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Personal property, past-due rent and liens

A commercial real estate owner in Houston who leases the property to a local company may find that being a landlord is a profitable business in itself. However, the stream of income depends on the integrity of the renter. Therefore, when he or she fails to meet the obligations of the lease, the situation has the potential to create a financial hardship for the property owner, particularly when there is still a balance owed on a mortgage for the property. Landlords in Texas do have legal recourse, but if the situation is not handled correctly, it may create circumstances that allow the tenant to file a lawsuit and win.

The Houston Chronicle notes that a commercial landlord must provide formal notification to the tenant before beginning the eviction process in the court system. In some states, the landlord may remove personal property left in the building after the property is abandoned, but this must be returned to its owner whenever he or she comes to claim it. In Texas, though, the lessee’s personal property may be confiscated and kept until the debt is paid because the state allows liens to be included in the lease agreement.

The Texas property code statutes explain that the landlord must file a lien statement that includes the lease dates, an itemized account of unpaid rent, a description of the property and the name of the lessee. Then, the landlord has the right to enforce the lien on any rent over six months late. A distress warrant may be an option for a landlord if he or she is aware that the tenant plans to remove personal property from or abandon the building when rent is owed.

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