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How the lockout law can affect tenants

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2020 | Property Law

Filling retail spaces in strip malls, high rise buildings and standalone properties in Texas is the priority of landlords. For small to medium-sized businesses, keeping monthly payments up-to-date for space in these locations is often stressful. Maintaining an amicable relationship is critical for both parties. If you miss a payment, your landlord may take action that impacts your business long-term. We often work with tenants and ensure the protection of their rights.

According to the Austin Business Journal, a commercial landlord has multiple options when collecting overdue rent. Remedies include the following:

  • Lockout
  • Lawsuit for unpaid rent
  • Eviction
  • Charging late payment fees

Legal position

Under the Texas Property Code, a landlord can change the door locks if your rent is delinquent by even a single day. According to the law, a notice on the door must provide the contact information where you can obtain a new key. This is an extreme measure and can backfire if the landlord takes legal shortcuts. The negative consequences that affect you can also affect the landlord.

Detailed provisions

You can recover property or terminate your lease if the landlord wrongfully locks you out. Depending on the circumstances, you may also claim damages that exceed how much you owe. As a result, understanding the provisions of your lease and how they interact with the law is crucial.

Even if lockout is not stated as an option in the lease, the law allows for it. Contract provisions take precedence, which means the specified terms may inadvertently soften the law. It benefits all parties involved if you take steps to interpret the conditions of the lease correctly and keep the lines of communication open.