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I have a small matter that other attorneys aren't interested…

Customer Question
I have a small...

I have a small matter that other attorneys aren't interested in looking at. Since Hurricane Harvey only half the house I'm renting has been livable, and repairs are still unfinished. The owner has been nice, offering rent reduction, but his realtor doesn't want to do things by the book. Long story short, she returned my last rent check with a hand-written, signed letter telling me to keep it, and I want to be sure it meets the Texas Property Code so I don't get set up for an eviction. I have always sent my rent in full and on time, including at this residence, and this is new to me.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Texas.

Lawyer's Assistant: Has any paperwork been filed?

All I have is the lease, her handwritten letter, and her texts to my flip phone. She claims that this kind of thing can be done by email!

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Yes, I really haven't been concerned about money, but about the lockbox on the front door and uncouth subcontractors coming in and out as they please. They've used my tools without telling me, dented my brand new dryer, and stood me up a half dozen times when I waited for them. I've got most of my possessions in storage so they won't get stolen -- another hassle and expense.

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 9 minutes by:
12/22/2017
Real Estate Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 6 months ago
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 125,823
Experience: Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
Verified

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only. Please feel free to ignore any phone service request, the expert does not send those unless asked by customer and they are sent by the site automatically.

If your house is not habitable, then the landlord should be reducing/forgiving rent or paying for you to go elsewhere and live. As far as returning your rental check, you need to deal with the landlord directly and you need to ask him to give it to you in writing because his real estate agent returned your reduced rent check you sent him. Chances are the owner did not know that his agent did this. If her agent does not know about the deal, they could try to evict you and that would mean having to prove in court the owner made the deal with you. This could be done by email if she agrees in an email to reduce your rent or agrees you should not pay rent, but just the agent sending your check back saying to keep it does not say anything at all about the deal.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

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Category: Real Estate Law
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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