If you have rented a commercial property, you have certain rights. If the landlord failed to disclose a condition on the property that makes it unsuitable or substantially impairs your ability to use the property, you may have a remedy under the Texas Deceptive Practices Consumer Protection Act (DTPA).
The DTPA prohibits breaching essential warranties, unconscionable acts, and false, misleading or deceptive acts that consumers rely upon to their detriment. It is intended to be applied liberally to protect the consumer. Moreover, you may be able to get triple your actual damages, if the court deems appropriate.
A wide variety of deceptive behavior is covered by the DTPA, ranging from passing off someone else’s merchandise as your own to false advertising to failing to disclose crucial information in a consumer transaction. Sit down with an attorney to discuss whether misrepresentations or failures to disclose key facts affected your lease.
You need to send a complaint letter
Before you can file a lawsuit under the DTPA, you will need to send a registered or certified letter to the landlord explaining what is wrong and seeking damages. This letter must be reasonably detailed as to your complaint and the damages you are seeking. Then, if you do not receive the amount requested within 60 days, you can file suit.
There are a variety of remedies available under the DTPA:
- Economic damages
- Mental anguish damages
- Treble damages (triple the total of compensatory damages) if the landlord’s conduct was committed knowingly or intentionally
- An injunction
- A restoration order
- The appointment of a receiver
- License or business certificate revocation
- Interest, court costs and attorney’s fees
- Any other relief the court determines is proper
If your landlord misrepresented the condition of your space in a material way, you may fear there is nothing you can do. Discuss your situation with an attorney who handles real estate law and understands the DTPA.