The Sprigg-Novak Law Firm has years of experience assisting residential landlords with legal issues. Here we present a list of 5 points that are often overlooked by landlords and that can cause you issues should a matter be presented to court.
1.) Make sure that each residence has a mailbox that exists and is accessible by the Post Office
Doesn’t everyone have a mailbox? This is a strong “NO”. Here is what we have seen: mailboxes destroyed by vandalism, or just outright removed by tenants. Or Mailboxes that are hidden, or blocked by objects on the porch or vicious dogs. If the mail cannot be delivered to a mailbox, the burden of delivering notices to the tenant is much more complicated. Check and make sure that your residences have a usable and accessible mailbox.
2.) Check the Deed to your Property
When we close the sale of a property, many assumptions are unfortunately made by the landlord purchaser. One of these is that the property deed is filed in the correct county. Texas counties have many cities that cross county lines. Take for example Lewisville or Frisco. You should check a map and make sure that your property lies within the county that you believe. Then go online to that county’s Real Property Records section and download your deed. If you cannot find your deed, it may be misfiled.
3.) Check your Lease Name and DBA Status
Do you operate as a landlord under a DBA or “Doing Business As”. Make sure that you have a DBA certificate filed with the Texas Secretary of State. Make sure if you act under a DBA, that either the name of your LLC, or Corporation or your own name is also properly reflected on the lease. We have had many cases fail in court for this very simple fix.
4.) Watch your Property Lines
Tenants don’t own the rental property. You do. Therefore, if neighbors have placed items, such as cars, barbeques or even their trash cans over the property line onto your property for a continuous period of time, you could end up with the neighbors claiming issues against you because you didn’t ask them to take the items back to their side. So check your properties, and walk the property lines. If you are not sure of the line, review your survey or have a professional resurvey the lines. It will save you future headaches because generally, your tenants will not notify you of any issues.
5.) Make Sure You Don’t Overcharge Your Late Fees For Late Rent Payments
Rent Late fees are restricted under Section 92.019 Texas Property Code to 12 percent of the monthly rental amount, per month, for a single-family home. If you charge more than the statutory amount and have your tenant file a suit against you, you could be liable for $100.00 plus 3 times the amount of the overcharged fees.
Where to check or file for your DBA: https://direct.sos.state.tx.us/acct/acct-login.asp
Call Sprigg-Novak Law
Should any of these issues be of concern to you, the Sprigg-Novak Law Firm is here to assist landlords with their rental and tenant legal matters. Please call and set up a consultation at 214-216-1667.