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Landlord Tenant Laws Texas

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One of the keys to success with successfully owning a portfolio of rental properties in Texas is knowing landlord tenant laws because, the longer you own rental property the more likely it is that you may face a landlord-tenant dispute so it’s best to know the laws.

Landlord Tenant Law Refresher

Landlord Tenant Laws Texas

Required Landlord Disclosures in Texas

Under Texas law, landlords must disclose specific information to tenants (usually in the lease or rental agreement), such as the identity of anyone authorized to act on the landlord’s behalf and the tenant’s rights when the landlord fails to make necessary repairs. For a full list, see Texas Required Landlord Disclosures.

Texas Security Deposit Limit and Return

Texas state law does not limit how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. However, it does limit when it must be returned (within 30 days after a tenant moves) and sets other restrictions on deposits. See Texas Security Deposit Limits and Deadlines for more on the subject.

Small Claims Lawsuits in Texas

Tenants can sue landlords in Justice Court for the return of their deposit, up to a dollar amount of $10,000. See Filing a Security Deposit Lawsuit in Texas Justice Court for advice for tenants filing suit. Landlords defending a security deposit lawsuit should check out Texas Landlord’s Guide to Security Deposit Disputes in Justice Court.

Texas Late Fees and Other Rent Rules

State law regulates several rent-related issues, including late fees and how much time (three days in Texas) a tenant who has not paid rent has to move. For details, see Texas Late Fees, Termination for Nonpayment of Rent, and Other Rent Rules.

Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent in Texas

Tenants may withhold rent or exercise the right to “repair and deduct” if a landlord fails to take care of important repairs, such as a broken heater. For specifics, see Texas Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent or “Repair and Deduct”.

Texas Termination and Eviction Rules

State laws specify when and how a landlord may terminate a tenancy. For example, a landlord may give a Texas tenant who has failed to pay rent an unconditional quit notice that gives the tenant three days (the lease may specify a different amount of time) to move out before the landlord can file for eviction. See State Laws on Unconditional Quit Terminations and State Laws on Termination for Violation of Lease for details on these types of termination notices in Texas.

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We currently serve clients in Houston, Atascocita, Clear Lake, Huffman, Humble and look forward to the opportunity of earning your business!

 

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Landlord Tenant Laws

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How to Handle Emergencies and Keep More Tenants

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One of the biggest problems that can hurt any property owner is how they handle emergencies at their rental properties. Sadly, how any property owner handles emergencies should be one of the most important skills that they master because, it’s very easy to lose tenants if you don’t handle an emergency at your rental property quickly and efficiently.

In this post we will share with you several tips that you can use for handling emergencies at your Houston Texas Rental Properties so you can keep your tenants happy and not lose business.

Tip #1 – Make Contact with You Easy

Although you may not want to be available to your tenants 24/7, the reality is that swift communication with your tenants is the key to success with resolving problems and keeping them happy.

If you don’t have a team managing your rental properties you should consider signing up for a call center so that you can receive messages and be contacted after business hours should problems occur.

Tip #2 – Document Everything

Regardless if it’s a broken pipe or leaky toilet, you should document all problems that occur at your rental property and then document the solutions to those problems because, some tenants may use problems as excuses to not pay their rent, or to move to another rental property, and proper documentation is an important part or professionally managing a rental property and generating long term income from it.

Tip #3 – Keep a List of Contractors On Hand

Another important thing you can do to handle problems at your rental property quickly is to have a list of contractors on hand that you know offers fast, reliable service, especially after hours or on weekends, because, this will enable you have someone you can call to resolve problems quickly without further delaying getting the problem fixed.

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To get property management for your Houston Texas Rental Properties contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

 

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Posted by on May 16, 2016 in Property Management Tips

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How To Get Started With Entry Level Rental Property Investing — Even if You’re Renting

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There’s no denying that now is a great time for anyone to invest in Houston Texas Real Estate but how do you get started with Real Estate investing even when you’re renting?

Most people will tell you that you have to be a homeowner to get started with Real Estate investing but the good news is that getting started is a lot easier than you think.

You can get a mortgage through the FHA with a super low down payment if you live in the home. So, how do you live in it and rent it out too? No, not a roommate. You can purchase a duplex home and rent out one side while you live in the other. Because it is your principle residence, you can get FHA lending. You not only now own your home, you’re an investor too! The FHA will even let you count the future rental income to help you to qualify for the loan!

I’m not blowing smoke, and I’ll use a real life example duplex for sale in Houston, Texas, as well as rental rates, all as currently listed at Zillow.com. Here are the home particulars:

• Listed selling price is $255,000.
• Each side of the duplex is approximately 1996 square feet in size.
• Built in 2007.
• Rents of apartments and one side of duplexes in the local area justify a conservative rent income of $1,100 to 1,200/month.
• Zillow’s mortgage estimator shows the payment will be approx. $1,497/month.

