The first thing a Texas landlord needs to know about security deposits, is that Texas is a “property rights” state. Texas Judges consistently rule in favor of people’s property rights. While the real estate is indeed the landlords property, the security deposit is the tenants property. Any claims made against the tenants deposit must be done in accordance with the lease agreement, and the law. Failure to comply will expose the landlord to some serious consequences, as you will soon see. As you begin to look for Property Management in Tomball, you will soon find out why we are the #1 fit for your Tomball Property. security deposits

The tenant is entitled to a full accounting, and any refund, within 30 days of their move out. It’s a sad day for the landlord misses this deadline, or one who wrongfully claims a deduction to save a few hundred bucks, lose the dispute, and end up owing his former tenant thousands of dollars. This post will discuss guidelines that should keep landlords out of trouble when making claims on a tenant’s security deposit.

If the landlord is smart, a professional property manager will be holding this deposit, and will be completing the accounting. If this is you, you can stop reading now. If you’re curious about the process keep reading.

Texas Property Code Sec. 92.109. LIABILITY OF LANDLORD.

  1. A landlord who in bad faith retains a security deposit in violation of this subchapter is liable for an amount equal to the sum of $100, three times the portion of the deposit wrongfully withheld, and the tenant’s reasonable attorney ‘s fees in a suit to recover the deposit.
  2. A landlord who in bad faith does not provide a written description and itemized list of damages and charges in violation of this subchapter:
    1. forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the security deposit or to bring suit against the tenant for damages to the premises; and
    2. is liable for the tenant’s reasonable attorney ‘s fees in a suit to recover the deposit.
  3. In an action brought by a tenant under this subchapter, the landlord has the burden of proving that the retention of any portion of the security deposit was reasonable.
  4. A landlord who fails either to return a security deposit or to provide a written description and itemization of deductions on or before the 30th day after the date the tenant surrenders possession is presumed to have acted in bad faith.

As you can see, the law protects the tenant’s property rights, and has some teeth ready to bite the unscrupulous landlord who wrongfully withholds a deposit refund. It is not recommended that you take on security deposit accounting as a DIY project unless you are well versed in all the applicable laws. Having been a DIY landlord back in the day, and knowing what I know now, I can tell you that it was only luck that kept me from being sued by a couple of my former tenants.

The following are some pearls of wisdom that will help the DIY landlord avoid most disputes, and win the ones that they cannot avoid. When considering deductions from the security deposit, there are many factors and calculations that must be considered before a lawful deduction can be made. One of these is the condition of the property at move in. The landlord should have a complete set of photos of the property taken just prior to occupancy, to compare with condition of the property at move out. On the other side of the fence, the tenant should have turned in an Inventory and Condition Form. This document is a tool that the tenant will use to protect their deposit from wrongful deductions. The Inventory and Condition form lists all defects and blemishes noted by the tenant at the time of move in. If the landlord tries to deduct the deposit for any of these pre existing issues, the tenant will have a good case for dispute.

It is also important to understand the concept useful service life, and pro-rated damage. The service life of carpeting and interior paint in a rental house is 5 years. If the tenant moved into brand new carpet, and moves out 6 years later, and the carpet needs replacement, no deposit deduction can be made. But if the tenant moved into the same brand new carpet, and moves out in only two years, and the carpet is ruined, the landlord is entitled to claim the lost 3 years of service life, based on the original cost of the carpet. For example, If the carpet cost $1000 two years ago, and is now ruined. A landlord could claim $600 against the security deposit, to offset the cost of new carpet. The new carpet must be installed to make this a lawful claim. The same concept applies to interior paint. Save your receipts.

Normal wear and tear is another consideration that must be factored into the calculation. The deposit cannot be deducted for damage considered normal wear and tear. This includes nail holes where the tenant hung a few pictures on the wall, traffic wear in carpet, the odd scuff or ding in a wall. The longer the tenant occupies the property, the more wear and tear there will be. Most times, above normal wear and tear is obvious. You’ll know it when you see it. Still, it is subjective, and may be disputed. The rule of thumb is to be conservative when deciding if the wear and tear is normal, or above normal. The repairs must be completed, and receipts saved.

