Investing in a property can be both fruitful and rewarding. Yet, acting as a landlord also has its own set of challenges. To protect your investments, it is important that you consult with a Somervell TX landlord lawyer. Call Girling Law today.
Drafting a Well Written Lease Agreement Is Crucial
A lease agreement is a legal pact between a tenant and landlord. This agreement is crucial in protecting your rights as a landlord. Texas law allows agreements to be either written or verbal. While verbal agreements are easily misinterpreted, a written agreement is less easily misconstrued. Because of this, only a written agreement will fully protect your investments. Your written lease will detail the exact terms and conditions both tenant and landlord must follow. It also requires a signature from each party, which makes it a legally binding contract.
Consult a Somervell TX landlord lawyer to draft a written landlord-friendly lease agreement that adheres to Texas state as well as federal law. Your lease should contain the following:
- Amount of rent and when it’s due
- The identity of both parties involved and contract information
- Term of lease
- Amount of security deposit
- Contract breach remedies
- Terms of eviction
- Rights of each party
- Provisions of termination
- Subletting and assignment information
- Details and terms of property maintenance
Entry on Premises
Your right to enter a leased property is pretty limited once a tenant takes possession. Federal and state law protects tenants and their right to privacy. You Somervell TX landlord lawyer can help your lease agreement adhere to the law and give you the right to enter when it is lawful to do so. While the State of Texas does not provide an exact time frame of notice before landlord entry, we recommend giving 24 hours’ notice. Your agreement can outline the following reasons for entry:
- Repairs to the property, whether requested or necessary
- Allowing a prospective tenant to see the property
- Any emergency that requires inside access
Remember that entering an occupied property without notice is not advised. Doing so can give your tenants rights to damages and grounds for release from the lease.
In Texas, a landlord may determine a specific amount required for a security deposit and where that money is held. The law also requires that landlords return that deposit within 30 days after a tenant moves out. However, a landlord may deduct the following expenses from the deposit:
- Unpaid rent or utilities
- Cost of repairs beyond normal wear and tear
Make sure to keep detailed records if you need to deduct a deposit for repairs. Detailed records include pictures and receipts. Failing to return a deposit within 30 days opens yourself up to a lawsuit. Your tenants can sue you for up to three times the amount of the security deposit, plus attorney and court fees. Your Somervell TX landlord lawyer can help protect you against bad faith deposit claims.
Repairs to the Property
In most agreements, both landlords and tenants are responsible for repairs. In short, a tenant requests a repair from the landlord, and the landlord completes the repair. If you do not make the requested repair, your tenant has a right to do it themselves. They can also deduct the cost of the repair from their rent. When tenants conduct repairs, disputes often arise. Sometimes these disputes lead to litigation. Your experienced Somervell TX landlord lawyer can defend you against wrongful damage claims.
Grounds for Eviction
You may evict a tenant for the following reasons:
- Failure to pay rent
- Breach of lease terms
- Engagement in public indecency or illegal activities
- Holdover tenants
Notice to Vacate
You as a landlord must properly serve your tenant a Notice to Vacate before filing an eviction in court. This notice must contain:
- Service date
- Eviction notice reasons
- Names and information of tenant(s)
- Explanation for the landlord’s right to pursue legal action to evict the tenant
- Specific date the tenant must move out
- Details regarding how the notice was served
If your tenant’s eviction notice is due to unpaid rent, the State of Texas requires a minimum of three days notice before filing the eviction. Working with your Somervell TX landlord lawyer, you can ensure your eviction notice is properly served. Furthermore, when you work with a lawyer, you show the court your seriousness in moving forward with the eviction.
Representation in Court
The most common reason landlords end up in court is due to eviction. Though, there can be a number of reasons you may find yourself in court. At Girling Law, we will aggressively defend your best interests, as well as negotiate for a favorable settlement.
Consult a Somervell TX Landlord Lawyer Today
If you need help drafting a lease, completing background checks, or being represented in court, our lawyers are here to help. Speak with a Somervell TX landlord lawyer at Girling Law today.