Let’s become the world’s worst negotiator and pay full price for this home. However, we’re going to take advantage of the FHA and our credit score is good, so we’re going to be able to get a 3.5% down payment. With closing costs, we’ll bring about $9,350 to the closing table. Let’s run the numbers:

• You’ll be paying approximately $1,687/month with taxes and insurance included.
• You can reasonably expect to rent out the home for $1,150/month.
• Your gross out-of-pocket to live there is now $537/month.

Source – Huffington post

Get Houston Texas Property Management

Once you get started with buying your first rental properties make sure you save the time, money and hassle of managing those rental properties yourself with our Houston Texas Property Management services.

Call Vestpro Residential Services at (832) 498-0016 or CLICK HERE to connect with us online. 

 

 

Posted by on May 9, 2016 in Real Estate Investing Tips

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Is It Time For You To Consider Houston Property Management?

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There’s no denying that now is a great time to invest in local real estate thanks to great prices and low mortgage interest rates but as you grow your portfolio or rental properties you will also face more responsibility if you are managing those properties yourself and this is why you should consider Houston Property Management.

If you’ve been debating hiring a Houston Property Manager here’s how we can save you the time, money and hassle of managing rental properties yourself.

On Time Rent Collection

When you hire a Houston Property Manager you can rely on them for collecting your rent on time every month and either depositing the rent into your bank account or mailing you a check each month.

A property manager will also eliminate all rent collection delays and or excuses that traditionally come with rent collection for some owners plus insure that your rent is collected professionally each month without you having to go through the hassle of rent collection yourself. 

Professional Property Management

Your rental property will be professionally managed by a qualified property manager including all of the additional time consuming aspects of property management like maintenance requests and other service related issues.

Excellent Customer Service

Sometimes having an actual human being to call your tenants back matters most in the world of property management and when you hire a professional Houston Property Manager you can have confidence that all of your tenants will be responded to in a timely manner when they call or email the property manager.

Excellent Backup For You

Another benefit of hiring an experienced Houston Property Manager is that you can depend on them to be on top of any issues related to your property so that regardless if you live in Portland or are out of state your home or multi-family rental property will be professionally managed by caring professionals.

More Time to Grow Your Portfolio

Last of all, but most important, when you hire a professional Houston Property Manager you will have more time to focus on growing your portfolio of rental properties and focus on the next rental that you want to purchase for your portfolio.

Get Houston Property Management 

To learn more about our Houston Property Management Services contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

 

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Posted by on May 7, 2016 in Property Management Tips

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What Are Fair Housing Laws? Are You Familiar With Them?

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Fair Housing Laws have been on the minds of many landlords across the United States this year but sadly few people really know what Fair Housing Laws mean and how it affects them if they own rental properties in the Houston area, or elsewhere in the United States.

In this article we will break down what exactly are fair housing laws and how they affect you if you plan on renting property.

Fair Housing Law History

Since 1968’s Fair Housing Act it’s been illegal for property owners to not rent to someone based on their age, family status, handicap, race, sexual preference or disability.

Under fair housing laws you may not:

  • Advertise your rental to show a preference to other races, religions or protected categories.
  • Set up standards to restrict individuals in the groups mentioned in the Fair Housing Act.
  • Require a larger deposit after a tenant moves in, change the terms of the lease, or develop and inconsistent policy for dealing with late rental payments from tenants.

Something That Cannot Be Ignored

Fair Housing Laws are important and must not be ignored because they level the playing field for rental properties in Houston, or nationwide, and insure that all renters regardless of their race, religion or origin will be able to rent safely in this country.

Get Professional Property Management Here

If you own one or more rental properties in the Houston Texas area you need professional property management to insure that all of your rentals are managed professionally and that the laws are followed. To learn more about the property management services that Vestpro Residential Services can offer you contact us today by calling (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online. 

 

Posted by on April 26, 2016 in Fair Housing Laws

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3 tips for getting your Houston Texas Rental Property Ready For Summer

 

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Summer is right around the corner and with the weather already in the 70’s and 80’s during the spring one can only imagine what the summer is going to be like that’s why it’s important for you to get your Houston Texas Rental Property ready for summer by following these simple tips.

Tip #1 – Inspect Your HVAC System

Since your tenants will be using their HVAC systems during the summer months you should get HVAC and air conditioning units inspected now to insure that they are all running smoothly during summer months once warmer weather arrives.

 

Tip #2 – Check Insulation and Weather Stripping

Last of all, but most important, you should check the weather and insulation in your Houston Texas Rental Properties because proper insulation and weather striping will help your tenants to lower their energy costs and insure that their homes stay cool during the summer months.

