As a Johnson TX landlord lawyer, Marc Girling knows that property ownership comes with challenges. While owning property can be lucrative, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure you protect your legal rights. Girling Law knows real estate law and works directly with landlords to protect their rights and provide counsel on various real estate matters.
Making Sure You Have a Well-Written Lease
It seems simple enough. You want to rent a building and someone wants to occupy it. You verbally agree to terms, shake hands, the renter pays a deposit, and you think you are done. Texas law does allow for oral leases; however, it’s not a good idea. If there is a dispute it could turn into a “they said” vs. “I said” matter. This is why it is advised that you have a written lease agreement. A lease agreement is a written legally binding paper that outlines the terms, conditions, and rights of both parties.
What Lease Agreement Provisions Should You Address?
Your Johnson TX landlord lawyer can provide representation and assist you in lease drafting tailored to your needs. Lease agreements have various legal provisions. Following are common things addressed:
- Contracting parties
- Legal obligations and rights of both parties
- Dates of the lease
- Rent price
- Rent and fees due dates
- Specific lease terms regarding security deposits
- Pet policy
- Eviction terms
- Sublet and assignment clauses
- Maintenance obligations of both parties
- Termination procedures
- Sublet and assignment of lease
- What happens during a breach
Landlord Entry on Leased Premises
Texas law grants tenants a right to privacy on property they lease. Once the lease date starts, the tenant’s right to privacy begins and your right as a landlord to enter the property is very limited. A well drafted lease agreement can provide certain circumstances under which you can legally have a right to enter the leased premises. For example, you may be allowed to enter the premises to make needed repairs, with proper notice. An attorney can review needed lease provisions that meet your needs as well as follow the law.
It is proper to provide the tenant notice before requesting entry onto the leased premises. Texas law does not outline a required notice period, but it is customary to provide a minimum of twenty-four hours notice.
Your Jackson TX landlord lawyer will recommend that you do not enter the leased premises unless the lease terms allow you to do so. When a tenant takes possession of the leased property they are entitled to rights. If you break those rights, there can be consequences. The consequences can include civil liability as well as a right for the tenant to terminate the lease.
Understanding Security Deposit Specifics
As a landlord you have a right to decide how much a security deposit you want to require. The amount should be reasonable for the circumstances. Further, Texas law gives you the discretion in where you keep the money. However, you must return any security deposit within 30 days after lease expiration.
When you can use the security deposit is limited. Keep detailed records. If you you refuse to return a security deposit, the tenant can sue you for triple the value of the security deposit and can also be awarded costs and counsel fees.
Landlord’s Repairs and Damages Obligations
General overall repairs are the landlord’s responsibility. For example, fixing a leaky pipe or repairing an AC unit are generally your responsibility. Sometimes, repairs and damages can be the tenant’s responsibility, if specified in the lease, but that is less typical. If you are obligated to fix damages or make repairs and fail to do so, the tenant has some recourse. Under the law, the tenant can make the repairs, pay for the repairs, and then deduct those amounts from rent.
As the landlord, under certain facts you can evict a tenant. These reasons include:
- Breaking the law (e.g. drug use)
- Engaging in behavior that the lease prohibits
- Not paying rent
- Public indecency
- Holding over past the lease term
Notice to Vacate
If you want to evict a tenant, you must serve the tenant with a Notice to Vacate. The Notice to Vacate must have:
- Tenant contact information
- Date you served the tenant
- Legal reason for the eviction
- Date in which the tenant must vacate, or the final date unpaid rent must be brought current
- Explanation as to why you might engage legal action to evict
- Service description
In addition to the Notice to Vacate requirements, a landlord must also provide any tenant with at least three days notice if evicting for unpaid rent. Our Johnson TX landlord lawyer is well versed on the eviction requirements and can assist in the process and compliance with the law.
Sometimes being a landlord means you have to go to court. This may involve complex litigation. Girling Law can assist in your defense and help to protect your rights.
Speak to a Johnson TX Landlord Lawyer Today
Working with an experienced Johnson TX landlord lawyer can help you understand and protect your landlord rights. Call Girling Law today at (817) 835-9410.