Leases and Re-Key Locks | Square Footage Resource | Inspector Referrals – A Michael Clapp Dagnabbit

1. I get questions concerning the re-keying of leased properties.  This same question appeared recently in the TAR blog:

A homeowner moved into a new home and asked me to list his vacated property for lease. The owner thinks he doesn’t have to re-key the locks since he has been the only occupant in the property since it was built. Is he required to re-key the locks when we lease the property?

Yes. The Texas Property Code requires that a landlord re-key the locks no later than the seventh day after each tenant turnover date. “Tenant turnover date” means the date a tenant moves into a dwelling under a lease after all previous occupants have moved out, according to Section 92.151(15) of the Property Code. In 1999, the legislature modified the definition of “tenant turnover date” to require the re-keying of locks each time any occupant moves out and a new tenant moves in. This means that your client, as the last occupant of the property, would have to re-key the locks no later than the seventh day after a new tenant moves into the home.

2. Square Footage resource.  It’s a constant battle to help our sellers disclose the most accurate source of square footage and likewise for our buyers.  When you take a listing we ask that our seller’s complete the Addendum to the Sellers Disclosure which instructs them to point to the most accurate source of square footage.  Note that “seller” is NOT a choice.  We want an independent third party to be the source – Appraisal District, Builders Plans, or an Appraisal.  Many times the appraisal district is off – both too big or too small and the seller doesn’t have the plans from the builder.  However, they may have refinanced their home in the past 7-5 years and that one page from their appraisal showing the livable square footage is sufficient.  If no source exist the best choice is to hire an appraiser ($125-$150) and have them measure the home.

3. Inspectors: Please give your buyers multiple choices as it relates to inspectors.  This isn’t just for the structural and mechanical inspection but also for pest, pool, septic, stucco, etc…  You never want to be accused of giving just one choice.  If you don’t have a resource – then send your seller to the web for choices.  Also, if you’re working with a buyer on a home that is more than 10 years old and it appears that the AC units are original, I recommend that they go ahead and include a HVAC inspection by a licensed AC company.  It’s likely that with units that old or older, the regular inspector will most likely recommend a further investigation by a HVAC contractor.  Why wait?  In the event that your buyer refuses to get a structural/mechanical or pest inspection on their own, then they MUST sign a Waiver of Inspection form (available on the office intranet).

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