Archive | March, 2014

New Texas Law Could Create Headache for Landlords

13 Mar

A Rental Realities first – today’s guest blogger is my husband, Corey! He is a frequent participant of our rental hijinks, antics, and tomfoolery.

Whatdaya mean my lease is unenforceable?
Beginning January 1, 2014, Texas landlords have a new hurdle in enforcing their rights under a written lease: proving they provided a copy to their tenants. The new law requires that within 3 business days of signing a lease, a tenant must be provided a copy by their landlord.

residential lease

What happens if you don’t do this? 
For starters, you won’t be able to evict a tenant for any reason other than non-payment of rent. The statute also allows a tenant to stop a lawsuit until the tenant has been provided a signed copy of the lease. In such an event, a judge would almost assuredly reset your court date – creating loss of time and rent that could have easily been avoided.

What should you do about this? 
Create documentation to prove that you provided a copy of the lease to your tenant. The statute permits this to occur three ways:

  1. Via a paper copy
  2. In an electronic format if the tenant requests it that way
  3. By email if you and your tenant have communicated by email about the lease.

I would suggest that you handle this situation by having your tenants sign a form at the time they sign their lease indicating that they received a copy (example letter below).


I __________________(insert Tenant’s name) acknowledge that I have received a true and correct copy of _________________ (insert title used for your lease) as of the ___ day of ________________, 20XX.

(Insert Tenant’s name and have them sign above)

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Investment Property Goals for 2014 – Staying the Course

3 Mar

(photo by paraflyer)

I’ve been distracted by tax paperwork lately, but I did want to outline our 2014 plans before too much more of the year has passed:

  • Double Down on Property Management – we’ve been very pleased with our management company experience thus far, and I’m looking forward to consolidating both locations under one company. While the property management company handles the day-to-day demands and rent collection, I’m still very involved in the bookkeeping and make ready work.
  • An Ounce of Prevention – last year a tenant was unhappy that we deducted their neighbor’s security deposit (the garage walls, ceiling, floor – all painted pink). As a result they have stopped reporting repairs, and subsequent communications have been cold or hostile. I’ve been dreading the drama and hassle, but the lease is ending and we’ve decided not to renew. Bonus: that unit is currently $85/month under market rent, so we should realize a small income bump for our troubles.
  • Leverage Discounted Gift Cards – I want to experiment with a new cost-savings strategy. Maybe for the entire year, or perhaps just during vacancies (we have a tenant moving to another city soon). We’ll see how it goes, and I’ll detail the results afterwards.
  • Purchase our 3rd Property – we’re actively saving our 3rd down payment (36% to goal currently), with the intent to purchase another investment property later this year. This purchase will be unique because (1) it will probably be a single-family home instead of a duplex and (2) we’re planning to occupy the property for at least the first few years. Finding a property that suites our personal and investment wants/needs could be a challenge.
  • More Blog Posts! – I published 24 posts in 2013, so I’ll aim for at least 25 this year (I know, big stretch). The tenant communications category is a crowd pleaser, so I’ll try to incorporate more example letters when I can.

Nothing too glamorous, but I just have to remind myself that slow and steady progress is still progress!

I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the years’.  –Henry Moore

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