Contract by email? Legal in TX?

Hi, first, this issue is in TX so I would like to hear from folks that know TX contract law - Thanks in advance!

Here is my scenario, I have a property leased to a tenant. Under that lease, the tenant is responsible for repairs. The heater went out. He did not have enough funds to repair it and me, being the nice landlord I am, agreed to front the repair only if the tenant agrees to a Prommisory Note for the amount of the repairs. I charged no interest and only added clauses for late fee’s and spread the payments over three months. I sent an email to the Tenant with the full Prommisory Note for printing and signing and I stated the terms in the body of the email and asked for an immediate reply accepting/denying the terms. He responded stating he did accept the terms and would print, sign, send back.

Two days later, he refuses to sign and send me the Prommisory Note stating I violated the law. So, now the issue is he says I violated landlord law by making him responsible. I will explore this further with my attorneys however they have reviewed the lease agreements in the past so I am hoping I am ok.

The main question is: Is an email reply stating he accepts the terms a legal contract in TX? Can I hold him to it?

I am going to consult with my attorney’s after the holiday but any feedback you could provide would be helfpul too!

Thanks again and Merry Christmas!

He is probably correct in that you cannot make him responsible for repairs. I don’t know of any state that allows that, except in commercial tenancies. Typically, the tenant is responsible for any damage caused by abuse or neglect. The LL pays for everything else.

There are some landlords in Texas that try this - and get rich quick guys like Dale Walmsley push it. However I’ve been told by a lawyer it is illegal to do that with residential leases in Texas and probably the only way you’ll find out is if/when you go to court over the terms of the lease OR consult a well educated Texas real estate lawyer.

Yes you can have the tenant responsible for repairs. The Texas Real estate commission lease has a section that states that the tenant is responsible for the first blank dollars of repairs. Most landlords put $50 in that blank. I put $300 in that blank. But it is still my house and I expect to repair anything that goes out and the land lord is responsible to provide a habitable house. The way to do this properly is to make the tenant responsible for the first $300 but buy a home warranty and have the tenant call them and pay $45 deductable. But if they don’t pay the $45 you still have to get the house fixed.

Thx for the feedback everyone.

Great idea Bluemoon06!

I certainly want to do what is right and not be shady on my deals. I will try to post what I find out from my attorney.