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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Experience:  Attorney
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No lease, landlord needs to let inspector in to inspect premises,

Customer Question

no lease, landlord needs to let inspector in to inspect premises, what can landlord do if tenant locks door and leaves knowing inspector is coming or refuses inspector entry?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
What state are you in?
Is this a move-out inspection? If not, what's the purpose? How much notice was the tenant given?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Texas. Landlord owns and lives in duplex. Landlord is selling duplex. Tenant was notified building would be put on market. Tenant has been updated daily of progress of sale. Closing on sale set for June 26. Inspector scheduled to inspect Friday June 5 at 5p.m. We anticipate tenant will just lock door and not let inspector in or lock door and leave. Landlord is old lady and soft hearted and has refused to evict because wants everyone to get along.there is severe subfloor damage which must be repaired. Tenant is likely to not let workers in to do repair work.Tenant wants sale to fall thru because Landlord has refused to buy tenant a mobile home to live in from the proceeds of the sale when she buys her mobile home. Landlord won't have enough money to do this and shouldn't have to. Tenant is not related but had been married to previous tenant who was friend of landlord. he moved in when friend moved out years ago.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Tenant was told of sale of house the day offer was received and accepted May 21st. Tenant was told on that date inspector would have to be allowed in to do inspection by June 5 per sale contract. Tenant has been encouraged daily to move as much of his possessions out as possible before June 5 for the inspection. Tenant was told at first he had until day before closing to get everything out. Closing date June 26th. Tenant was told he would be updated immediately of any changes. realtor told landlord tenant must be out by June 10th. This was relayed to tenant immediately. Landlord's son and daughter in law have offered to help tenant move possessions into storage unit he has. tenant won't accept help thinking he can stop sale of duplex and stay. If sale doesn't go thru landlord will lose what small amount of equity she has due to forecloure and delinquent taxes and then have no place to live except with son and daughter in law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
There's no legal, moral, or logical reason for the tenant to buy the tenant a mobile home.
With that said, there is unfortunately nothing in Texas law that requires a tenant to allow a landlord to enter the leased premises during the tenancy. An oral agreement that a person will live in a property IS a lease, and it gives the tenant the right to exclusive use and possession of the property. Unless the tenant has requested these repairs, or it's an emergency, they don't have to let the landlord in.
The only way to get in over the tenant's objection is to get a court order. To get a court order, the landlord would have to file a lawsuit establishing the need for the entry and that the tenant unreasonably refused to allow entry to have the inspection done so repairs could be made. So it may be better to try to work something out in advance and get permission. If the tenant agrees to the entry, then the landlord can use their key to unlock the door and go in once the inspector arrives. The tenant doesn't have to be there (and really, it may be better if they're not).
You should also know that selling the property DOES NOT terminate the oral lease agreement. The tenant is a month-to-month tenant who does not have to move out unless or until someone gives him a 30 day notice. Tex. Prop. Code, Section 91.001.
If the tenant hasn't been given a written notice to vacate, the landlord may want to see if the closing can be extended or talk to the tenant and see if there is any way to reach a resolution that's acceptable to everyone. Saying "We're selling the property" isn't notice that the tenant has to leave, because selling the property doesn't affect the tenant's legal right to live there. An oral notice given by the realtor after May 21 asking the tenant to be out by June 10 is ineffective - it has no legal weight.
I'm not even beginning to suggest that the landlord should buy the tenant a mobile home, because that's ridiculous, but they may want to do some negotiating.
If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We have tried everything to get this to go thru in a pleasant manner. Tenant was told he had to make his area available for inspection by landlord, not realtor but was done upon realtor's suggestion. Tenant has been told in writing his month to month will not be renewed on the 10th. When told in writing he must be out, landlord would not let us do an eviction notice so we had to do it in the form of a letter. We have tried to keep tenant updated daily and have offered to help him as much as possible. I even found a place with a vacancy by taking advantage of a friend with an in to that complex.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
If the tenant got a 30 day notice for the 10th, it may be better to schedule the inspection for the 11th. That way, you can at least let him know that if he's not out, he'll be responsible for paying the inspector for coming out for no reason. That might be something to talk to the buyer about.
But I'm sorry to say, he is not legally required to make the place available for inspection during his tenancy. There's nothing in Texas law that says that, and without a written lease, there's no lease provision to hold him to.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Tenant has been caught on video stealing from the business which backs up to the property. He has also been caught on video stealing from business across street from property. Landlord feels he has come into her home and taken tools. She doesn't want to cause him any problems.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
The landlord can report the tenant to the police for theft, and may be able to sue him for the cost of stolen items. But that doesn't have any legal bearing on the inspection issue, unless she's willing to agree NOT to sue him if he cooperates.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Tenant is judgment proof.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I'm sorry to hear that. She could still press criminal charges. Not as a means of getting him out of the property, but because theft is a crime.
But if the landlord enters the property over the tenant's objection, she can get sued. And based on everything you've said about this tenant, I have little doubt that she will be sued.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Landlord doesn't want to cause tenant any more problems than he already has.
realtor says inspection cannot be set back.
Tenant wasn't given 30 day notice because we didn't have K for sale. Duplex wasn't listed until May 18th. I have been told previous to this he can be given 3 day notice to vacate.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he might if he had the money to hire a lawyer. Landlord is judgment proof until she get sale proceeds. She intends to turn money over into purchase of mobile home within a matter of days of receipt of the proceeds.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is lawsuit is only remedy for tenant? What are his damages if nothing of his is broken, damaged or removed from the premises?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
A person is not required to hire a lawyer to sue - they can go to small claims court and file a lawsuit for up to $10,000. A tenant who is unlawfully evicted from a property can actually get a court order allowing them back in, plus attorney's fees. And then you start all over, but the closing date is even nearer and it's bigger mess for the landlord.
I wish you'd been more clear about the notice earlier. We're right back where we started - the notice to vacate is invalid. A three day notice is only allowed if the tenant is in violation of the lease (which, in this case, would have to mean that rent is not paid). A three day notice is always a correctable violation.
The tenant does not have to leave. The landlord's desire not to cause problems gives the tenant all the power. I can tell you what the law is, and I can explain what options there may or may not be, but I can't make someone decide to take action to help themselves. And that's what needs to happen here. The landlord has to make a choice - to either let the tenant ruin the sale or try to discuss it with him. To hold the tenant accountable for theft by reporting it or letting him go on to steal from other people in the future. Those are things I can't decide for you.
I have to step away for a bit. If you have any more questions, I can answer them when I return.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are these violations of lease?
1. Tenant told to remove the his possessions last October from where they are laying around in the backyard making it impossible to move portions of the yard. Now area is rodent infested.2. Tenant was given until January 1, 2015 to remove these possessions.3. Tenant was told in February to clean up his kitchen area so landlord could have exterminator come in and deal with the infestation of roaches which had by then moved into the other portions of the building and was adversely affecting other residents.None of these were in writing.Landlord is an old woman who expects everyone to just get along. tenant is selfish and a thief. He has taken advantage or her for years. We have only been here and able to help her for the last couple of years. but she won't let us be aggressive. She won't let us help her.I understand you will be away for a while. Thank you for your help.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
The tenant is generally responsible for keeping the premises clean and free of trash/rodents. She could give him a three day notice to clean up the property or leave. The main issue though is that, if he does that, then he gets to save. She really does need to extend the closing so she can get him a valid 30 day notice.

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