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A will doesn't deal with all property

Dec. 4, 2010 at 6:04 a.m.


By Richard Alderman

I moved into an apartment about six months ago. Before I moved in, my landlord and I agreed on the amount of rent and that I would stay for one year. Now my landlord wants to raise the rent. I told him we had a deal and he says it is not binding because we didn't put it in writing. Is he right?

As a general rule, agreements dealing with real estate, including a lease, must be in writing to be enforceable. Under Texas law, however, a residential lease for a year or less does not have to be in writing to be valid. Based on what you say, you and your landlord reached an agreement on a one-year lease. As far as the law is concerned, your lease agreement is as binding as a written one. I suggest you speak with the landlord.

I cashed a check at a local check cashing store. A week later the check was not paid and returned. The check cashing company is now requesting that I pay them back the money they gave me. Is this legal? Isn't this their problem?

The simple answer is you owe the check cashing company the money they paid you for the check. Whenever you "cash" a check at check cashing store you indorse it. By placing your endorsement on the check you are promising to pay if the check is returned. If the check bounces and is returned, you must pay the store who cashed the check, and the check will be returned to you. As far as the law is concerned, it is your problem, not the stores.

I am adopting a child. I know that the law requires that a person receive a leave when they have a child. Does this law apply to an adoption?

The law you are talking about is the Family and Medical Leave Act. Basically, this law entitles people who work for an employer with 50 or more employees up to 12 weeks unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. The law also applies to a personal or family emergency.

Richard Alderman, a consumer advocate popularly known as "the People's Lawyer," is a professor at the University of Houston Law School in Houston.

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