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Tessmer Tips / 16.08.2015

Family law matters concerning a member of the military create several unique issues compared to the typical civilian cases, as specific state and federal laws will apply. When one spouse (or both) are serving in the armed forces, a divorce is more complicated and there are different rules concerning jurisdiction, child custody, and health insurance and retirement benefits.  Servicemembers and civilian spouses should take the time to learn about the special issues involved in military family law matters and should seek an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable on the subject.   If you are one of the nearly 1.1 million active...

Tessmer Tips / 14.08.2015

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against families with children. The landlord must rent to anyone, regardless of whether they are married, single, or have children. The only restrictions that may be placed are those that apply to everyone. For example, the number of occupants per unit may be limited. The major exception to this law is complexes intended for seniors. If a complex has 80% or more units occupied by at least one person over age 55, it is not required to accept children.   Unfortunately, disputes between landlords and their tenants are fairly common.  If you find...

Tessmer Tips / 13.08.2015

A Texas landlord has the right to enter a tenant’s dwelling during emergencies, when conducting inspections and when making repairs. A landlord can specify other times when it is appropriate to enter a dwelling; however, the lease agreement must specify these times and the tenant must have signed the agreement. During an eviction, a landlord can enter the dwelling and remove the tenant’s possessions only after a judge has ruled for the tenant to leave the property, the tenant doesn't appeal the case within five days and the time line to vacate—seven days—has passed.   When Texas landlords feel that their life...

Tessmer Tips / 11.08.2015

Although there are some specific exceptions, under Texas law, a dwelling must be equipped with security devices such as window latches, keyed dead bolts on exterior doors, sliding door pin locks and sliding door handle latches or sliding door security bars, and door viewers.  These devices must be installed at the landlord's expense. If such devices are missing or are defective, you have the right to request their installation or repair.   According to Chapter 92, Subsection C, of the Texas Property Code, a Texas landlord can ask a potential tenant for a security deposit as a condition to move in. The...

Tessmer Tips / 10.08.2015

As a tenant in Texas, you have the right to demand repair of any condition that affects your health and safety.  Under Texas law, your landlord guarantees that the unit he rents to you will be a fit place to live.  In certain conditions, you and your landlord may have a written agreement that you will make needed repairs. The landlord does not have a duty to pay for or make repairs if you or your guests cause an unsafe or unhealthy condition through negligence, carelessness, abuse or accident—unless the condition resulted from "normal wear and tear."   Under Texas law, your...

Tessmer Tips / 09.08.2015

This week, Tessmer Tips will address laws and regulations affecting the landlord/tenant relationship. The relationship between Texas landlords and their tenants is governed by several statutes and court rulings, and most particularly by Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Code.  But the most important source of information is your rental agreement, whether it is written or oral.   A written lease agreement is always preferred.  Read your lease carefully and discuss any changes that should be made before you sign.   As a tenant in Texas, you have a right to peace and quiet, or “quiet enjoyment” as it is called in the...