<![CDATA[Ernie Garcia, Attorney at Law - Blog]]>Sun, 22 Oct 2017 12:03:14 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[The Home I Rent was Flooded by Harvey, What are my Repair Rights?]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 17:08:15 GMThttp://attorneyeg.com/1/post/2017/09/the-home-i-rent-was-flooded-by-harvey-what-are-my-repair-rights.html Within two days of the flood, I received multiple emails for help. One person said, “My rent house was completely flooded, and my landlord kicked me out. I have no place to go.”

Whether you are a Landlord or a Tenant, you have certain rights and obligations with a rent house after a natural disaster. For a quick review of your rights, read your written lease. You may also want to speak with a professional who practices Landlord/Tenant Law. For a free consultation, call (832) 305-7694.

How long does a Landlord have before repairs must be completed?

Do you have the right to terminate your Lease?

Can a renter withhold rent while repairs are pending?

What must a landlord do if a residential rental unit is uninhabitable?

Can hotel and food costs be refunded?

Don’t act without knowing the answers to your specific questions. Many answers are fact specific to your situation and to your lease. Don’t risk making yourself a target for an Eviction or a Repair & Remedy lawsuit.

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<![CDATA[THAT'S on my credit report? Now what?]]>Mon, 26 Dec 2016 19:55:54 GMThttp://attorneyeg.com/1/post/2016/12/thats-on-my-credit-report-now-what.htmlIn the market for a car or your first home? Do you know what's on your credit report?

You may find that your report is full of old claims, lost credit cards, or worse, accounts opened by identity thieves. Your credit report is your responsibility. Not only should you be familiar with what's on your credit report, it's up to you to make sure that anything that doesn't belong there is promptly removed.

There are three credit reporting agencies: Transunion, Equifax, and Experian. If your report reflects old or inaccurate information, you should contact the creditor and all three credit reporting agencies to make sure that your credit report is up-to-date.

Your credit score is important. Make sure you treat it that way. For information on obtaining a free credit report visit:

https://www.annualcreditreport.com

or call (877) 322-8228.
 

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<![CDATA[Can an HOA own your home for unpaid assessments?]]>Wed, 16 Nov 2016 19:09:10 GMThttp://attorneyeg.com/1/post/2016/11/can-and-hoa-own-your-home-for-unpaid-assessments.htmlThe short answer is "Yes."

State law allows a Home Owner's Association (or HOA) to sue you in state court to recover unpaid assessments. Additionally, you might be on the hook for late fees, interest, and various legal costs. A seemingly small yearly or monthly fee can quickly snowball into large sums of debt that an HOA can demand in court. If the debt remains unpaid, the HOA can eventually foreclose, and your home could belong to them.

That means that you may be perfectly up-to-date with your mortgage but a few hundred dollars behind with HOA assessments and lose your home. Don't get caught in an avalanche of debt. If you have been sued by an HOA for unpaid assessments or other violation of your deed covenants, give us a call before a court signs a judgment and you lose much more than you bargained for.

A lawsuit against you is not the end of the world, but it does mean that you have a limited amount of time to act. We have settled many of these types of lawsuits and usually find a way to keep home owners right where they belong. 
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<![CDATA[“MY SINK IS BROKEN!”  GETTING YOUR LANDLORD TO RESPOND]]>Mon, 27 Jan 2014 03:18:38 GMThttp://attorneyeg.com/1/post/2014/01/my-sink-is-broken-getting-your-landlord-to-respond.htmlWe see it almost every day: the number 1 mistake that tenants make when dealing with their landlords, property managers, and apartment complexes. We talk to tenants who are frustrated and angry about the lack of attention they’ve received regarding requests for repairs. So do they have any grounds to withhold rent? Any grounds for legal action? Unfortunately the typical answer is “no” – and it all comes down to the lease that you have signed.

The number one mistake that tenants make when making a repair request is HOW they make their request.  Tenants are often given a phone number to request all repairs.  But your lease probably requires your request to be made in writing.

But what if your apartment manager asked you to text? It doesn’t matter. What if your apartment complex has an online portal to submit requests for convenience? It doesn’t matter. You can use those things in tandem with your written notice. And be sure to keep a dated copy for yourself as proof that you’ve sent the notice.

