My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Texas.
I had a one-year lease with my landlord in Austin(Aug 2010 - Jul
2011), with a 60-day termination notice. I was out of country from mid
May - early August. The lease was silent about renewal terms. The
landlord knew that I was out of country(likely in May, for sure by mid
I received a reminder phone call from my landlord on July 30, saying
i) my lease is about to expire, ii) she put the rent increase
notification on the door late May(when I was not living there) but did
not hear from me at all, iii) the lease is automatically converted to
month-to-month at $950(last year's monthly rent was $795) unless I
sign another annual lease with them, which makes the monthly rent $850
(still higher than the previous year's monthly rent). She said
month-to-month rent is much higher because they want to force people
to sign annual lease. She said that I can sign the annual lease
agreement when I come back to Austin.
I mailed a check for $850 right away, because I was out of country and
I was on such short notice to make a decision. She received it on
On August 3rd, I was able to find another property that is much
cheaper than their property(~$600). Because I have not officially
signed the renewal contract, I thought I would pay $100 more, also the
late fees regarding the delay of $100, to keep my lease as month to
month so that I can move out after giving them a 30-day notice. I sent
the checks and written notice by mail, on August 4th.
Today(8/8) I received a letter from them saying that my check for $850
essentially is an "acceptance" of the yearly lease and now I am bound
to a one-year lease. They said my additional pay doesn't count.
Am I bound to a one-year lease, merely with that one check? I didn't
say anything on the check that I am entering a one-year lease. Or am I
entitled to consider this as month-to-month because I have not signed
a lease contract for the one-year lease? I thought that typically
lease that is one year or longer requires a signed written contract.
Does the $850 check count as a "signed written contract" for one-year
I would appreciate your advice.