We have also seen more than a few "handshake agreements" that are trying to be leases. The Texas law is clear – if it is not written, it is unenforceable. Get it in writing, make sure all parties sign and date and make sure you give copies to tenants. Also make sure you keep copies in a place you can find later if you need them. Saying, "I`ve forgotten where I put it" is not a very legal argument. The problem when downloading a rental is also whether you have received an updated rental or not. The Internet is a huge archive, and when they download something that was written in 1999, it won`t well keep the law in its current form in 2016. Laws change over time and the use of something that is obsolete or does not cover the newer laws can certainly put you in hot water. We`ve even seen cases where an owner has downloaded a Tar Residential Lease (which clearly states that it can only be used by members of the True Association – your use can invalidate them if you`re not a member), but they`ve downloaded an older form. Staying informed is part of what we do for our customers, so you need to make sure you do it too.
Tenants also have rights. Trying to remove these rights by putting clauses in a lease agreement that will deny them will always end badly. Remember, when you are in front of a jury, you will be seen as the big, bad slumlord and the tenant is the right guy. Everyone has a story about an owner they thought was mean and mean, and it`s those memories that lawyers are going to play in a lawsuit. It`s a fight uphill to begin with. If you have tried to remove these fundamental rights from a customer, you will lose. – Texas Association of Realtors Lease Agreement (Revised 2019) Whatever you do, make sure that if you download or write a rental agreement yourself, you will actually receive it signed. We have seen more than one case where an investor said he had a lease, but the tenant never really signed it.
No signature? You don`t have a lease. The obvious problem with a bad lease (or a totally invalid contract) is the lawsuits. You will never win a lawsuit based on a poorly written rental agreement containing an illegal or invalid language, that is not signed or that does not have the special protection you need in this action. Legal actions are much more expensive than the price when a lawyer negotiates a lease or instructs a real estate agent to manage the property.