Often times landlords like to do the make ready work themselves. If this is you, and you are working on something where the deposit is being deducted, you can only charge for the materials purchased for the claimed repair. You cannot pay yourself labor. It is recommended that you use a 3rd party unbiased vendor who will give you a written invoice that you can deduct, and later defend if disputed.

Even when you do everything right, some tenants will still dispute charges. Usually, showing the disgruntled ex-tenant “before and after” occupancy photos will make them go away quietly. The move in condition report that is designed to protect the tenant, is also good at protecting the landlord. You may be charging for a hole in the wall. If they claim the hole was there at move in, it should be noted on the report. If it’s not on the report, and no “before” photos show the hole, the chances are very good that you will win this dispute.

If you are a landlord long enough, you will likely be involved one of these disputes sooner or later. The best protection you can have is to assume that every deduction you make from the tenant’s security deposit will be disputed and brought to court. Whenever you make a deduction, be prepared to sell it to a skeptical judge.

Having done our homework and know the laws, ask questions before you choose a Company for Property Management in Tomball. If they cannot answer your questions and don’t seem knowledgeable, don’t settle. Call us at 713/830-1888.

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If you are a resident of Tomball and are looking for a opportunity to get out and take the kids or grandkids to any events, Property Management Tomball has a complete and updated list for you. You can find something to do!

The Tomball Trail of Lights is put on by The Tomball United Methodist Church. This event is open to the public and is free. This is a great display of the Story of Christmas on a self guided trail and tour. The tour includes music, hot chocolate, apple cider and free cookies homemade! You can also have your picture made with Santa and his elves.

This great family event is held three weekends in December 6th & 7th, 13th & 14th, and 20th & 21st from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm.

The Trail of Lights is held adjacent to the Tomball United Methodist Church at 1603 Baker Dr. in Tomball. Click here for a map and directions.

The Texas Master Chorale presents “O Holy Night” on Dec. 14th, 2019 at 7:30 PM.

Texas Master Chorale invites the community to celebrate the holidays at their December concert, “O Holy Night.” Featuring John Rutter’s “Magnificat” as well as traditional Christmas classics, the concert is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 14, at John Wesley United Methodist Church. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Seniors age 65 and older receive a $5 discount; age 18 and younger are admitted free. To purchase tickets, please call the box office at (281) 440-4850. Founded in 1985, Texas Master Chorale is a mixed choral ensemble of 100 auditioned singers who perform a variety of choral masterworks including classical, contemporary, sacred and secular. For more information, please visit texasmasterchorale.org.

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The good thing about real estate investment is that a lot of people have gained wealth by practicing it correctly. Humble rental properties to be specific have a lot to offer investors looking to escape the volatility of the stock market and a fluctuating economy. Without a doubt, the most prominent benefit is that monthly rent check you’ll collect, which should pay the mortgage while leaving a little extra cash in your pocket.

The best thing about investing in Humble rental properties is that it is not just about rent payment. When done correctly and researched accurately, your rental properties can provide stable cash flow and tax benefits, not to mention steady increases in value and protection against inflation.

Humble-Property-Owner-Signing-Official-Documents

While it’s accurate that all investment brings a particular amount of risk, the durability of the rental market earns rental properties far less of a bet. Rental homes are always in demand, no matter how good or bad the economy is or whether the dollar is weak or strong. This fact means that steady cash flow is not only conceivable but highly doable. Provided that the monthly rental income is greater than expenses, investors can expect to see immediate positive income on every rental property they obtain in Humble.

There are actual tax benefits to capitalizing in rental properties, as well. On a federal level, it is possible to deduct operating expenses like insurance, property taxes, legal fees, management fees, and maintenance costs. You can also deduct depreciation every year, which is a significant but frequently forgotten benefit. The exact amounts and deductions may be subject to how much rental income you have and your local housing laws, but the result is often a high return on your investment.

