I have a former tenant that is trying to sue us because the did not receive their itemized list of repairs within the 30 days. Yet we never received any forwarding address to send it to.
A tenant has to provide a "written statement" of the forwarding address before the landlord is obligated to return the security deposit or provide an itemized list of deductions. Texas Property Code § 92.107.
I do not know of any case law on the issue of whether a text or email will suffice as a "written statement" in this situation. It would be up to the judge to decide. If the tenant can show that they sent you notice by text or email, especially if you responded and they have proof that you actually received the notice, I think the judge would find such notice sufficient and, further, that you acted in bad faith by not timely returning the deposit.
This is a general Q&A forum. The responses given are based on limited facts and are for informational purposes only. Should you desire legal advice specific to your situation, you should consult with an attorney in-person. Nothing in this response creates an attorney-client relationship.
I have seen texts introduced as evidence of written statements. Considering justice courts by their very nature are informal, they will often accept informal evidence. If you truly never received the forwarding address (even in text or e-mail), then you'll probably be okay. Otherwise, you could have an issue. You may want to consider hiring 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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