So, are your repair requests guaranteed from there? Not quite. If you owe any amount of money in rent or fees, your landlord may be able to refuse your repair request. 

So what can I do to stand on my rights?  You’ve just asked a huge question.  Fortunately, we have the answers.  Don’t just put up with that broken sink!  Give us a call for a free confidential consultation to make sure that you are getting the most out of your lease.  

Legal Disclaimer

This blog site provides only general information about the law and does not, under any circumstances, constitute legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on these materials without first obtaining the advice of professional legal counsel.


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<![CDATA[YOU'VE BEEN EVICTED; NOW WHAT?]]>Mon, 09 Dec 2013 03:28:42 GMThttp://attorneyeg.com/1/post/2013/12/youve-been-evicted-now-what.htmlThe court is only allowed to give you 5 days after an eviction.  After 5 days, the landlord will have the right to obtain a Writ of Possession.  That grants the constables the authority to come to your residence, force you and all other occupants out, seize all of you personal property, and then auction that property for the benefit of your landlord.  

Don't let this happen.  You can either move out, or you can appeal.  To appeal, you'll have three options.

1.  Cash Bond.  You pay an amount set by the court, pay filing fees, and wait for the county to send notice of the new trial setting;

2.  Surety Bond.  You and another resident (who does not live with you) of Harris County swear to be bound to the judgment on appeal.  You  
pay filing fees and wait for the county to send notice of the new trial setting;

3.  Affidavit of Inability to Pay.  You file a sworn affidavit with the Court which explains why you are unable to pay the Cash Bond.  However, within five days, you must pay one month's rent into the Court's registry (and every future month until your appeal is heard).  If the Court accepts your affidavit, you pay no filing fees and wait for the county to send notice of the new trial setting.

While filing the appeal may give you additional time, it does nothing to remove the judgment from your record.  Talk to an attorney about how a negotiated settlement can help you move into your new home within a comfortable time frame and without the harm that comes from a judgment for eviction on your record.  

Legal Disclaimer

This blog site provides only general information about the law and does not, under any circumstances, constitute legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on these materials without first obtaining the advice of professional legal counsel.

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<![CDATA[DUDE, WHERE’S YOUR CAR?]]>Mon, 02 Dec 2013 02:52:46 GMThttp://attorneyeg.com/1/post/2013/12/dude-wheres-your-car.htmlIf you let someone drive your car and they get into an accident, can you be sued?

The short answer is, “Yes.” However, like many subjects in the law, it depends on a number of factors.

When you give someone permission to drive your vehicle, you are entrusting your vehicle to that person. You are ensuring others on the road that the person will drive your vehicle in a safe manner and in accordance with all traffic laws. However, if an entrustee gets into an accident, you may still be liable for the damage to another person and their vehicle.

So how can you be liable? To be liable for negligent entrustment a person suing you must prove

(1) that YOU entrusted a vehicle

(2) to an unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless driver;

(3) that you KNEW OF SHOULD HAVE KNOWN that the driver was unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless;

(4) the DRIVER was negligent on the occasion in question; and

(5) the driver’s negligence proximately caused the accident.

Therefore, in order to be held liable, not only must you be negligent in entrusting your vehicle, but the person who was driving your vehicle must be negligent too, and that negligence must have caused the accident. So, be wary of who drives your car, and the manner in which they are driving. If you should entrust your vehicle to someone you know is not a good driver, chances are you are liable for negligent entrustment.

Be aware who you let get behind the wheel! As for Insurance issues, that’s another beast altogether.

Legal Disclaimer

This blog site provides only general information about the law and does not, under any circumstances, constitute legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on these materials without first obtaining the advice of professional legal counsel.

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<![CDATA[YOU’RE MOVING OUT, BUT IS YOUR SECURITY DEPOSIT SECURE?]]>Mon, 25 Nov 2013 02:50:27 GMThttp://attorneyeg.com/1/post/2013/11/youre-moving-out-but-is-your-security-deposit-secure.htmlThis happens all the time. The lease for a rent house or an apartment is up. A deposit was paid, but the owner claims that none of the deposit will be returned. What are your rights?

