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Is a residential lease executed by one who doesn't own the property (and isn't owners agent) binding against tenant?

Amarillo, TX |

I signed a residential lease in Nov. 2011 as tenant. Landlord (defined as owner of the property) was only identified by a last name. Property management company signed on behalf of "owners last name". At the end of the lease, I got into a deposit dispute and sued in JP. I identified Landlord by tax roll. Landlord counterclaims for damage plus atty fees and wins in JP. I appeal to CC. I have now discovered (county clerk recs) that the person I sued was the true owners daughter, and that as of the date of the lease, landlord had no interest in the property, but acquired the property in Jan 2013. Assuming mgt. co. didn't have an agreement w/ true owner, am I bound by the lease? Particularly the atty fee provision? Could I successfully sue for the rent I paid to the wrong person?

Lease was on standard TREC form. I am 100% certain regarding non-ownership. I put in a request for production any contracts between 'landlord' and third parties, co-owners, etc. They responded that was not relevant and did not produce anything. I'm mostly concerned that they're going to claim an oral property management agreement between purported 'landlord' and her mother, the true owner. Second most concern is that judge 86's my amended petition (filed today) which adds fraud, dtpa, fdcpa claims and adds the property mgt. co and its employee as defendants. Trial is supposed to be March 6. Whaddya think?

Attorney Answers 2


Two points that come to mind, first: to get a motion to compel production in front of the judge (good time to assess the judge's attitude about your case), second: consider asking for mediation (if not agreed, then ask for court to so order).

Also, I am not at this time the lawyer for you and I am making assumptions about the facts. I am easy enough to find to talk this through. But, if you were in my family then I would want you to have local counsel.

The foregoing comments are provided for informational purposes only, and without a fee agreement and fees paid there is no attorney-client relationship being made and no legal services will be provided now or later.

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It will be easier to contact an attorney versus waiting for a good answer to your very specific question with unanswered questions.

In short, agents can sign for landlords. You need to make sure you sue the right person. It's probably a good idea to hire an attorney.

The above statements are provided as general information and not intended as legal advice. Each matter has its own set of unique circumstances that cannot be adequately addressed without consultation. You are strongly advised to hire an attorney licensed to practice law in your state to represent you.

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