Call James Meyrat, a Tenant Rights lawyer in San Antonio, when your Landlord is giving you trouble or about to evict you.
- Are you being wrongfully evicted?
- Do you need help appealing your eviction?
- Are you unlawfully locked out of your apartment and need to get back in?
- Do you need help with getting out of your lease early?
- Do you think your landlord is retaliating against you because you reported them to the city?
- Are you wondering if you’ll ever get that security deposit back from your former landlord?
James Meyrat is a landlord-tenant lawyer practicing in San Antonio, Texas. He only represents San Antonio tenants because he knows that tenants in San Antonio need help to assert their rights against landlords. Most San Antonio lawyers steer clear of representing tenants because they have no money to afford legal services, or they believe tenant’s are mostly at fault anyway. But James Meyrat isn’t concerned about the tenant’s ability to pay, or lack thereof. As long as there is landlord liability, tenant rights are violated, and his attorney fees are collectible from the landlord or apartment complex, he’ll take your tenant case at no charge. James only gets paid by the landlord or apartment complex if he wins your case. All the tenant has to do is provide evidence, show up to court, and let James take care of you. Call James and tell him about how your tenant rights are being violated.
Do legal actions below describe your landlord-tenant situation?
Smoke Detectors and Security Devices
Failure to Repair
An eviction is a lawsuit filed by a landlord to remove persons and belongings from the landlord’s property. Most, if not all, eviction cases are because Tenant failed to pay rent. After the tenant gets the notice to vacate, the tenant should consider whether or not he has have any defenses to stay in your rental unit. Here are some of the most common defenses a tenant may have to try to stop an eviction in Texas.
- Landlord Used “Self-Help” Eviction Procedures – See unlawful lockout and utility cutoffs.
- Eviction Notice and/or Service to the Tenant Had Errors – Landlord must prepare eviction notices according to very specific rules and guidelines. The “Notice to Vacate” must contain very specific information or else it’s invalid and the judge may dismiss the eviction lawsuit.
- Breach of Quiet Enjoyment – read more about causes of action for failure to repair and retaliation.
If the grounds for eviction are failure to pay rent and the tenant have no other defenses, then you will probably lose in Justice of Peace Court and get evicted, BUT DON’T WORRY, YOU CAN ALWAYS APPEAL for very little money and effort. An appeal to county court can buy you some time to stay in the rental unit for a few weeks longer, avoid the eviction on your record, and get yourself another living situation in the meantime. The best part about the appeal is the landlord can’t do anything about it until they pursue eviction proceedings a second time in county court. Click here to learn about how to appeal an eviction. On cases like this, James typically charges a flat fee.
Landlord’s right to to change the locks because of nonpayment of rent must be placed in the lease agreement. Next, the Landlord must comply strictly with of the lockout notice requirements. Next, Tenant must be given a new key without regard to whether the tenant pays the delinquent rent. A tenant in an unlawful lockout situation may recover possession or terminate the lease. The tenant may also recover actual damages, one month’s rent plus $1000, court costs, and attorney fees. A tenant who is unlawfully locked out by a landlord is entitled to an immediate right of reentry to the premises by obtaining a writ of reentry from the justice court in the precinct where the property is located. Have more questions about unlawful lockout law? Click here.
If the utility company because of non-payment by the landlord disconnects utility service that a landlord has agreed to furnish to a tenant in the lease, the tenant may pay the utility company to avert the cutoff and deduct the amounts from the tenant’s rent, terminate the lease, and recover actual damages, (including but not limited to moving costs, utility connection fees, storage fees, and lost wages from work), court costs, and attorney’s fees. Got more questions about wrongful utility cutoffs? Click here.
Smoke Detectors and Security Devices
A landlord is required to install specific types of locks on windows and doors and working smoke detectors in all rental units. Landlords are required to re-key locks within 7 days from each tenant turnover date. During the lease term, a landlord has the duty to inspect and repair a smoke detector, but only if the tenant gives the landlord notice of a problem. If a landlord fails to install the required security devices or repair a smoke detector after proper notice, a tenant may unilaterally terminate the lease without court proceedings and may file suit against the landlord for actual damages, one month’s rent plus $500, attorney fees, and court costs. Have more questions about smoke detector law? Click here.
Retaliation occurs when the landlord wrongfully terminates the lease, files for eviction, deprives the tenant of the use of the premises, decreases services to a tenant, or increases the rent because a tenant tries to exercise his rights. For example, a landlord is not allowed to retaliate against a tenant for requesting repairs, or calling a government or nonprofit agency about a problem. If the landlord takes any adverse action against a tenant within six months of the tenant’s action, the landlord is presumed to have improperly retaliated. Nonpayment of rent is the easiest way a landlord can evict a tenant. So, before the tenant plans to take action against a landlord, the tenant must be completely current. If the landlord engages in activity that constitutes unlawful retaliation, a tenant may seek a judgment the landlord for: (1) one month’s rent, plus $500; (2) the reasonable costs to move to another place; and (3) attorney’s fees and court costs.
Failure to Repair
A landlord is required to make a diligent effort to repair conditions that: materially affects the health or safety of an ordinary tenant or that arise due to landlord’s failure to provide hot water if the tenant gives notice of such condition to the landlord. The tenant must be current with rent at the time repair notices are given. A tenant’s notice must usually be in writing. A tenant is required to give the landlord a second notice to repair before the landlord is liable unless the first notice was sent to the landlord by certified mail. The landlord has a reasonable time to repair the condition – 7 days is a reasonable time. If a landlord is liable for failing to repair, the tenant may terminate the lease, recover actual damages, one months rent plus $500, court costs, and attorney’s fees.
Tenant’s Right to Terminate Early
A tenant may terminate a lease prior to the expiration of the lease term in limited situations: Military Service, Family Violence, Sexual Offenses. Attorney James Meyrat can assist tenants to get out of their leases without incurring rent liability for the remaining months. On cases like this, James typically charges a flat fee.
A landlord is required to refund a security deposit or provide an itemized list of deductions within 30 days after a tenant moves out and provides a forwarding address. The tenant does not have to provide a written notice of move out as a condition for return of a security deposit unless a written lease requires the tenant to do so. A landlord who does not comply with the requirements for the return of a security deposit is presumed to be in bad faith. If a landlord is found to have withheld a security deposit in bad faith, a tenant may recover a $100 statutory penalty, three times the amount of deposit wrongfully withheld, court cost, and attorney’s fees. If a landlord fails to give an itemization, he waives right to claim damages to the apartment. Learn more about getting back your security deposit.