One more way you’ll see significant proceeds is when your investment property appreciates. Real estate appreciation is the increase in the property’s value over time. So, as you’re collecting rent payments and taking advantage of a long list of big tax deductions, your property is also gaining value. Appreciation is a long-term benefit: it usually takes 5-10 years to see real gains in most markets. But then again in most cases, once you’re prepared to sell, you can get much more for the property than you initially paid for it.

One of the best reasons to invest in rental properties is that your investment is less likely to be negatively affected by inflation. When inflation occurs, it is expected that rent will also increase to keep pace. Inflation also leans toward driving the value of real estate upward. Nevertheless, expenses like a fixed-term mortgage will remain the same. Real estate investments are considered a hedge against inflation for the reason that they radically increase in value and profitability when inflation occurs.

With so many attractive viewpoints to investing in rental properties, it makes sense to incorporate real estate into your investment portfolio. Real Property Management Houston can help guarantee your rental properties preserve their value and remain profitable. Contact us online or call us directly at 713/830-1888 for more information.

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View of a Cypress Rental Property After Natural DIsasterNatural disasters are known to strike with little to no warning. Wherever you are in the country chances are that you have heard of hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, flash floods and the like and you know how destructive they can be. They can hit anywhere, they leave behind devastation, destroying homes and lives from coast to coast. For Cypress rental property owners, you better know what things to do and who to contact in case a natural disaster gets wrecked by a storm, fire, or flood. You have to know all of the measures so you can keep your renters safe and recuperating efficiently from disaster.

The time to start organizing for disaster recovery is now. Waiting until after a disaster has damaged your rental home to make a recovery plan can severely influence the recovery process. Preparation means doing what you can now to alleviate the gravest that nature has to offer. Purchasing proper insurance coverage is the best place to start, followed by performing a detailed assessment of your properties to determine the natural disaster threat level associated with each one. The state of each rental home should also be strictly observed, including the strength of retaining walls, the hazard posed by tall trees, and other possible problems.

If your rental property is damaged in a natural disaster, your first job ought to be to check on your tenants and make sure they are safe. The damage to your property should then be thoroughly documented and photographed, and the appropriate authorities and insurance companies communicate. If the damage is severe, your tenants may need to get alternative housing through their insurance carrier, and inspectors and contractors must be brought in right away to estimate the cost of and time need for repairs.

There is still a lot that needs to be done to be fully prepared, but having a property management company you can depend on is your first and best choice for a quick recovery. Even before a natural disaster threatens, Real Property Management Houston will help you determine the threat level for your rental home and create an action plan to help mitigate the damage. When disaster strikes, our team of experts will check on your resident’s, assess property damage, take photos, and send you the information you need to get your recovery underway. They will correlate with your insurance company, ensure that inspectors and contractors are fully licensed and insured, and assist renters with arranging for relocation and temporary housing when necessary.

For all of these purposes and more, Real Property Management Houston is the expert, reliable solution for all of your property management needs in Cypress and the neighboring areas. Please contact us online or by phone at 713/830-1888 for more information.

Listen to Dlea Nichols, a RPM Houston client and property owner, describe her experience using our Houston Property Tax Protesting Service.

Dlea owns two (2) properties in the Houston-Cypress TX area and uses one for her investment/rental property. D’Lea has used our services for the past 2 years and last year had quite a big amount of savings.

If you are interested in having your home’s property taxes protested, contact Kim@HoustonRPM.com. We will honor a one time flat rate fee for any of our RPM Houston Clients, Family or Friends. For one payment, one time, for one property – is 125.00. We will handle the rest.

Deadline is May 15th so if you are interested, contact Kim today at Kim@HoustonRPM.com.

Get professional Houston TX property management with us at #RealPropertyManagementHouston! Learn more about us at https://www.houstonrpm.com/about-real-property-management-houston/ and learn more about Houston TX property management here www.houstonrpm.com.

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