THE ABCs OF LEASE TERMINATION
Once someone signs your lease, you as landlord are legally bound to follow the rules and regulations as much as your new tenant. You should also know that state and federal laws further govern how and under what circumstances you may terminate that lease.
Generally speaking, though, most states including Texas allow a landlord to terminate a lease or rental agreement if the tenant:
- fails to pay rent
- violates a clause in the lease or rental agreement, such as a no-pet or subleasing without permission clause
- violates a responsibility imposed by law, such as causing serious damage to appliances or the property, participating in illegal activity, or interfering with other tenants’ peaceful enjoyment of the property
If you find you must terminate a lease or rental agreement, you must send the tenant a notice of termination. If the tenant continues to remain in the rental unit after receiving a termination notice, only then can you file an eviction lawsuit.
Eviction itself involves the court-ordered physical removal of the tenant and his or her property with the assistance of the police. To begin the actual process, you must first must file a complaint with the court and wait for the tenant’s answer. If the court rules in your favor, then you will be legally entitled to repossess the property. If the tenant refuses to leave after receiving the notice of eviction, then you have the right to ask that a law enforcement officer forcibly remove the tenant.
By contrast, if a tenant illegally breaks your lease without a legally protected reason, then you have the right to sue for damages. But you must mitigate damages by making a reasonable attempt to re-rent the unit. If you find that you incur damages beyond what remains from the tenant’s security deposit, then you may sue the tenant for:
- the time the unit remained vacant
- the cost to find a new tenant
- attorney fees, if provided for in the lease agreement
The legalities of being a landlord are complex. Often, they require more time than busy landlords like you can afford to invest in understanding them. That’s where Herman Boswell can help. Our property management professionals are schooled in every aspect of landlording, including the legal ins and outs associated with it. For the real estate savvy more North Texans trust, contact us today!