Though owning property can be lucrative, it can also come with some risks. If you’re a landlord and want to make sure you protect your rights, a Richland Hills TX landlord lawyer at Girling Law is here to help.
A Well-Written Lease Agreement Is Vital
Both renter and landlord must adhere to the terms and obligations outlined in the lease agreement. Texas law allows this lease agreement to be written or verbal. But it’s important to remember that only a written lease can fully protect your rights and interests. Unfortunately, verbal agreements are often manipulated and misconstrued. In contrast, a well-written lease will clearly state every detail of the agreement, which makes it nearly impossible to distort.
With the help of your Richland Hills TX landlord lawyer, your written lease should include the following:
- Amount of rent and date it’s due
- The identity of both parties
- All the details and terms of the lease
- Requirements for security deposit and amount
- Pet rent dues and fees
- All potential legal recourse in event of breach of lease
- Legal responsibilities of both parties
- Lease termination details
- Grounds for eviction
- Information concerning maintenance upkeep
- Terms for holdover tenants
When Can You Enter a Rented Property?
The state of Texas protects tenants privacy rights. This means that your rights to enter a rented property are very restricted. Furthermore, though no specific time frame for entry notice is outlined in the law, we recommend giving your tenants at least 24 hours’ notice.
A Richland Hills TX landlord lawyer can ensure your written lease gives you these reasons for entry:
- For required or requested repairs
- Touring any prospective tenants around your property
- Investigating your property for vital repairs
- For any emergency that requires entry
Never under any circumstances enter a rented property for any other reason that is not outlined in your lease agreement. Doing so will not only open yourself up to civil liability, but will also give your tenant grounds for early lease termination.
Reasons for Keeping Security Deposits
Under Texas law, you as the landlord can determine the requirements and amount for security deposits. You can also choose where to hold that money. However, remember that you are legally obligated to return that money within 30 days from the date your tenant moves out.
The law does allow you to keep some or all of a tenant’s security deposit under certain circumstances. A Richland Hills landlord lawyer can help you outline these reasons for keeping funds from your tenant’s security deposit:
- Covering any overdue rent
- Compensation for outstanding utilities
- Reimbursement for damages beyond normal wear and tear
- Paying for any excessive cleaning costs
- Levying fees or penalties for tenant’s breach of lease
Always keep detailed records and notes for any funds you withhold from a tenant’s security deposit. That includes taking videos or pictures of damages, as well as keeping any receipts for repairs or cleaning costs. If you do not keep such records and notes, your tenant can try to dispute your reasons for keeping their deposit.
Also, you should always return your tenant’s security deposit on time (within 30 days). Otherwise, your tenant can sue you for up to three times the amount of the original deposit and for any attorney or court fees. If you’re considering withholding funds from a tenant’s deposit, but you’re not sure if your situation allows it, speak with an experienced Richland Hills TX landlord lawyer today.
Property Maintenance Upkeep
Your written lease agreement will state your responsibilities and duties for keeping up with property maintenance. If you refuse to make any necessary repairs, you allow your tenants to complete the repair themselves. Your tenant can then deduct repair costs from their rent. Often, disputes arise when tenants conduct property maintenance. If one of these disputes ever progresses to litigation, your Richland Hills TX landlord lawyer will help defend your rights.
When to Evict a Tenant
You can evict tenants for these reasons:
- Failing to properly pay rent
- Carrying out acts restricted by your lease
- Engaging in public indecency
If you’re unsure whether you can evict a tenant or not, consult with a Richland Hills TX landlord lawyer beforehand.
Serving an Eviction Notice
Before you can legally evict your tenant, an eviction notice must be served. Your notice needs to contain the following:
- Date of service
- Reasons for eviction
- Information about tenant
- Move out date for tenant
- Statement for your legal remedy for tenant removal
- Details concerning how your eviction notice was served
Contact a Richland Hills TX Landlord Lawyer Today
Defend your rights and interests as a landlord by speaking with a Richland Hills TX landlord lawyer at Girling Law today.