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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 28418
Experience:  JA Mentor
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I have payed all my bills on time I have payed all my rent

Customer Question

Hello my name is ***** ***** I have payed all my bills on time I have payed all my rent on time my landlord told me I could rent until I graduate and get placed with a firm no later than September and today I got a threatening text from my land lord that I need to vacate by May 1. I am a single mom a full time collage student and only work part time. I cannot afford a lawyer but I need help what can I do? Do I have rights?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Hi Amber,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

Do you have a written lease for a set term? If not, do you have anything in writing where the landlord agreed to let you stay until September?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I do not have a lease contract. I only have a verbal contract and text messages between my landlord and myself. And there's no specific date ever stated that I had to be out of the house. The very first conversation and text message between us about my leasing from them has only stated after I graduate and started a new job from earning my degree. What we have talked about in person was that I couldn't move until June at the earliest.... Also, depending on if and when I'm placed in a new firm.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

If he said to vacate by May 1, that means April 30 is the last day you're allowed to be in the house. Without a written contract, what you have is a month-to-month lease, which means that either of you can terminate at any time on 30 days notice. Tex. Prop. Code, Section 91.001. Your right is to be given that notice. The statute unfortunately doesn't require that notice be in writing or mailed, so a text will meet the requirements.

This is true even if you'd discussed staying longer, unless you could prove that you had an agreement that you'd stay. You can use text messages as proof that you have a binding agreement, but they have to show a meeting of the minds. If you stay past May 1 and he sues for eviction, you'd have the burden of proving an agreement that you could stay longer.

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Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I added a few screenshots of our conversation in January of this year where she stated that our agreement was I don't have to move until after I graduate. Is this considered binding agreement?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

That would be binding as long as you're paying rent for the right to stay there. However, you may also need to produce some evidence showing you told them when graduation would be.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
ma'am. I am. And I have text messages of the amount owed and agreed to pay and I have made every payment and on time.
Does she still have to legally evict me before I move? I cannot and Do not have the ability or the financial means to move until after May first. My graduation is May 7th and I need at least a week after that to pack and move.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

It's illegal for them to change the locks or turn off the utilities to get you to leave. They have to get a court order, which can take a few weeks.