Well, unless the owner has a valid legal justification, which is possible, you should probably get your deposit (or some portion of it) back. However, what happens if it turns out that the owner had no valid legal justification for withholding that deposit? Will a Texas court require the owner to pay up?

If your facts are right, the courts can award your deposit, your attorney fees, and a sizable penalty against an owner who illegally withholds a deposit. To know if your situation fits the recipe for civil recourse against a bad landlord, contact an attorney. You may be entitled to recover your lost deposit and more.

Legal Disclaimer

This blog site provides only general information about the law and does not, under any circumstances, constitute legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on these materials without first obtaining the advice of professional legal counsel.


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<![CDATA[HARASSMENT OR ANNOYANCE?]]>Mon, 18 Nov 2013 02:44:08 GMThttp://attorneyeg.com/1/post/2013/11/harassment-or-annoyance.html“An offense under [Section 42.07 of the Texas Penal Code] is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the actor has previously been convicted under this section."

So where is the line between irritating and harassing? It seems that too many people believe that they have been “harassed” when, for example, their neighbor rudely suggests that the dog should stop barking. Also, is your boss’s constant emailing at work harassment?

Consider the severity of the law when considering whether or not harassment has occurred.
Was any part of the Harassment….
Obscene,
A threat to inflict bodily injury,
Alarming & False,
or a Torment?
If not, you were not likely harassed. In fact, most people who claim harassment are simply victims of mere jerkiness, which is not necessarily against the law.

If, however, someone has crossed the line (and there is no simple test to know for sure), you may have a criminal and/or a civil action against them. Consult an attorney with your specific facts.

Legal Disclaimer

This blog site provides only general information about the law and does not, under any circumstances, constitute legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on these materials without first obtaining the advice of professional legal counsel.


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<![CDATA[DOWNLOADING FREE MUSIC IS LEGAL NOW, RIGHT? THE ANSWER IS USUALLY STILL “NO.”]]>Mon, 11 Nov 2013 03:03:03 GMThttp://attorneyeg.com/1/post/2013/11/downloading-free-music-is-legal-now-right-the-answer-is-usually-still-no.htmlIn 1999 Napster was created and the craze to download music started. Since that time numerous other sites have sprung into action allowing users to download and share music files. The Recording Industry of America took action and began suing those that illegally downloaded music files associating the act to that of theft of a CD. However, today there are numerous sites, like iTunes, that allow legal downloads of songs. These sites are created to allow the ease of downloading music with the rightful payment to the artists.

So, what if you’re downloading from a site that does not charge to acquire that song? Chances are you’re illegally downloading music and the penalties are severe. Making unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings is against the law and may subject you to civil and criminal liability. A civil law suit could hold you responsible for thousands of dollars in damages. Criminal charges may leave you with a felony record, accompanied by up to five years of jail time and fines up to $250,000. So, be safe when you’re downloading music. If you have to question whether your download is legal then it’s probably not.

Legal Disclaimer

This blog site provides only general information about the law and does not, under any circumstances, constitute legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on these materials without first obtaining the advice of professional legal counsel.


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<![CDATA[OLD DEBT? DOESN’T IT EVER GO AWAY?]]>Mon, 04 Nov 2013 02:58:18 GMThttp://attorneyeg.com/1/post/2013/11/old-debt-doesnt-it-ever-go-away.htmlWouldn’t it be nice to say “Goodbye!” to all of your credit card debt?  We sometimes get the feeling that debts, which have gone dormant, have actually gone away.  That’s not necessarily true.

While it’s generally true that certain debts must be sought within four years to be actionable in a lawsuit, consumers sometimes fall prey to schemes which restart the clock.  Often consumers roll old debts into new loans, restarting the time period for purposes of the statute of limitations.

If you are currently being sued, or if you  are being  threatened with a potential lawsuit, you should seek an attorney to see if a statute of limitations defense can be applied to your set of facts.  Can some debts be beaten?  Sure, but you’ll need to be certain that a good legal defense can be implemented with your particular debt.

Legal Disclaimer

This blog site provides only general information about the law and does not, under any circumstances, constitute legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on these materials without first obtaining the advice of professional legal counsel.


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