Will a New Texas Lease Law Help Mitigate Human Trafficking?

texas commercial lease termination prostitution human traffickingA landlord who reasonably believes that a tenant operating under a commercial lease is using the premises, or allowing the premises to be used, for prostitution, the promotion of prostitution, compelling prostitution, or for human trafficking may file suit to obtain possession of the premises and unpaid rent.

The landlord in such a situation does not have to give (1) notice of proposed eviction or notice of termination before giving the required notice to vacate; or (2) more than three days’ notice to vacate before filing suit.

Texas already allows termination of a commercial or residential lease based upon a public indecency conviction. But now in some situations a landlord may obtain possession of commercial premises based on belief and without a criminally adjudicated determination or finding.

This new law, codified in Texas Property Code section 93.013, applies to all commercial leases entered into or renewed after August 31, 2017.

It does not apply to residential leases.

Are Construction Contracts Enforceable if Not in Writing?

The major players in the construction realm do not, as a general proposition, routinely rely upon oral contracts on complex projects because of the number of issues, parties, and stakes that are usually involved. On the other hand, some projects may be so small or simple (or any number of other reasons may exist) that they may not be perceived to warrant the time and effort required to prepare a written contract.

Regardless, are oral construction contracts enforceable?texas oral verbal construction contract statute of frauds

In Texas, oral construction contracts generally are enforceable. However, they are not enforceable if they fall into or constitute any one of several categories under the Texas Business & Commerce Code including, but not limited to (1) a contract involving the transfer of certain interests in real estate; or (2) an agreement which isn’t to be performed within one year from the date of making the agreement.

Verbal construction contracts may make sense and be relied upon in some situations. In other contexts, they should be avoided — not only because they may not be enforceable, but because there could be other consequences, too, which are not discussed here.

But the fact that an agreement has construction as its subject matter does not in and of itself dictate whether it is enforceable if it is not in writing.

Change in Foreclosure Sale Dates

Texas public foreclosure auctionPublic foreclosure sales in Texas currently take place on the first Tuesday of the month.

Under a new law effective September 2017, foreclosure auctions in the months of January and July will instead occur on the first Wednesday of those months if the first Tuesday falls on January 1 or July 4.

All public foreclosure sales must take place between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Mineral Interest Liens in Three Sentences

texas oil gas water mineral interest lienA person who furnishes labor or materials in connection with digging, drilling, operating, maintaining, completing, or repairing an oil, gas, or water well, or an oil or gas pipeline, mine, or quarry, is granted a lien to secure payment.

The lien is asserted by timely filing a proper affidavit in the records of the appropriate county clerk’s office.

The claimant must foreclose the lien by filing suit, if the claim isn’t otherwise paid.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Writs of Possession in Three Sentences

A writ is a written court order that commands the person to whom it is directed to perform, or refrain from performing, a specified act.

texas writ of possession

A writ of possession is a command often directed to a peace officer to remove people or items from property, or to dispossess people of property, and to deliver possession to another person.

Writs of possession may be issued in eviction cases, trespass to try title lawsuits, eminent domain actions, and other legal proceedings.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

The Family Violence Victim’s Right to Break a Lease

texas landlord tenant family violence residential leaseTexas Property Code section 92.016 allows a family violence victim to break a residential lease without incurring liability, under prescribed circumstances.

The victim may break the lease regardless of whether the offender occupies the leased premises with the victim.

The victim’s right to terminate the lease, vacate the dwelling, and avoid liability cannot be waived.

Look here for a short Q&A on the subject by The Texas Legal Services Center & Texas Partnership for Legal Access.

Our Tips & Resources posts are intended to provide general educational information. Like all other material on this blog, it is not a substitute for legal advice.