Did I break my lease ?
Even good renters that stay out of trouble can sometimes find themselves in hot water. People often break their lease without even knowing why or intending to do so. Here are eight of the most common ways that people accidentally break their leases.
Not Replacing Filters, Light Bulbs and Batteries
There is a section on most Texas leases that outlines the tenant’s responsibilities in maintaining the property. These include changing out HVAC filters once a month, replacing burn out light bulbs and making sure fire alarms have juiced up batteries. If you fail to uphold the maintenance requirements you could lose your deposit and be in breach of your lease.
Getting a Dog
If you find yourself with dog fever after you’ve moved into a place chances are you’ll be breaking your lease if you get one – even if the apartment or property allows pets. There are a lot of things related to having a pet on the premise, including pet deposit, insurance and making sure the property is properly secured. If the pet is not listed on the lease when it’s signed you’ve just broken your lease.
Re keying a Lock
Unless you have gotten permission from your landlord in writing or the lease says the tenant can replace a lock, re-keying any of the locks is strictly prohibited. If you do so you’ll be in default and the landlord can use a number of remedies including termination of the lease.
Not Getting Adequate Renters Insurance
Some leases will outline renter’s insurance requirements. Often they are specific about the amount of liability and property coverage you need to have. If you get renters insurance but it’s not enough to meet the required amount you could be in breach of your lease.
Letting People Stay over Long Term
In most Texas leases the landlord will specify how long a non-occupant can stay at the property. Unless you get their written permission, guests can’t stay past the amount of time specified in the lease or you’ll be in default.
Not Giving Proper Notice That You’re Moving Out
Typically a lease will renew automatically or go to a month-by-month lease basis unless the landlord or tenant notifies the other with a written notice of termination. If you’re planning on moving out but haven’t supplied the written notice at least 30 days ahead of time you’ll still be under contract. Not paying the rent even if you’re no longer living there could put you in breach of contact.
Installing Cables, Alarm Systems or Satellites
Installing the items above can alter the property and therefore are prohibited in many leases. If you decide to upgrade your cable, TV or internet services contact your landlord first to discuss installation or you could find yourself defaulting on your contract.
White Lies on Your Lease
When you fill out the lease application you’ll be asked a lot of questions about your employment and past living situations. If you provide misinformation, even on accident, it could be grounds for breaking your lease. Double check everything before writing it down, and if you find that you provided misinformation let the landlord know ASAP so you can get the paperwork amended.