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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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I have leased a townhome since 12/1/2011 and have paid my

Customer Question

I have leased a townhome since 12/1/2011 and have paid my rent on time every month. July 1, 2015 I received a certified letter from my landlord saying he was putting the unit on the market and I could buy it for $5,000 below fair market and if I choose not to buy I would have to vacate by 9/30 I signed a lease and we renewed the first 2 years but then he just said we would do month to month. The problem is a was in a horrific car/semi accident 4/23/15 and haven't been able to work since then so its a little hard to buy when I am not working. I started to draw early social security Im 63 but that is not enough for the bank. I called my lawyer that is handling the accident lawsuit and told her we needed to get a quick settlement so I could buy this place because I don't want to move and physically can't I can't per Dr.s orders lift anything over 5 lbs My lawyer said we can't settle till im done with all my physical therapy that I have to go for 3 times a week and surgery ( if I decide to have it on my fractured tailbone that requires 6 week recovery. I told my landlord that I would sign a document stating that I would buy the unit when I get my settlement and I even offered to carry a homewarranty on the property and pay the premiums and deductibles if anything broke he said if I couldn't buy it to find an investor that would buy it and then I could continue to rent . I have been desparetly trying just that and I found an investor that owns 4 of the townshomes on the same street and he made an offer based on all the homework I did gathering all the comps of recent sales I called the landlord to give him the CASH QUICK CLOSE in WEEK OFFER and he said call his realtor... I said realtor why would you get a realtor . I called his realtor and gave her the offer along with the 4 comps and a letter stating the reasons of how we came to the offer price the offer was $137,000 and he wanted $150,000 which was overpriced compared to the comps . His realtor said he said no I don't trust that she gave him the comps and list of reasons. I have been trying daily contacting several investors and to date no luck because he is standing firm on his overprice. TODAY I got a certified letter reminding me I had to be out by 9/30 and if I didn't vacate legal action could be taken against me. Isn't there any kind of law that protects me as a tenant when I have medical reason that keep me from moving . I have extreme diagnosed and confirmed PTSD I can't and won't drive on the interstates which makes it extremely hard to get around in Houston Tx. I have lost my $1,000 week nighttime nanny job for twins because of my PTSD and weight limitations and now my lawyer finally got me schedule with the specialist to treat it and it is a 2 1/2 day appointment and I have to stay in a hotel close by and the time I need to go to Dr.s and physical therapy appointments I don't have time to pack and CAN"T and I don't have the funds to pay for professional movers and I don't have any place to move to. I called on many rental houses in my area but they are all much more then my current rent and I was told by the realtors that I would not qualify with my limited income. What do you suggest and what are my rights. Thank you for your time
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

I am very sorry to learn of your situation. Unfortunately, your landlord has a right both to terminate your lease with 30 days notice (see: http://texastenant.org/termination.html), and to set the sale price on the unit for whatever amount he believes appropriate.

If you need help finding housing, please contact the Houston Housing Authority: http://www.housingforhouston.com/. They can assist you in finding a new home (even if it is only temporary pending the resolution of your current litigation - that way you are not forced into a compromised negotiating position). They will also have resources to assist you with relocation (moving costs). You may be able to even negotiate these costs with your landlord (although they are not required to do so).

If you need more time, you can try getting an extension from your landlord (but once again, he is not required to give you one, so don't count on it), and if he does give you one, make sure to get it in writing.

If you fail to leave by the notice date (or by any extension), your landlord can file an eviction action. (Right now your lease has simply been terminated - this is a "no fault" termination, and does not affect your rental history, if you fail to leave, the landlord will be forced to evict you, and this will negatively affect your rental history, making it more difficult to find a rental in the future).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You did not address the issue of my inability to move at this time because of my medical condition I don't believe any judge would rule in his favor if he tried to evict me I pay my rent and have never been late . What are the laws in TEXAS that protect the tenant?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

  • You have not been 'evicted' your lease has been terminated. I understand the effect may appear the same, but legally this is very different. A lease termination is simply the landlord telling you (or you telling the landlord) that the lease is over and that you no longer wish to continue the contract, there is "no fault" for either side, and there is no negative record on your rental history. If you fail to vacate the unit and the landlord has to file a "forcible entry and detainer" ("eviction action") with the courts, then there will be an "eviction" and there will be a negative report on your rental record.
  • Please understand I say this with all due respect (and I do not mean your disability is "irrelevant" in general). Your disability is irrelevant for the purposes of evaluating your legal position. The landlord does not have any obligation to extend your lease due to your disability, and while it may be possible in some circumstances to get a brief (read 1-3 weeks) continuance on a writ of eviction (the sheriff's forcible eviction that occurs after a judgment of possession in a forcible entry and detainer), based on a disability, the standard you must show is extremely high - it is one where the disabled tenant or occupant is unable to move due to an unforeseen or extenuating circumstance that can lead to irreversible harm or death.
  • (In your position your landlord is giving you over a month's notice of the notice to vacate, if you fail to vacate and the landlord is forced to go through the forcible entry and detainer lawsuit (and you defend the action) you can get another 4-8 weeks before the sheriff shows up at your home to forcibly remove you. If you show up in court and ask for another extension based on your disability, you may be able to add another 1-3 weeks onto that time (but don't rely on that, remember this is "extraordinary relief").

"Eviction" is a word that is often misused and it leads to a lot of confusion, to help, here are the steps in terminating a tenancy:

Terminating a tenancy-

1) Notice: The first step in any termination is giving notice, the landlord can simply give notice that they no longer want the tenant to live there (this is usually 30 days, or 60 days, and it can be done for no reason whatsoever, there is no fault, and while the tenant must relocate, they are not being "evicted" and there is no blemish on their rental history), they can give a "notice to pay or quit" (usually 3 day or 5 day depending on the state, and the tenant has this amount of time to pay rent that they missed or move out), "notice to "cure or quit" (the tenant has breached the lease - broken something, noisy, etc. and must stop it or fix it within the notice period, again 3 days, 5 days, or 10 days), or a "notice to quit" (this is a 3 day or 5 day notice that says the tenant has messed up so badly they can do nothing but move out within the notice period - there is no chance to "cure" - this often happens when there is illegal activity on the property).

2) Unlawful detainer/forcible entry and detainer (this is the legal proceeding where the landlord goes to court and sues the tenant to get possession - the tenant has an opportunity to appear and defend the action, common defenses include improper notice, breach of the lease (such as failure to maintain the property - "inhabitable conditions"). If the tenant answers the complaint, the parties can take "discovery" from one another and get additional information before a court trial before a judge.

3) A judgment of possession/writ of eviction - if the landlord wins the trial, they get a judgment of possession and the court will issue a "writ of eviction."

4) Forcible eviction - this happens when the Sheriff or Constable serves the writ of eviction - some jurisdictions give a courtesy notice the day or two before the eviction, others do not, but the end result is the sheriff overseeing the landlord's movers removing all of the tenant's possessions from the property and placing them on the curb, and the tenants are forcibly removed from the property. At that point, the landlord can change the locks and the tenant can no longer return (They have been "evicted").

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