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asset_manager

Abandoned Personal Property in Texas Rental House

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A tenant owning considerable back rent in an El Paso house was served by the property manager with an eviction notice for non payment of rent. When the tenant did not respond the landlord visited the premises and determined that the tenant had vacated the premises and abandoned their personal property. Upon the belief of abandonment the property manager had the locks changed. After the locks were changed the tenant contacted the landlord requesting return of personal property, which is still located within the premises. Under Texas housing law what are the property owner's rights and obligations with abandoned personal property in this situation?

 

Must these items be returned to the tenant upon request? Can the landlord require payment of past due rent to release the items to the tenant? Apparently, the items stored within the house have some commercial value as the tenant wants them to open a business.

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You people have it all wrong.

 

A tenant owning considerable back rent in an El Paso house was served by the property manager with an eviction notice for non payment of rent. When the tenant did not respond the landlord visited the premises and determined that the tenant had vacated the premises and abandoned their personal property.

 

Landlords don't get to make that "determination" without going to court first and getting a writ of possession.

 

 

Upon the belief of abandonment the property manager had the locks changed.

 

I'd be firing that manager and getting one that knows the state laws.

 

 

After the locks were changed the tenant contacted the landlord requesting return of personal property, which is still located within the premises. Under Texas housing law what are the property owner's rights and obligations with abandoned personal property in this situation?

 

 

 

Simple. At this point the property owner has no right to keep the tenant's personal property.

 

 

Must these items be returned to the tenant upon request?

 

Yes.

 

 

 Can the landlord require payment of past due rent to release the items to the tenant?

 

Sure, he CAN. But not without risking dire financial consequences if he gets sued by the tenant or arrested for theft.

 

 

 Apparently, the items stored within the house have some commercial value as the tenant wants them to open a business.

 

Irrelevant.

 

Here's the Texas statute that applies here.

 

If the owner or property manager doesn't understand it, then somebody needs to hire a lawyer to explain it.

 

http://law.justia.com/codes/texas/2011/property-code/title-4/chapter-24/

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You may want to visit the Real Estate Law Center: Landlord Tenant Law and read Landlord Rights as a good resource to learn more about this topic. Also, because landlords frequently encounter common landlord-tenant legal issues, you may want to consider signing up for a LegalStreet plan. With the plan, you have unlimited access to a lawyer to ask your questions as they come up and the plan also offers discounted legal representation should you need it.

Disclosure: LegalStreet and FindLaw.com are owned by the same company.   
 

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