Tip #3 – Close Up Crawl Spaces Under Homes

If your Houston Rental has a crawl space underneath it you should close up that space or any access point to your basement or underneath your home immediately because snakes and critters will seek shelter in cool spaces during the warmer months in Houston.

Tip #4 – Clean Up Brush And Dead Vegetation Surrounding Your Property

Take the time to clean up brush and dead vegetation surrounding your property since this will also make your yard space less attractive to critters and also create a firebreak between your home and open spaces if a fire breaks out during the summer.

Tip #5 – Remove Wood From Your Home

Another fire hazard and inviting spot for critters like snakes are wood piles and if one of your Houston Rental Properties has a wood pile somewhere on the property you should move it immediately to insure that the best interests of your tenants are protected during the hot Houston summer.

Get Property Management For Your Houston Texas Rental Property 

To learn more about how you can get your Houston Texas Rental Property ready for summer, or to speak with us about our property management services, contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

 

Posted by on April 19, 2016 in Houston Texas Rental Property

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Is It Still A Great Time To Invest In Houston Real Estate?

 

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Are you thinking about investing in Houston Texas Real Estate but are’t sure if now is still a great time for you to invest in local Real Estate? 

In this article we will share with you several reasons why you should consider investing in the Houston Real Estate Market.

Portfolio Diversification 

Unlike the stock market where your investments will gain or lose value if there’s a correction, Real Estate is a safer investment because your investments as a landlord will not be tied to any other vehicle like bonds, stocks or mutual funds so when the stock market has a correction you won’t have to worry about having your Real Estate investments lose value.

Excellent Hedge Against Inflation 

Thanks to your Real Estate investment you won’t have to worry about inflation because with your rental property you can just raise the rent annually if there’s a clause in your rental agreement or if you get a new tenant for your rental property.

Stable Growth

Last of all, but most important, when you invest in Real Estate you can depend on stable growth because the value of your property shouldn’t drop by a large percentage in a normal market compared to stock markets where it’s not uncommon to expect large drops like what happened in China last year. 

Cash Flow

The final reason to invest in Houston Texas Real Estate is the face that your investment will continue producing cash flow for you over the months and years to come.

More Investors Prefer Real Estate

Research any major investor including Warren Buffet and you will see that most investors prefer investing in Real Estate because of the excellent returns you will get from investing in rental properties. 

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For affordable Houston Texas Property Management contact Vestpro Residential Services by contacting us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online. 

 

 

Posted by on April 15, 2016 in Real Estate Investing Tips

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Fed Says Landlords Can’t Deny Ex Offenders

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In the past most private landlords had the right to issue blanket denials to applicants if they hard an arrest record or served time in prison for a prior offense. 

Although it’s certainly been a private landlords right to rent to whomever they want the reality is that blanket denials have made it difficult for some tenants across the United States who have been trying to rent a single family home, town home or condo but may have had an arrest ir conviction in the past.

Private landlords who have blanket bans on renting to people with criminal records are in violation of the Fair Housing Act and can be sued and face penalties for discrimination, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development said.

Julián Castro, the HUD secretary, is expected on Monday to announce guidancethat details his agency’s interpretation of how the fair housing law applies to policies that exclude people with criminal records, a group that is not explicitly protected by the act but falls under it in certain circumstances. Federal officials said landlords must distinguish between arrests and convictions and cannot use an arrest to ban applicants. In the case of applicants with convictions, property owners must prove that the exclusion is justified and consider factors like the nature and severity of the crime in assessing prospective tenants before excluding someone.

Mr. Castro said housing bans against former offenders were common.

“Right now, many housing providers use the fact of a conviction, any conviction, regardless of what it was for or how long ago it happened, to indefinitely bar folks from housing opportunities,” Mr. Castro said in a statement. “Many people who are coming back to neighborhoods are only looking for a fair chance to be productive members, but blanket policies like this unfairly deny them that chance.”

The new federal housing guidance applies a legal standard that was upheld by the United States Supreme Court last year that allows plaintiffs to challenge housing practices that have a discriminatory effect without having to show discriminatory intent. The ruling allows plaintiffs to show instead that the practices both have a “disparate impact” on racial groups and are not justified. Blacks and Latinos are arrested, convicted and imprisoned in disproportionate numbers, and civil rights groups say they face equally disparate discrimination in finding housing.

Federal housing officials said the guidance was meant to emphasize to landlords that blanket bans are illegal, as well as to inform housing applicants of their rights. Housing officials said they can investigate violations and bring discrimination charges against landlords that could result in civil penalties for them, and damages for a person denied housing.

Lawyers who represent former prisoners said they expected HUD’s stance to lead landlords to revise their screening policies to avoid litigation. The guidance, which is similar to an instruction federal officials already have for public and subsidized housing, could also lead to more and stronger lawsuits against those who continue to deny housing based on criminal history.

