Contracts & Leases

Commercial / Corporate / Business

No one ever enters into a business transaction expecting things to go wrong. Much like a marriage, people agree to do business with others that they like and trust, with the expectation that all parties want the same outcome. Then, life happens.

Owning a business is complicated enough without having to deal with legal issues. An understanding of the complex relationships that can exist between business owners, their employees, clients and suppliers is crucial to avoiding and resolving conflicts. All important business relationships and transactions should have a well thought out contract that clearly sets out the terms of the agreement in a way that helps avoid future disputes.

Our lawyers provide expertise in corporate and commercial law to our business clients, large or small. Walter Law Firm, PC has extensive experience in preparing, negotiating and litigating contracts in business and real estate transactions. We handle declaratory judgment actions for interpretation of contracts and property rights, disputes between business partners and shareholders, as well as enforcement of contract and lease rights, including repossessions, warranties, usury, covenants not to compete, and tortious interference claims.

Construction

Mechanic’s & Materialman’s Lien

Walter Law Firm is experienced in representing contractors, engineers, builders, developers and property owners. Under the Texas Property Code, one who furnishes labor or materials to improve real property is entitled to obtain a Mechanic’s and Materialman’s Lien (sometimes called an M&M lien or a Mechanic’s lien). A Mechanic’s Lien gives a builder, contractor or supplier legal leverage to get paid for their work as well as for the materials and supplies purchased for a project. Since the statutory requirements are strict, and the deadlines for filing are short, please do not cause yourself substantial losses by filing an M & M Lien by yourself to save attorney fees. Our law firm can compute the deadlines, prepare and file the lien, send the required notices, and file enforcement actions to foreclosure of the lien.

Real Estate &
Title Disputes

Individual and Business Litigation

Walter Law Firm, PC represents plaintiffs and defendants in real estate and title litigation. We represent homeowners, commercial property owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, home owners’ associations, buyers, sellers, brokers, architects, engineers, landlords and tenants, in both residential and commercial property litigation. We handle real estate contracts, adverse possession claims (sometimes called “squatter’s rights”), boundary disputes, and suits over the title and possession of real estate. In addition, residential property management is available through our associated brokerage, Key Trek Realty.

Collections

Debt Collection and Judgment Enforcement

Collecting debts is critical to the cash flow of any business. As part of our business, we assist clients in recovering past due receivables. Our willingness to take cases to trial is additional leverage to negotiate the best deal for our clients. Whenever warranted, we assert claims for breach of contract, fraud, Deceptive Trade Practices, or other statutory claims to maximize the recovery to our client. Our firm represents financial institutions and other creditors in suits on promissory notes, deficiency claims, sequestration, and sworn account matters, and has successfully litigated cases for many clients in collecting money owed following entry of judgment. Walter Law Firm, PC is skilled in

Deceptive Trade Practices

Assertion and Defense of Claims

Under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), a consumer is one who seeks or acquires goods or services by purchase or lease. Because of this broad definition, the DTPA covers virtually any kind of commercial activity in which there has been a misrepresentation to the consumer. A violation requires only that a person or company suffer damages due to a “deceptive act or practice… in or affecting commerce,” which can include a breach of warranty or any unconscionable act or practice. The most frequent claims under the DTPA “laundry list” of violations involve the following types of misrepresentations:

  • passing off goods or services as those of another
  • causing confusion or misunderstanding as to the source, sponsorship, approval or certification of goods or services
  • causing confusion or misunderstanding as to the affiliation, connection, or association with or certification by, another
  • representing that the goods or services have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, or quantities which they do not have or that a person has a sponsorship, approval, status affiliation or connection which a person does not
  • representing that goods are original or new if they are deteriorated, reconditioned, reclaimed, used or secondhand
  • representing that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality, or grade, or that goods are of a particular style or model, if they are of another
  • representing that a guaranty or warranty confers or involves rights or remedies which it does not have or involve

In addition, there are many other misrepresentations that may be grounds for a DTPA claim, as long as the consumer has relied to their detriment on the misrepresentation.

Where the court finds that the misrepresentation was made “knowingly,” up to three times the consumer’s actual damages can be awarded, in addition to attorneys’ fees, interest and costs of court.

A claim under the DTPA must be filed within 2 years, and typically begins with a demand letter, 60 days before suit is filed. This delay is intended to allow the Defendant to inspect the materials and determine whether the claim should be settled. While many consumer claims are covered under the DTPA, there are limits, and the statute will not apply to:

  • ads in newspaper, magazine, broadcast station, or billboard
  • professional services, including those of a real estate broker or sales person, (unless the misrepresentation was unconscionable, or there is a failure to disclose information or a misrepresentation of a material fact); or
  • contracts for more than $100K, not involving consumers residence AND consumer was represented by counsel.

