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removing and storing your property after your death). If you give your landlord this information and you also give your landlord a copy of the Property Code section governing this matter, your landlord will be liable for the actual damages that result from failure to comply with these requirements.

Hold Deposits Sometimes people place a deposit on an apartment or house so a landlord will not lease the unit to anyone else. This deposit is not a “security deposit” and does not become a "security deposit" unless that is specified in an agreement between the landlord and the tenant, for example in the rental application. Rather, this deposit is part of an agreement (often a rental application) between the landlord and the depositor that guarantees the depositor will be able to rent the dwelling and assures the landlord that if the depositor decides not to sign a lease, the landlord will be able to keep the money. In other words, if a person puts down a deposit to hold an apartment or house, that person cannot change her mind in a week or so and expect the landlord to refund the entire deposit. The amount the landlord can lawfully keep will depend on the agreement between the parties, the length of time the depositor took to change her mind, and the actual damage suffered by the landlord. In addition, a landlord must refund an application deposit to an applicant if the applicant is rejected as a tenant. An applicant is deemed rejected by the landlord if the landlord does not give notice of acceptance on or before the seventh day after the applicant submits a completed rental application to the landlord, or on or before the seventh day the landlord accepts an application deposit if the landlord does not furnish the applicant an applicant form. A landlord who in bad faith fails to refund an application deposit is liable in court for $100, three times the amount of the application deposit, and reasonable attorney’s fees.

Don't Use Deposit as Last Month's Rent You must not withhold any portion of the last month's rent on grounds that the security deposit serves as security for the unpaid rent. [There are exceptions if you lawfully terminated the lease because of a landlord's failure to repair or pay the utility bills.] If you fail to abide by this requirement, you can be liable to the landlord for three times the amount of the rent that was wrongfully withheld and for reasonable attorney's fees.

enant’s Right regarding Emergencies, Family Violence, and Military Service A landlord may not prohibit or limit a tenant’s right to summon police or other emergency assistance in response to family violence. In addition, the landlord may not impose any penalties, monetary or otherwise, on a tenant who summons such assistance. Any written provisions in the lease purporting to modify the above rights and duties of the tenant and landlord are void. If a landlord violates your rights under this provision, you will be entitled in court to one month’s rent, actual damages, court costs, attorney’s fees, and injunctive relief. A landlord should also not evict, threaten to evict, or fail to renew


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