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Board approves changes to the TAA Lease Contract

Synopsis

The latest round of proposed changes to the TAA Lease Contract will be incorporated as of January 1, 2020. The TAA Board of Directors approved the changes at its Fall meeting October 25.


Key takeaways

  • The Texas Apartment Association Board of Directors approved changes to TAA lease contracts in late October. Revised forms will be available in January.
  • Changes included revisions to the late fees language in paragraph 6, including simplified language and streamlined provisions relating to when a late fee may be collected.
  • Other changes in Paragraph 21 will allow booting of vehicles and clarify provisions on towing when an unauthorized vehicle is parked in a reserved parking spot.
  • The revised leases will also include streamlined provisions relating to disclosure of data to provide more discretion in sharing and using resident information.

The Texas Apartment Association Board of Directors considered and approved changes to TAA’s leases and related forms at its fall meeting October 25. The approved lease forms and related addenda will be released for use in the TAA Click & Lease program on January 1, 2020. Printed forms will be available through local associations in January.

Here are seven important changes the Board approvedThe lease form changes can be found on the TAA website.

  1. Dates. At the top of Page 1, the line for the “Date of Lease Contract” is removed to simplify and avoid confusion with the date the lease is actually signed. The date at the bottom of Page 8 is being modified to make clear that it refers to when the Lease was signed by the resident.
  2. Payment locations. In Paragraph 6 “Rent and Charges,” owners will be able to check more than one box to show locations where payment should be made.
  3. Late Fees. Also in Paragraph 6 “Rent and Charges,” the provisions relating to late fees have been simplified and streamlined in the following ways: (1) changed all references from “late charges” to “late fees” to track the statute; (2) the sentence relating to the statutory grace period to impose a late fee was removed; (3) a parenthetical with “(3rd or greater)” was added to the introductory sentence to signal to the owner that the earliest date that can be filled in is the 3rd, which allows for a late fee to be collected on the 4th of the month; and (4) the 15-day cap on daily late fees was removed.

Here is the new paragraph 6 language:

Late Fees.

If you don’t pay rent in full by 11:59 p.m. on the ____ day (3rd or greater) of the month, you must pay us the following initial late fee immediately and without demand in addition to the unpaid rent:

 _____ % of one month’s rent or  $_____.

In addition, you must pay a daily late fee of $_____ per day or ____% of one month’s rent per day for _____ days until rent and late fees are paid in full.

Be sure to check out the recording of TAA’s late fees webinar as well as the revised REDBOOK articles and Q&A, all of which are available in TAA REDBOOK Online, and consult your attorney to ensure your late fees are in compliance with the new law.

  1. Data. Paragraph 18 now clarifies that if someone asks for information about a resident or a resident’s rental history for law enforcement, governmental or business purposes, an owner may, but is not obligated to, share or transfer information relating to the lease for those purposes.
  2. Towing & Booting. Paragraph 21 defines what is meant by an “unauthorized” or “illegally parked” vehicle, and now gives the management the right to tow or boot those vehicles. Section 21(i) was revised to clarify that a resident may be towed or booted for parking in someone else’s reserved parking spot.

Remember that the Texas Towing and Booting Act includes additional statutory requirements for the booting of vehicles, with proper notice. You should carefully review the chart in TAA’s REDBOOK entitled “Towing Restrictions and Requirements.”

  1. Notice of Termination for Disaster or Catastrophic Loss. The number of days required to give notice of termination due to natural disaster or catastrophe is being changed from 5 days to 7 days. With this new lease change, the date of effective lease termination needs to be at least seven days after the date of the notice of termination.

Keep in mind that terminations in these situations should be limited to those where the unit has become totally unusable as a practical matter for residential purposes and there are health or safety concerns should the resident continue to reside in the unit. See Section 92.054 of the Texas Property Code, Paragraph 26 of the TAA Lease and related REDBOOK forms and materials for more information.

  1. Responsibilities upon eviction. Paragraph 32 labeled “Default by Resident” addresses available remedies if your resident defaults, and it highlights the process you must follow in order to end the resident’s right of occupancy by giving a notice to vacate and file an eviction suit. Paragraph 40 labeled “Security Deposit Deductions and Other Charges” outlines a detailed list of potential security deposit deductions and other charges for which the resident is liable. Residents are responsible for any charges that are applicable, including a charge (not to exceed $150) to cover the time, cost and expense in a lawful removal of any animal or in any eviction proceeding against the resident. To emphasize this provision, it is being moved from Paragraph 40 to Paragraph 32.5 near the other provisions relating to defaulting residents.

In addition to the revised forms release in TAA Click & Lease, revised versions of printed leases and other select forms will also be available from your local association beginning January 1, 2020. If you have any questions about forms revisions or how you can access revised forms, please contact communications@taa.org.

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