DTPA claims are often joined with claims for breach of contract, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, or fraudulent inducement, which means that the client may have more than one way to recover in the same suit. It is important that both claimants and defendants seek counsel who is knowledgeable about how the DTPA applies in their case, and interacts with other claims.

Landlord/Tenant

Commercial and Residential Tenancy Rights

When conflict arises in a landlord/tenant relationship, either can find it necessary to contact a lawyer about lease terms that are suddenly in dispute. Walter Law Firm, PC assists both landlords and tenants by advising them about the rights and responsibilities of each party. Our real estate lawyers are skilled in the enforcement of lease rights and remedies in both commercial and residential properties, including evictions and recovery of damages that are the result of landlord or tenant breach.

One of the most frequent conflicts between landlords and tenants are forcible detainer actions – otherwise known as evictions. An eviction must be filed first in the Justice of the Peace Courts, and is primarily about determining which has the right to possession of the property. The landlord can seek not only possession of the property but also unpaid rent, late fees and legal fees. Tenants cannot bring a counterclaim in an eviction, and the Justice of the Peace does not have authority to determine title to the property. Either party can appeal the decision of the Justice of the Peace to the county court, where the case is heard again. However, in an appeal to the Court of Appeals, the issue of possession can only be heard for residential properties.

Our lawyers are skilled in all aspects of real estate law—from drafting, reviewing and negotiating the terms of a lease agreement for commercial or residential landlords/tenants to fighting to protect client’s rights in a lawsuit.

Fraud

Intentional Misrepresentation

Legally, fraud happens when someone makes a material misrepresentation of fact to induce someone else to take some action. A misrepresentation can be a false statement of fact, a promise of future performance made with an intent at the time the promise was made not to perform as promised, a statement of opinion that the maker knows to be false, or a failure to disclose facts when there is a duty to disclose them. Unlike a claim under the DTPA, to recover in a fraud claim, the misrepresentation must be intentional. Therefore, fraud can be difficult to prove. However, if proven, exemplary damages may be recovered. For some types of fraud, attorneys fees are also recoverable.

Fraud claims are often brought together with claims for breach of contract, Deceptive Trade Practices, and/or conversion, since the same facts may allow for recovery under more than one type of claim.

Other Cases

Business and Civil Litigation

Walter Law Firm, PC practices all aspects of civil and business litigation for individuals and organizations throughout Texas. Our mission is to provide our clients with the best possible legal representation through zealous and personal attention to each clients needs and objectives. The firm has knowledgeable paralegals and engages outside experts as needed to ensure that each client receives fair and passionate representation at every stage of the judicial process. Our seasoned lawyers provide an initial consultation with a view toward early settlement of a case, if attainable. If not, our litigation team prides itself on delivering a superior effort to resolve the case quickly through mediation, summary judgment, arbitration, trial and/or appeal to obtain favorable results for the client. It feels good to Prevail!

Key Trek Realty

Residential Proerty Management

Do you have a home or investment property that you are interested in renting, purchasing or
selling?

Do you need to move out of the city but want to retain your home or investment property here
in Houston?

Do you currently have rental property and need to turn over the details to a property manager?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, call today to find out how to maximize your residential property investment by hiring Key Trek Realty to manage your property. For a small, flat monthly fee, Key Trek Realty will give you peace of mind by absorbing all the stress of collecting rent and late fees, handling repair requests, maintaining the property, tracking lease renewals and any related details of handling your real estate investment property. We are here for you and your tenants!

When leasing a residential property, commissions equal to one month’s rent are payable when the property is leased. Key Trek Realty will determine an appropriate rent amount based on similar properties, take photos, measure the property, list the property on MLS and other online services, place a sign on the property and if possible, place flyers in an information tube with the sign. We then handle the phone calls, show the property, review the applications, qualify the prospective tenants, prepare the lease and transfer possession of the property.

Despite the best efforts of landlords and property managers, occasionally, you may have to deal with a problem tenant. In most cases, this means that the tenant isn’t paying rent timely. If an eviction is necessary, the lawyers at Walter Law Firm, PC can evict the non-paying tenant so that your investment property can go back to producing cash flow and profit to build your portfolio for retirement.

Contact us to learn how we can represent you and to schedule an appointment.