“The agency in charge of interpreting the Fair Housing Act agrees with us, and that will have a lot of weight,” said John P. Relman, a lawyer and specialist in housing discrimination cases who is representing the social services group Fortune Societyin a federal lawsuit against a rental complex in New York City over screening policies.

Source – nytimes.com 

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To learn more about the latest property management news affecting you, or to learn more about Houston Texas Property Management contact Vestpro Residential Services today by contacting us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

 

 

Posted by on April 11, 2016 in Rental News

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Houston Texas Rents to Flatten in 2016

Humble Texas Renter

HOUSTON, TX. – After months of rent increases thanks to the booming economy many experts are predicting that rents will start to flatten out in 2016 and the rapid increases that we’ve seen over the last 12 months will soon become a thing of the past.

This is good news for the Houston Rental Market since the area has certainly been hit hard since the drop in oil prices but the question is will slower rental appreciation actually help renters since rents have been increasing faster than incomes over the last 24 months?

National median rent at the end of 2015 was $1,381, and is expected to increase slightly to $1,396 over the next 12 months.

The slowdown in rents means that, by the end of the year, they will be rising at a slower pace than incomes in many markets.

In December, home values rose 4 percent to a Zillow Home Value Index of $183,500.

Rent appreciation will level off over the next 12 months, slowing to an annual rate of 1.1 percent by December 2016, according to the new Zillow® Rent Forecasti. The national Zillow Rent Indexii at the end of 2016 is projected to be $1,396 — compared to $1,381 in December 2015.

Zillow is forecasting a decrease in the rate of rental appreciation amid a rental affordability crisis that has renters in some markets spending almost half of their income on rent.  Some of the fastest growing metros had double-digit annual rental appreciation at the end of 2015.

Zillow expects rental appreciation to slow down most significantly in Nashville, Tenn., San Francisco, Portland, Ore. and Denver. Rents in San Francisco saw 12.5 percent appreciation in 2015. Zillow forecasts rent in San Francisco will grow half as fast in 2016 — 5.9 percent.

Even with the slowdown, rents will remain unaffordable in many of the major markets across the U.S., especially on the West Coast. Renters in San Francisco and Los Angeles can expect to spend 40 percent of their income on a rental paymentiii.

“Hot markets are still going to be hot in 2016, but rents won’t rise as quickly as they have been,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell.

“The slowdown in rental appreciation will provide some relief for renters who’ve been seeing their rents rise dramatically every single year for the past few years. However, the situation remains tough on the ground: rents are still rising and renters are struggling to keep up.”

The slowdown in rental appreciation indicates that supply of new multi-family homes is catching up to demand. Substantial new housing supply is becoming available in Atlanta, Denver, Portland, Seattle, and other markets.

The Zillow Home Value Index rose 4 percent year-over-year in December 2015, to $183,500, according to the Zillow® December Real Estate Market Reports.

Source – rentalhousingjournal.com 

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For more information about the Houston Texas rental market or for Houston Texas Property Management contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or CLICK HERE to connect with us online. 

 

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Rental Property Maintenance – Why It Really Matters

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Maintenance is one of the biggest things that most owners don’t budget for over the course of one year and sadly many people find themselves scrambling for money when their tenant calls to tell them that the water heater has gone out.

One maintenance call after another: when does it end? When you’re a property manager, maintenance costs can eat up a significant portion of your budget. However, you don’t need to get to a crisis point. If you’re wondering how to reduce your maintenance and repair costs, being proactive rather than reactive can yield the savings you need.

Avoid Extra Fees: Get There Before the Crisis Hits

We’ve all been there: the water heater cracks or the furnace quits in the middle of a winter’s night. These emergency repairs can be expensive. While these types of situations happen, being proactive with your repair and maintenance schedule can help you get there before the crisis hits and avoid huge emergency call-out fees. If larger troubles do arise, keep your warranties handy. Net Integrity recommends spending the extra money on warranties when purchasing large appliances, such as refrigerators or water heaters. The cost of expensive repairs or replacements will far outweigh the small expense you’ll pay upfront.

Ongoing Care Can Reduce Rental Property Maintenance Costs

Regular property maintenance includes everything from annual checkups for ACs and furnaces, assessing decks, railings and steps for repairs, and inspecting roofs for loose shingles. All of these services and more are items that you probably outsource, and all of them are activities that each of your properties will need one or more times a year. Being consistent about your rental property maintenance not only keeps you from being surprised by larger fees, it also allows you to set up a consistent fee schedule with your vendors. Standardizing your costs for specific repair and maintenance activities helps you manage your budget.

Source – Property Ware

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For professional Houston Texas Property Management contact RPM Central Valley today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

 

 

Posted by on March 2, 2016 in Maintenance

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