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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102584
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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I rented a home in Texas from a landlord Back in July 2015.

Customer Question

I rented a home in Texas from a landlord Back in July 2015. I purchased a home in February and he agreed to let me out of lease back in January (I had told him I was looking). Everything seemed fine and I even had new tenants moving in March 3rd, so he would not lose any revenue stream. Now he wants to keep my $4500 deposit AND charge me an additional $2300 for repairs. He is just trying to make more money claiming things that did not happen.
My question for the forum is this. I signed the contact on an e-sign format. After I signed the contact, the landlord altered the contract, initialed the changes, but never sent it to me for approval. Is the entire contact basically null and void now?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms. I am sorry to hear about this situation. You state " I signed the contact on an e-sign format." What contract? The original rental contract? Or the release? Or, something else? This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The original rental contract was signed via e-sign format. The release was approved via text message along with agreement to refund the deposit.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. The amended lease is null and void. BOTH parties had to initial the changes (actually what would have been best is to sign a new contract). Regardless, his arbitrary, one-sided changes are void since there was no meeting of the minds and thus, no contract amended. Prime Products, Inc. v. SSI PLASTICS, 97 SW 3d 631 - Tex: Court of Appeals 2002 (meeting of minds required element for contract). However the contract in its initial shape which you e-signed is valid. E-signing is valid in Texas under Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ch. 322. I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
One follow up question. He does not own the property. Tax records show the home is listed under another individual. The alteration he added to the contract was Brian Pruett "and/or assigns". (among a few other changes and alterations as well) Since the home is owned by another individual, how could he enter into a contract for the home?
If he could not, does this make the entire lease null and void? I tried adding the file, but it is too large.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
This depends on whether or not he even had a RIGHT to do so. The question becomes, did he have AGENCY to do so? Agency can be binding in three ways. They are:EXPRESS AGENCY - the agent has actual authority from the principal. Example is the power of attorney from above.IMPLIED AGENCY - the agent has implied authority from the principal. An example would be an director or officer of a company - while they are not expressly representing the company, it is implied they are, and anything they sign would be binding unto the company.APPARENT AGENCY - that there was apparent authority. Example is if you walked into a store, and asked how much an item is. A person who worked there told you $40 and rang you up for $40. Later you find out that the item was actually $150, and the employee did not even have the right to ring you up. Regardless, they had apparent authority to you, and the price quoted by the employee with the apparent agency is binding upon the business. If he has been assigned the deed/right to lease out and this has simply not been filed, then the contracts stands. If the actual owner never did give him the right to do so, then this all may be void. You'd want to check with the actual owner. Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question because you never responded or replied positively. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!