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Making the Argument
The Hard Truth: Landlords- Beware: Locking Out Tenants Can be Costly
By Michelle Fulton
August 31, 2004
The information in this column is not intended as legal advice but to provide a general understanding of the law. Any readers with legal problems, including those whose questions are addressed here, should consult attorneys for advice on their particular circumstances.
Q: I am a property manager for an apartment complex, and recently we had a situation where we had to lock a tenant out of their apartment for non-payment of rent. Now, we are facing the possibility of being sued because apparently there is some procedure under Texas law that we have to follow before we can lock a tenant out. What is this procedure?
A: Yes, there is a procedure, and if Landlords do not follow it fully, they can be held liable in court for damages. Here is the procedure for a proper lock-out of a tenant for failure to pay all or part of the rent (all of these steps must be followed):
Bottom Line: Landlords and tenants alike should be aware of the law and abide by it, or it could be costly. Both parties have a duty to know their rights, their limitations, and their responsibilities and act accordingly- it makes for a great relationship!
Note: The above summation of the law comes from the Texas Property Code, Section 92.0081.
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