In Texas, a residential landlord possesses a lien on the renterís property for overdue rent. The lien is known simply as the landlordís lien and it is contained in Texas Property Code ß 54.041. This statutory landlordís lien does not need a written lease to be valid. It exists even when the lease is simply a oral understanding. The lien attaches to any personal possessions of the renter that is actually in the residence.
Texas Landlord Rights - Exempt Property
Much like almost all liens in Texas, you can find exemptions for the landlordís lien. Section 54.042 of the Texas Property Code specifically provides the things which are exempt from the lien. They are:
2. Tools and books associated with a trade or profession;
4. A family library;
5. Family portraits and pictures;
6. One couch, two living room chairs, plus a dining table and chairs;
7. Bed furniture and bedding;
8. Kitchen furnishings and utensils;
9. Food and food products;
10. Medicine and healthcare supplies;
11. One car and one truck;
12. Farming implements;
13. Kid's toys;
14. Property which is not in fact owned by the tenant or even an occupant of the home; and
15. Property that's pledged as security for a recorded mortgage or financing agreement.
Texas Landlord Rights - Enforcement of the Landlordís Lien
A property owner can enforce a landlordís lien by self-help remedy but there are limits. Those restrictions are:
1. The right to a self-help remedy will only be available when there is a written lease.
Although the landlordís lien is present for verbal agreement leases, the self-help enforcement remedy of the lien is only available if the lease is in writing. Nonetheless, just having a written lease isn't enough. The written lease will need to specifically approve the usage of self-help enforcement of the landlordís lien.
2. The right to a self-help remedy is only available when it can be accomplished with no ďbreach of the peace.Ē
3. The property owner who uses self-help enforcement of the landlordís lien will need to leave written notice of entry right after the process.
4. The written notice of entry will need to include an itemized list of things removed.
5. The notice has to be left in an obvious spot within the residence.
6. The notice needs to list the amount of money of overdue rent along with the name, address, and contact number of the person the renter may get in touch with concerning the balance due.
7. The notice must point out that the property will be promptly returned on complete payment of the past due rent. Texas Property Code ß 54.044(b).
The majority of landlordís I work with in my law practice don't realize they have a lien on their renterís property and assets to guarantee payment of rent. The reality is, a great number of landlords assume the law in Texas completely favors their renters. They are not aware that we have laws concerning Texas landlord rights, not only their obligations.
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Harvey L. Cox is an attorney and certified mediator in Texas. He runs an informational web site that provides tips and techniques for understanding how Texas law affects the everyday lives of Texas residents. Check the site out for more information on Texas Landlord Rights.
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