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that can request trials via teleconference, you can be sure that we’ll help you file that eviction lawsuit right away even amidst the current pandemic. Call our experienced landlord-tenant attorneys at (817) 952-5957.