Protecting Your Right to Peace and Enjoyment of Your Apartment, And Landlord and Real Estate Developer Rights
Ever wondered what to do when suddenly a leased apartment is starting to fall apart, or about an owner’s right to remove an unreliable tenant who can just not find time to timely pay rent.
The problems of landlord-tenant relations largely have remained unchanged for the last fifty years, yet more often than not every tenant knows exactly what their legal options are when confronted with slumlords, or landlord abuse. The flip side of the coin is that not every landlord is well-versed with the limitations imposed on their right to restrict the tenant’s rights to effectively manage their property.
It is helpful to be fully informed of your rights to a property free of despair or uncleanliness, and the rights governing the eviction process, as well as other limits imposed on a landlord restricting their absolute freedom to manage their property.
It is worthwhile to learn more about the various kinds of Texas landlord-tenant real estate disputes under Texas law by reading below.
What Forms the Bulk of TX Landlord Tenant Law in Texas?
According to Texas Attorney General’s office, consumers are instructed of their entitlement to basic rights:
- Peace and quiet from surprise shut offs of utilities. Tex. Prop. Code Ann., § 92.008.
- Health and safety, to be protected from personal injury; and the right for repairs made valued at under $10,000. Tex. Prop. Code Ann., § 92.0562, et seq..
- Security devices to ensure against theft or burglary. Tex. Prop. Code Ann., § 92.153.
According to the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation, you, the tenant, whether living in the large metropolises of Austin, Dallas or Houston or in the environs, have a right to a rental agreement, or lease agreement, in writing that states:
- Your rent amount and due date.
- Lease time period and month-to-month provisions after your lease agreement expires.
- Security deposits and late fees
- House rules (even if these are not provided as part of your rental agreement, make sure your landlord provides you with a written copy of any rules or regulations, such as pet policies, insurance requirements, visitor policies, etc.)
- The circumstances in which your landlord has the right to enter your home
Requirements for Presenting a Solid Case for Unlawful Eviction, or Removing Tenants for Non-Payment of Rent
According to the highly-trusted legal lawyer directory Nolo.com, there are many rules governing what a tenant is required to do while under a lease, as well as obligations of landlords. Any lawyer found through a local bar association or State Bar of Texas will inform you that landlords who manage real estate have to do the following:
- To disclose the terms of the rental agreement to the tenant (how much, who to pay, issues when rent is lates; holidays; late-rent consequences; check-bouncing fees.
- To disclose the name of anyone authorized to act as the landlord’s agent for failure to make needed repairs
- To return the tenant’s security deposit within “30 days” of the tenant’s moving out, and to provide an itemized written accounting of the deposit portion kept. Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 92.104.
- To abide by restrictions on the limits on late fees (if any exist in the city the landlord owns property).
- To follow notice rules for seeking to increase rent.
For tenants asserting their rights, according to Nolo.com, their options include:
- Not paying rent; or choosing to fix the problem in their unit, then to deduct it from the monthly rent due.
- Having the right to receive a 3-day Pay-or-Quit notice before the landlord can evict the tenant. See Tex. Prop. Code Ann. §§ 24.001-24.011
- Being free from retaliation for complaining to government agencies, domestic violence victims.
- Having the right of return of abandoned property.
- Being free from landlord management of the premises causing personal injury.
- Being free from housing discrimination based on local and federal law.
As most lawyers belonging to a bar association or State Bar of Texas will inform you in Houston and other cities, it is helpful for both sides to retain a TX landlord tenant super lawyer capable of accurately identifying legal issues and aggressively asserting legal rights to accomplish the end of either tenant or landlord.
By employing all possible legal resources under local, state and federal laws, Texas State legislature and Supreme Court of Texas, TX landlord tenant attorneys can ensure peace among renters of units with unhabitable or unsafe condition, and landlords can still maintain their rights to make their investment profitable.
