Residential Landlord Tenant Lawyers
Protecting Your Interests
Cases We Handle:
- Wrongful lockout
- Repair disputes
- Security deposit disputes
- Lease Disputes and Litigation
- Lease termination issues
- Lease transfer between new and old owner issues
- Pet violation issues
- Landlord defense against personal injury claims
This includes situations where the lease has been (allegedly) breached by non-payment of rent or a violation of the rules, the lease has expired and the tenant is holding over, there is no lease and someone is living in the property without authorization, or even a post-foreclosure situation where the former homeowner refuses to leave. We offer property owners the skillset and experience to handle all of these scenarios. For tenants, when we agree to handle these cases, we offer experience defending against failure by the landlord to comply with the lease, the Texas Property Code, or the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Representation ranges from case initiation in the Justice of the Peace Court through appeal to the County Courts at Law and to the Texas Courts of Appeals.
This situation primarily involves representing tenants whose landlords are either unfamiliar with the limitations of their rights to self-help under the Texas Property Code. In terms of representing landlords, we do our best to counsel clients to avoid this pitfall as taking such action without complying with the Texas Property Code can result in statutory penalties and awards of court costs and attorneys’ fees against them. Our familiarity with the procedures and statutory requirements allow us to fix a mistake by a landlord or help the landlord avoid making a costly one.
Residential Landlord Repair Disputes
Whether it is the landlord responding to a tenant’s repeated requests for repairs or counseling tenants on their rights and remedies when their landlord fails to respond, we have the experience and knowledge to help either side. The variety of remedies afforded to the tenants are offsets by the requirements which most tenants miss. We have the experience to counsel landlords on their options to avoid an unfavorable ruling in Court and handle tenants whose complaints are merely a ruse to break their lease early. We also can help tenants get the full relief they are entitled to, including recovery of their security deposit when they are left with no option but to terminate their lease in the face of a complete failure to get repairs made.
Security Deposit Disputes
Like repair disputes, the rules are complicated and our experience serves both landlords facing lawsuits by tenants who think they are entitled to full refunds or tenants who are victimized by improper deductions. Representation can range from a simple letter responding to a misunderstanding by a former tenant about the deductions from their deposit to filing a counterclaim on behalf of the landlord in response to lawsuit alleging bad-faith retention of the deposit. For tenants, we have experience in prosecuting suits against former landlords to recover what they are entitled to under the Texas Property Code.
Lease Disputes and Litigation
Not every lease dispute leads to eviction or involves security deposits. When a tenant leaves a property with damage or other deductions that exceed the security deposit, landlords need to pursue litigation to enforce the contract. When there is a lease contract guaranty, it becomes necessary to pursue the tenant and their guarantor. When the tenant is sued by their former landlord for breach of the lease, they may need representation to defend their rights. These suits often involve extensive discovery to uncover the facts. Merely showing up in court is not enough and our knowledge of the rules, the statutes and the litigation process allows us the protect the financial interests of our clients.
Lease Termination Issues
Sometimes, the parties disagree on when the lease is going to end or there is a need to terminate it for reasons other than a simple breach or a maintenance problem. We have counseled landlords needing guidance with ending leases because of unforeseen circumstances ranging from a need to liquidate assets in connection with a divorce to damage caused by negligent HVAC repairs that prevent the tenants from finishing their lease. Familiarity with the law and the most common lease contracts used in Texas gives us the ability to help landlords and tenants resolve at least a subset of the challenges they face with unforeseen circumstances arise.
Lease Transfer Between New and Old Owner Issues
We offer counseling to those selling their properties still under lease to current tenants and to those purchasing properties and assuming the role of landlord. The office provides lease contract review and sales contract review to ensure that the transition is smooth for all involved. On occasion, we represent tenants who may be facing the prospect of eviction by a landlord attempting to sell the property out from under them and without regard for their rights.
Pet Violation Issues
Often related to eviction and security deposit cases, we have experience dealing with problems that arise in connection with pets, both authorized and undisclosed. Landlords may not know their obligations under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when tenants claim they have “service animals.” The increase in questionable assertions of “emotional support animals” and “service animals” requires representation by those who know what are legitimate claims and which are fraudulent.
Landlord Defense Against Personal Injury Claims
Accidents happen at leased properties and landlords need representation who can quickly identify their level of liability. Where the accident happens can make all the difference. Tenants are often represented by experienced attorneys well versed in the rules of procedure and mechanisms that can prove to be traps for the unwary. From slip-and-falls to objects falling dog bites by a tenant’s pet, we have the experience and knowledge of case law and procedure to defend against such claims and minimize costs doing so.