Requirements for Charging a Refundable Deposit •The steps the tenant must take to reclaim the deposit must be inwriting. •The tenant must be given a written description and itemization ofdeductions. •A checklist describing the condition of the rental unit must be filledout. The landlord and tenant must sign the checklist, and thetenant must be given a signed copy. Non-Refundable Fees A non-refundablefeeis a fee that will not be returned to the tenant underany circumstance, and this fee cannot legally be called a deposit. Thelandlord must provide the prospective resident with an itemized receipt fornon-refundable fees. An example of a non-refundable fee is theapplication/credit check fee that must not exceed $30.00. Example: In many large apartment buildings, securitydeposits are no longer required. Instead of a securitydeposit, a management company charges a non-refundable move-in or amenity fee that is less than thenormal security deposit. This new rental procedure___________________________________________________________ Unit 9: Contracts Used In Real Estate Transactions II338
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makes it easier for tenants and the managementcompany, because it eliminates disputes over theamount of deposits returned to tenants when the leaseexpires and the tenant moves out. Utilities The responsibility for payment of utilities (electricity, gas, water, andsewer) must be clearly stated in the lease. Sometimes the landlord paysfor some of the services, such as water, and the tenant pays for all otherutilities. Usually tenants pay for their own utilities in properties that haveindividually metered units. The tenant must pay connection, service, and usage fees for all utilitiesexcept for those specified by the landlord. The tenant is responsible forkeeping certain utilities on during the lease term; failure to do so willresult in default by the tenant. Gas, electricity, water, wastewater, andgarbage services are the minimum utilities that a tenant must maintainunless they are provided by the landlord. The tenant should ensure that allthe necessary utilities are available prior to signing the lease agreement. Premise Possession Texas requires that the landlord give the tenant occupancy of the premiseson the date described in the lease. If the property is still occupied by aprevious tenant, the landlord must take action to recover the property. Iflegal action is required to recover the property, the landlord is required topay all legal costs, but may recover damages from the tenant who is inwrongful possession of the property.Premises Use In a residential lease, the property may be used only as a private dwellingand blanks are provided in this section to list specific individuals who willreside on the property during the duration of the lease. The propertyowner may include a special clause in the lease to restrict use. In order tocomply with local ordinances, leases will require that the tenant refrainfrom abusing drugs or participating in gang activities on or about thepremises.
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