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New law changes landlord requirements in Texas

There are many benefits to owning rental properties, whether residential or commercial real estate. Landlords have multiple cash streams, which can prevent financial catastrophes. There are also a number of tax deductions that landlords enjoy. At the same time, properties typically appreciate and help to build long-term wealth. For many landlords in the Houston area, the biggest perk of owning rental properties is the fact that they can be their own boss; the flipside of being the boss, however, is that you can be held legally responsible if a tenant pursues legal action over contract or other rental related real estate disputes –even if you have hired a property management company to handle the day-to-day tasks.

Senate Bill 630, which went into effect as a law on January 1, offers more legal protection to tenants. O the past Texas landlords were not required by law to give tenants a copy of their lease. That changed with the law went into effect, however. Tenants are now entitled to a full copy of their rental or lease agreements upon request. Additionally, the law protects tenants from eviction or any other type of retaliation if they work with other tenants to get landlords to fix problems with the property. While landlords are required to address problems that are a threat to the health or safety of their tenants, the new law still does not specify exactly what is considered a threat.

Landlords who face litigation from tenants over the condition of their rental properties may want to consult with an attorney regarding their legal rights. An attorney can also help negotiate management agreements that will maximize profits and minimize responsibilities, or even draft a purchase agreement for a new property.

Source: statesman.com, “Tenant protections take effect Wednesday,” Dave Harmon, Dec. 30, 2013

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