Can I deduct the amount of my security deposit from my last month's rent payment?
Your security deposit is not a part of your rent payments here in Austin. If you deduct the amount of your security deposit from your final rent check, you could be liable for the cost of a reletting fee and in addition, for the unpaid rent. You'll probably end up with a broken lease too. Bad idea!!!
I would like to know exactly when, how much, and how often a rental increase can be given on Apartments in Austin. Also, is there a ceiling on the amount of any given increase? If so, what is the highest amount?
Under the terms of the TAA lease, no rental increases can be given until the initial lease term has expired. After the lease has expired, an increase of any amount (the state of Texas has no rent control) can be given provided the resident has been served with a 35 day notice prior to the effective date of the new rental amount.
My apartment has been severely flooded and most of my personal belongings were damaged. The cause of the flood was through no fault of my own. Who is responsible for replacing all of my items that I lost?
The TAA apartment lease contains a clause which states that the owner will not be liable for any damages to the resident's personal belongings or to that person. Only if the disaster occurred due to the owner's own negligence will you have a cause of action. The lease strongly suggests that you secure insurance to protect yourself against any personal losses. Rental insurance is cheap...$10 or $15 bucks a month.
How much grace period must I be given before my rent is considered late?
The grace period allowed in the TAA apartment lease agreement does not refer to when the rent is actually due for Apartments in Austin, it simply refers to when the late charges will begin. The lease states that rent is due and payable on the 11St of each month. This means that rent is late and delinquent on the 2cd of the month, if not paid. How much grace period (if any) is given before late charges begin depends on the owner and what is stated in the lease contract. Typically rent is due no later than the third in most Austin apartments.
How long after I move out does the owner have to return my security deposit?
Assuming that you gave a forwarding address and did not owe any rent at the time you moved, the owner legally has to contact you in writing within 30 days about your deposit.
Can I withhold rent when maintenance repairs are not taken care of?
It is a state law, that a resident cannot withhold rent for needed repairs here in Austin. If you do withhold rent for non-repair, the owner has a right to evict you for non-payment of rent. Basically if your rent is current you act from a position of strength and can get things done.
Can I be locked out of my apartment for non-payment of rent?
The Texas Civil Statute, Section 92.0081 states that the landlord clearly has the right to change the door locks on an apartment unit, if the rent is delinquent. However, they have to first notify you at least three days before the locks are to be changed. After the lock-out the owner must leave notice where the key can be obtained 24 hours a day. They cannot deny you access to your apartment. Most folks don't know that.
Can I still be held liable for my lease if I am being transferred by my job?
Yes... Unless you have a transfer clause in your lease, you can be liable for the remainder of the rent through the end of your lease or until the apartment is rented to another occupant. Two rents cannot be collected for the same apartment, at the same time. Watch yourself here and stay on top of it, so you don't end up with a broken lease.
Can the manager take items from my apartment for non-payment of rent?
Section 54.041 of the Texas Civil Statute states that non-exempt items can be held providing that the clause is in the lease. It must also be either underlined or in bold print. If you have this clause in your lease, the management may seize property that is non-exempt by law and hold it until the rent is paid.
Can the management here in Austin enter my apartment when I am not at home?
Under the TAA Lease Contract, the apartment management and/or maintenance personnel do not have to wait until you are home to enter your apartment for:
Estimating repair costs
Retrieving unreturned tools or appliances
Removing or re-keying unauthorized security devices
Stopping excessive noise
Removing unauthorized pets
Retrieving property owned or leased by former residents
Entry by a law-enforcement officer with search or arrest warrant
Showing apartment to government inspectors, fire marshals, lenders, appraisers, prospective buyers or insurance agents. However, a notice of entry is to be left inside your apartment stating that they were inside your apartment and the reason why.
The world of property management is very sophisticated these days. TAA leases are ironclad and cover it all. I mean everything! That's why there the size of small books. Should you run into a problem you must follow the procedures to the letter of the law. Don't screw up here. "TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW." For more information the Austin Tenants Association web site for more detailed information.
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