A LEASE IS A CONTRACT!
A lease is a LEGALLY binding contract. Once you sign it, you are legally responsible for following all terms and clauses in the lease. To avoid issues concerning your lease, make sure you read the entire document before signing. If you are unsure of anything regarding your lease, contact the Texas State University Attorney for Students. After signing your lease, if any disputes arise, contact the Central Texas Dispute Resolution Center.
READ YOUR LEASE!
- Lease Term: The lease will automatically renew on a month to month basis unless a written notice of termination is given to the manager by the resident. Check lease agreement for the number of months or days required to provide notice.
- Security Devices: Your residence must have the following: a window latch on each window, a keyless deadbolt on each exterior door, a door viewer on each exterior door, a pin lock, latch, or security bar on each sliding glass door.
- Release of Resident: Unless there is a special provisions clause, you fall under the military clause, or you are a victim of family violence, you will typically not be released from your lease until the end of its term.
- Multiple Residents: Requests or notices given from any resident constitutes notice from all residents. All residents are equally liable.
- Move-out Notice: You must give apartment representatives at least 30 days written notice. See your lease agreement for the notice required for your apartment. Even if your lease states your move-out date, you still must give written notice. Oral notice is not sufficient. Notice to Vacate Letter
- Eviction: A property owner may evict a resident for violation of conditions specified in the lease, major destruction of property, or nonpayment of rent. The manager must give the resident 24 hours written notice (depending on the lease) of his/her intent to evict for nonpayment of rent. If the resident refuses to move, the manager may file an eviction lawsuit in the Justice of the Peace Court to forcibly evict a tenant. An eviction requires you to be given legal notice and an opportunity to appear in court. If you think an eviction is unjustified, you may have to hire a Private Attorney. The Attorney for Students can not assist you once your lease is signed. You may also contact the Austin Tenant's Council for free legal assistance. Leaving Before Your Lease is Up: Although your reasons for wanting to move out before the end of your lease term may seem valid to you, moving out before your lease expires is a breach of contract. It is incorrect that you are only liable for the amount of your security deposit if you break the lease. Generally, you are liable for rent you owe for the remainder of time on the lease. If you do not pay your remaining rent, you risk being sued. If you are unable to pay your debt, a judgment may be filed against you which can last 7-10 years and can be renewed.
- Sublease: A sublease is an agreement in which you rent your apartment to another person with the property owner’s permission. You will still be responsible for rent and damages. You are not entitled to receive your security deposit back until your lease term ends. Be sure to read your lease carefully. Many properties forbid subleasing.
- Negotiate: It may be possible to negotiate with the property owner to allow you to terminate the lease. If you reach an agreement, make sure it is in writing and signed by both parties.
- Relet: Relet is similar to subleasing, but the lease is changed to add the new tenant and delete the previous tenant. The original tenant will still be responsible for paying the rent until a new tenant is found. Once a new tenant is found, the original tenant often pays a reletting fee, which is usually 85% of one month’s rent.
- Parties: Include the names of all roommates in your lease or your roommates will not be legally responsible for the unit.
- Rent & Charges: Request in writing the amount, payment methods, due dates, and late penalties.
- Repair Requests: If you need any type of repair, written notice must be given to your management unless it is an emergency situation.
- Rent Increase: If you remain in the apartment after the end of your lease, it will automatically become a month-to-month lease. This means that once the lease expires, the management can raise the rent if 30 days notice is not provided.