Welcome to the Kazi Law Firm! We are a boutique law firm steeped in Texas tradition personifying the warmth and congeniality consistent with southern hospitality. We believe in preserving integrity and professionalism with true Texan charm, staying true to our roots, while providing essential, affordable legal services to all. Located just north of Dallas, Texas in the rapidly growing suburb of Frisco; the Kazi Law Firm concentrates on contracts drafting and review, immigration law, will & estates, real estate law, landlord, tenant, mediation, and general business law needs.
Rental properties are common in such a vibrant and bustling state such as Texas. With the influx of thousands of new residents moving to our major cities of Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio each year, the rental market has grown exponentially. However, there are laws to protect both landlords and tenants in this area of the law. Do you need help navigating the landlord/tenant relationship?
Managing multiple properties appears to be a simple and uncomplicated process on the cover, but is riddled with sensitive nuances and legalities in reality. Both landlords and tenants have legal obligations towards each other and must abide by the binding lease agreement in its totality.
My clients most often contact me because they are actively engaged in a heated battle over the return of their security deposit. The most common situation is where tenants feel they are entitled to the full refund, where the landlord vehemently disagrees.
So, let’s explore this highly contested area of the law from the beginning.
Residential leases often require the tenant to pay a security deposit (usually 1 month’s rent) to ensure that the rental property will be taken care of and maintained for the duration of the lease. Under Texas law, a security deposit is defined as “any advance of money, other than a rental application deposit or an advance payment of rent, that is intended primarily to secure performance under a lease of a dwelling that has been entered into by a landlord and a tenant.”
The landlord has a duty to return the security deposit to a tenant within 30 days of the tenant surrendering or vacating the premises. However, there is an exception to this rule. The landlord is not required to return the deposit until the tenant gives the landlord their forwarding address, in writing, for the purpose of refunding the deposit. If any deductions are made to the security deposit, the landlord must provide a written description and itemized list of those deductions.
The contentious point in the landlord-tenant relationship is usually triggered over the dispute of what deductions were made and why? Permissible deductions are those damages and charges for which the tenant is legally liable under the lease agreement or as a result of breaching the agreement. The landlord may not retain any portion of the security deposit to cover normal wear and tear. The sticking point in most landlord/tenant disputes is what is considered “normal wear and tear” under Texas law. If you think about it, this term of art seems quite subjective. What the landlord deems as damage, the tenant may regard as purely incidental to the moving process. Floors, walls, carpet stains, and traffic patterns are usually hot button items for both parties.
The next time you find yourself at the end of a lease term, keep in mind the duties owed to each party – landlord and tenant. Wouldn’t it be nice to end the relationship amicably? In a perfect world, there would be no misunderstandings or gray areas to bicker about. However, in reality, there will be heated disputes over the security deposit and that’s where we step in. If you have any questions regarding your obligations as either a tenant or a landlord, please don’t hesitate to contact the Kazi Law Firm.
I built my law practice on the premise of being a life raft in a sea of sharks. I want to be an advocate for those that have been wronged and are too intimidated to seek help. My firm is here to explore your options, guide you through your legal journey, and give you that safe space to ask questions! There’s no such thing as a stupid question…Only the ones you don’t ask. So, my question to my clients is not “do you have any questions?” But rather “what questions do you have?”
As always, the Kazi Law Firm is standing by to help you in your time of need. Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We specialize in real estate law, landlord-tenant disputes, immigration, and wills & estate planning. Family is at the core of our practice. Just as we treat our family with respect and understanding, we treat yours. Come join the Kazi Law Firm family today!
Why swim alone in shark-infested waters when you don’t need to?