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Can a written lease agreement be modified orally

Houston, TX |
Filed under: Landlord-tenant law

I have a written lease agreement for a storage unit that specifies 30 notice to vacate. I forgot. I called to give notice and asked specifically if there was anything else I needed to do. I was told no.
I ended up not giving the 30 day notice.
Does this "agreement" orally supercede the written agreement.
While disputing the property mgr specifically told me that the owner "encourages not to mention the 30 notice" to keep the deposit.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    Despite what the Illinois attorney advised, a lease in Texas can be modified orally. The lease can be modified orally even if the lease states that there can be no oral modifications. The lease can be modified orally even if the lease states that any changes have to be in writing. Texas courts have held that the parties can orally agree to waive provisions requiring written changes or that there be no oral changes.

    The problem with oral agreements or changes is proving them. In your instance, there does not appear to be an oral agreement that specifically dispensed with the 30 day notice provision. You appear to back into such an agreement through an omission.

    Now, if the whole process appears to be deceptive or unconscionable, the storage company may have committed a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Texas Business & Commerce Code sections 17.41, et seq. ("DTPA"). You may be able to negotiate a satisfactory resolution by writing a letter by certified mail to the storage company providing notice of a violation of the DTPA through deceptive or unscionable conduct. If you were to prevail in a DTPA claim and the violation was knowing or intentional, you could recover up to three times your damages.

    You will probably need an attorney to help you with the DTPA notice letter, but that will probably eat up the amount in dispute.

    Good luck.


  2. A written lease agreement cannot be modified orally. If thirty days notice is written down you cannot just forget that. An oral agreement does not amend a writing.


  3. I agree with Mr. Erickson's analysis.

    Also, please ignore posts from out of state hyper-posters who are often, very often, wrong on the law as it exists in Texas.

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