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I need you to be a little more specific in your question(s) if you could. When we answer general ones we have to give general answers and, invariably, the customer responds with "I already knew that". This type of forum works better if you ask specific questions so we know exactly what you are looking for.
This man is threatening to evict me because I am late with what he is now calling "rent". He lost the law suit to the other man in question by the way. My question I guess is can he continue charging me these outrageous late fees and get by with it? Can he evict me and then I end up losing all the money I have paid including my $9,500 down payment and taxes I have paid on the house?
What legal recourse do I actually have?
Is there a maximum he can charge me for late fees when I am supposedly buying the house from him?
Ok sorry, I thought you had left me.
Why did you issue a bad service rating?
I thought that was the only answer I would receive.
You can override that by issuing a positive rating later.
I still have a couple of questions.
Ok, I will do that no problem.
DO you have the original contract?
No, unfortunately I trusted that man.
But I do have proof of $7,500 that I paid down as well as proof I paid taxes for two years
You have a couple of problems. The main one is that you can't have a contract to buy land that is not in writing.
I also made sure to put on every check that this was ??month's house payment. And later as he began charging me huge late fees I added that to check memo
The part about the late fees was in writing though?
What you are probably going to have to do is sue him for the down payment and the taxes you paid.
But isn't there some kind of law that says what is too much
There is a law stating that an interest rate can't be above a certain percent. It is known as usury. However, the same thing doesn't apply to late fees.
Let me check something real quick. Wait here in char.
The Texas Legislature has placed a limit on late fees but it is not specific: a landlord can only charge a late fee so long as it is a "reasonable estimate of uncertain damages to the landlord that are incapable of precise calculation that result from late payment of rent". Section 92.019, Property Code.
So there is a limit, but it isn't a specific number.
Do you think 300 to 500 is unreasonable
And even though I don't have a contract I kind of have proof I was buying the house don't I?
I think that is unreasonable and I think a court would as well.
It would be very, very hard for him to use that statutory language to show that was a reasonable amount.
As to buying the house, you have proof that you were trying to but you can't enforce that so you would have to sue to get him to pay you back that amount plus the taxes, etc.
My house payment is 3 weeks late because I had to pay him so much last month, and he is demanding the house payment with the late fees or he is going to evict me. I have 5 children, and I'm in nursing school. I am so scared and don't know what to do.
The lease that has the late fee in it, does it have any language in it about buying the house?
It states that at the end of each lease period that I have the option to buy the house for a set amount, but he hasn't renewed that lease since it began. I think the amount was $54,000.00.
He was supposed to change the buy amount each time.
Is the lease period defined? Also, does it address the amount that you have paid anywhere?
The lease period was defined and as I stated he hasn't renewed it. I think it was supposed to be renewed in writing March 2012. No, it doesn't state how much I paid.
I paid the down payment by a cashier's check for $5000.00, a personal check for $2,500.00, and gave him $2000.00 cash which he never gave me a receipt for.
You are going to have to hire a local lawyer to get involved. I think you have a good argument that you can't really be evicted, you have to be foreclosed on and also that he exceeded the late fees he was allowed to charge.
I paid the taxes by personal check directly to the tax assessor's office.
The problem is that it is going to be complicated legal argument
because you really don't have a sales contract.
But there is an option to buy clause, you have made steps to buy, and he has also violated the law.
Should I continue paying my house payment minus the late fees until I can find an attorney?
Yes, you should, but look for a lawyer ASAP. Most of the local ones will work with you on something like this.
What type of lawyer should I look for, and do they require money up front?
Some will require up front, some will require part up front and some later, etc.
However, I think they can probably back this guy off without having to sue and probably get something worked out where you come out ahead.
The landlord faces some penalties for overcharging you.
But you are in better shape than most people would be.
Thank you so much for your help. I considered not paying him any more money and then telling the judge what was going on. At this point I really would like to get my down payment, the taxes I have paid and the outrageous fees he's been charging me back. Then just find some other place to live.
You may very well be able to do that plus your attorney's fees.
He is obviously doing things underhanded.
I am a 53 year old grandmother raising 5 grandchildren and trying to better our lives, but this jerk has soaked me to where I am about to have my utilities cut off and have to quit nursing school.
How do I override my rating and change it to Excellent?
You should still have smiley faces or something like that in the same place you rated before.
Ok, I see them. Again thank you,
You're very welcome.