Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Texas
Rent per month: $450
Term (Months): 12
Commencement Date: August 1, 2010
Termination Date: July 31, 2011
SECURITY DEPOSIT (LAST FULL MONTH RENT): $400 already on deposit with LANDLORD
PERMITTED USE: Private Residence
UTILITIES: Utilities include, but are not limited to, all cost & expenses for electricity, water, sewer, cable television, internet, pest control and yard & landscape services and will be due and payable by TENANT on a monthly basis in the same manner as Rent in the amount of $135.00 per month, which is a balanced billing amount based upon a projected average to enable TENANT to budget accordingly. Should this amount change, TENANT will be promptly notified by LANDLORD.
This may not be possible to answer with this limited information, but there is no mention of rent and utilities being combined for a monthly lump sum amount in the lease. My "balanced billing" amount recently went up, which is obviously allowed per the lease, but I had a question for the landlord that he danced around and did not answer directly.
If, at the end of the lease, there is a material difference between the total balanced payments made, and the actual utilities incurred, could a refund/payment be required?
The reason I took issue with the increase is because I thought it may not be justified.
Thanks in advance.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Statute does not permit thelandlord to profit on the water, electricity, etc. He should be able to collect only what he pays. Ask him to show you the utility bils and the amount he collects for them annually. If he profits, as I recall there is a triple damage penalty.
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