De La O Law Firm represents both landlords and tenants in disputes arising under all forms of leases, including commercial and shopping center leases, single-family residential leases, apartment leases and student housing leases. We provide general advice and where necessary, to achieve a client’s objectives, files and defends lawsuits relating to the following issues:
*Obligations, responsibilities, rights and remedies under all forms of leases, including, but not limited to, early lease termination and return of deposits;
*Obligations, responsibilities, rights and remedies under state and federal statutes;
*Performance, compliance, breaches, defaults and other disputes involving specific lease provisions;
*Interpretation of ambiguous lease provisions, including the filing of declaratory judgment actions;
*Eviction and unlawful detainer actions;
*Collection of unpaid rent and accelerated rent
In addition to the foregoing, we prepare leases and other lease related documents, and review and recommend modifications to existing leases which are tailored to the client’s requirements and designed to maximize the client’s interests. We also prepare and enforce commercial real estate brokers’ liens against commercial real estate when the brokers have not received the agreed upon compensation.
LANDLORD-TENANT LAW (RESIDENTIAL)
Rental premises are a source of critical revenue for the landlord and a home for the tenants. As a result, issues arising under residential leases are often contentious and tend to ignite quickly, making it more difficult and expensive to resolve a dispute. It is, therefore, highly recommended that a lawyer be consulted before a simmering legal issue becomes a serious problem. Doing so generally saves a lot of time and money and leads to a better and more cost-effective solution.
De La O Law Firm provides advice to landlords primarily in reviewing, revising and drafting residential leases and other lease documents. A well drafted lease is necessary to avoid liability to tenants and potential litigation.
Additionally, we file and defend lawsuits on behalf of landlords, including, but not limited to, unpaid rent, breach and default, abandonment, tenant damage, retaliation, access to the premises and wrongful eviction.
In addition to protecting tenants’ rights regarding early lease termination, wrongful eviction, retaliation, and return of deposits, we defend tenants in the following situations:
Your Landlord is Evicting You
If your landlord serves you with a termination notice there are many ways to defend the ensuing eviction – for example, your landlord’s eviction may be retaliatory in nature (and therefore illegal) if the circumstances support such a defense. De La O Law Firm is experienced in fighting evictions using effective strategies and creative solutions to increase your chance of success.
Your Landlord is Evicting You Without Proper Court Procedures
Landlords must follow eviction procedures set forth by state and local law. If your landlord tries to evict you by taking matters into her/his own hands – for example, by locking you out, canceling your utilities, or even removing your doors, windows, or possessions – consider hiring a lawyer. These types of “self-help” remedies are illegal. No matter how strong a landlord’s case may be for ending a tenancy, a landlord doesn’t have the right to take, or even threaten, any self-help actions against you.
Your Landlord Discriminates Against You
If you believe your landlord is discriminating against you based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or familial status, we can help stop the illegal action and help you recover damages for any harm you suffered. Additionally, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance has extended protection against discrimination in fair housing, both public and private, based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Your Landlord Won’t Make Necessary Repairs
If your landlord isn’t fulfilling important obligations under your lease and the law, it can lead to major problems. For example, think of the landlord who keeps putting off needed heating system repairs until winter is well under way, or the landlord who ignores a ground-floor tenant’s request to replace a broken window until a burglary occurs. In these cases, you may decide to implement one of your state’s tenant remedies on your own (such as rent withholding or “repair and deduct”), but you may need some coaching on how to do it right. Consulting a lawyer may be your best move. In addition, a lawyer can attempt to communicate with the landlord for you, explore the possibility of a quick settlement, and take the landlord to court, if needed.
Your Landlord Isn’t Fulfilling His Promises
Sometimes, landlords make promises to encourage hesitant applicants to rent from them. For example, if an applicant is concerned about the neighborhood crime rate, a landlord might promise to install a more effective intercom system or an electronic, gated parking lot. If the landlord later refuses to honor the promise, you may need to hire a lawyer to write a stern letter to your landlord, threatening a lawsuit unless the landlord follows through.
You’ve Been Injured or Made Ill
Accidents can happen, even at a well-run rental property. However, if an accident is the result of the landlord’s carelessness, you may have a legal case against your landlord. For example, you might break your leg after slipping on an icy patch on the front steps of your building. (Perhaps the landlord should have arranged for regular de-icing, which would have removed the danger) Or you discover an outbreak of mold in your rental – only after it has made you and your family very ill. Even if your landlord didn’t personally or intentionally create the problem, there are many legal theories available to convince a court or insurance adjustor that the landlord should be held responsible. We are experienced at identifying which theories may apply and crafting arguments using them.
LANDLORD-TENANT LAW (COMMERCIAL)
Disputes between commercial tenants and landlords can put a strain on the business’ ability to operate on a daily basis, which in turn will harm the well-being of the business owner and their loved ones. We can guide you through the litigation process while you rest assured that your case is in good hands.
Disagreements can arise over a number of issues even at any time during the life of the lease. While each scenario presents different circumstances, the following are some typical types of disputes between landlords and their tenants:
*Missed or late rent payments
*Exorbitant late fees
*Breach of lease
*Fixture or appliance damage repair
*Common Area Maintenance (CAM)
*Damage to property
*Failure to disclose fees
*Refusal to return deposit
*Partial return of deposit
*Disallowing lease termination
*Misrepresenting property conditions…and many others.
If you need an experienced and effective Texas landlord-tenant lawyer who will identify and diligently protect your best interests, aggressively advocate your position, provide cost-effective legal services and consistently maintain a policy of responsiveness and accessibility, then please contact De La O Law Firm today so we can get to work on solving your problem.