Triple check your lease and communicate on all fronts

The city of Stephenville, TX. is commonly referred to as a “college town” as a lot of renters living here, who aren’t native to this quiet small town. Most of the students living here are renters, and with December graduation right around the corner, many of us will have to end our limited stay in this lovely town. Whether you’re leaving now or later, it’s important to remember when renting the terms of your lease, as leases are important documents that protect both you and the individual or company you’re renting from. Before you start packing you bags it’s important to consult your lease and see what steps you have to complete before you can hit the road. Violating your lease can leave you in some trouble and on the flip side, if the person your renting from violates the lease in any way, it’s important to know, so if you have to follow through with the appropriate legal action. Some places, such as Creekside Townhomes, have requirements in their lease that tenants must complete before moving out. One of the requirements in Creekside’s lease it that all carpet must be steam cleaned after residents have been moved out. In the lease it is listed that you can either pay Creekside to do this, or you can pay to do it yourself, however, failure to steam the carpets will result in a fee. Another requirement for renters, moving out of Creekside, is that residents must either fill all the holes in the wall or be charge a fee for each hole. Other companies or land lords can have different requirements in their leases, as well as similar ones. An example of this is that in one of Hayden Real Estate’s lease for Triple T Townhome, it is stated that residence are responsible for giving proper notice of vacation 30 days prior or their lease automatically renews. Many places in Stephenville have this requirement in their lease, so it’s important you know when you need to give your 30 day notice otherwise you could end up paying an extra month of rent. It’s important to remember that some places, such as the Campus Inn apartments, require a 30-day notice from the time you plan on moving out, while other places, such as Triple T Townhomes and Creekside require a 30 day to 60 day notice, from the day the original lease was signed. This means if you signed on Sept. 21, then you would have to give your notice 30 days from the 21st of the month prior to the month you plan on moving out. Knowing the conditions of your lease is an important part of renting. Along with knowing your lease it is important to know your rights as a renter. Many people believe that since the Landlord owns the property that you live on, they get the final say, in regards to the property, however, and there are many State and Federal protections that pertain to renters. Texas provides protections to renter’s rights to peace and quiet, health and safety and security devices. The right to peace and quiet protects a renter’s right to “quiet enjoyment” which means a landlord cannot evict you without cause or disturb your right to live in peace and quiet. The right to health and safety means that your landlord is responsible for making your space livable in a way that does not impact your health or safety. You have a right to demand that your landlord repair any condition that affects your physical health or safety. This does not apply to damages you, your guest or another lawful occupant caused, unless the damages ware due to “normal wear and tear.” The right to security devices refers to anything that keeps a home safe and secure. This means you have a right to have things such as window latches, keyed dead bolts on exterior doors, sliding door pin locks and sliding door handle latches or sliding door security bars, and door viewers. These devices must be installed at the landlord’s expense and if these devices are missing or are defective, you have the right to request their installation or repair at the potential expense of the landlord. It is important to remember that these rights previously listed are the renter’s rights for Texas, and some rights might not pertain to different States. Knowing you renter’s rights, no matter what State you’re in, is extremely important. More information about Texas’s renter’s rights can be found at, consumer-protection/homereal-estate-and-travel/rentersrights or at www.guides.sll.texas. gov/landlord-tenant-law.