Getting Legal Help with Texas Landlord-Tenant Real Estate Disputes
According to Nolo.com, typically tenants, stretching across Houston to Austin, and beyond, are extremely disadvantaged by having to pay rent to landlord who has a greater concern for maximizing their return on their investment than about respecting tenant’s complaints about the quality of their unit. However, tenants still have defenses to employ which include:
- Landlords who illegally use “self-help” eviction schemes by changing locks and cutting off utilities for non-payment of rent or to harass the tenant. Tex. Prop. Code § § 92.008, 92.0081, 92.009
- Landlords use eviction notices’ that are false, incomplete or not properly served on the resident of the unit.
- Landlords retaliate against their tenants. Texas Property Code §92.331
- Mere lateness of rent payment as a waiver of the right to evict immediately.
- The landlord has an illegal discriminatory reason under local or federal law.
- Uninhabitable dwelling space in the rented property. Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 92.052 and 92.056.
When the dwelling is not habitable for any person to live in, then there is a process of notifying the landlord of the shoddy conditions and waiting the statutory 7-day period of time to be given the right to withhold rent.
Legal Advice: Why do I Need to Hire a Texas Landlord-tenant Lawyer?
As many law offices in Texas have valuable legal aid and legal services to offer at high prices, there are some concerns likely how much a landlord-tenant super lawyer, trained at the best law school, is worth as your personal advocate. Based lack of information (and misinformation) about tenants rights in under state law, hiring an experienced TX landlord tenant attorney who neutralize landlord threats, force the landlord remedial action, recoup unjustified hikes in rent with double or triple damages, even—are undoubtedly priceless notwithstanding the incredibly high average rate of TX landlord tenant lawyers and firms. Per Clio.com, law offices specializing in landlord tenant law can charge between reportedly $130 to $450 per hour.
Based on the skill and years of experience of the Texas insurance lawyer responsible for handling claims against the real estate owned by the organization or other involved party, a client can recover greater amounts if the lawyer stays up to date with the everchanging landscape of Texas state law, including real estate, estate planning, family law and local ordinances varying from city to city offering greater protection.
Why Should I Hire a Skilled Texas Landlord-Tenant Super Lawyer?
Given the booming economy in Texas and established rights of development and smaller less established owners to manage property for a profit, it is important to have a skilled lawyer who can distinguish him or herself from others in the field.
Whereas Texas law offices offering legal services may be somewhat knowledgeable about how to represent a tenant or landlord, a particularly skilled and incredibly talented TX landlord tenant attorney will be intimately familiar with the most recent decisions in employment law, ready and willing to use whatever tools in his or her arsenal to prosecute or defend the case.
Many top-rated law firms and superlawyers specialize in these cases, including San Antonio-based tenants’ rights law firm The Schafer Law Firm, the Dallas-based eviction defense firm Frontier Evictions, North Richland Hills-based Girling Law Firm, PLLC, Forth-worth-based Huhem Law Firm, PLLC, among others in the Houston, Austin and surrounding areas, offer legal aid and legal services that include an initial free consultation, and initial disclaimer, to help strategize your best course of action during a time of stress and uncertainty.
In any case, you should be prepared to create a narrative of facts detailing everything that you remembered before, during and after the rental incident leading up to the landlord-tenant dispute, including keeping meticulous records of expenses made during the litigation, or in the case of the responsible merchant, the costs to defend.
Forming an Attorney-Client Relationship: Call a Houston Landlord Tenant Lawyer Today for a Case Evaluation to Better Prevail in Your Landlord-Tenant Dispute
Often powerless and afraid, tenants in Texas’ big cities have many times sat on their rights and submitted to power grabs by avaricious Dallas landlords, making having the right attorney on your side to navigate the vast and ever-changing landscape of Texas employment law and ever evolving case precedent—important as ever. The attorney-client relationship forms upon consultation when you consider hiring the attorney. Once formed, this relationship helps prepare the client to bring a winning case to receive compensation where there is clearly established liability and avoid liability for claims that have no support in fact or law and are mere conjecture and conspiracy.
Whether you are looking for a Houston, Dallas or San Antonio-based landlord tenant lawyer, Lawsuit.org, beyond your local bar association, or public law school library, offers a premier legal directory that will help you pinpoint the right one whose practice areas include other relevant areas such as probate, estate planning and business law, often offering free consultations and evaluations to obtain the just results that a landlord or tenant needs.