In Spring 2013, an Austin Homeowner entered into a 12-month lease with a professional couple to rent her large, multistory mansion located on the lakefront of Lake Travis.

The Tenants lived in the house through the summer and fall of 2013, but in December the Tenants purchased a new home and decided to vacate the mansion. Although the Tenants had five months remaining on the lease, they sent the Homeowner a notice of termination, demanding the full return of their security deposit plus thousands of dollars in compensation for attorneys fees they had allegedly incurred in drafting the notice.

The Tenants also claimed that they were entitled to terminate the lease early because a piece of wood from a dock had come loose and narrowly missed their boat, and the mansion had been without hot water in the master bathroom for almost 24 hours.

In an apparent attempt to intimidate the Homeowner, the Tenants retained a lawyer to draft a lawsuit against the Homeowner for damages, costs and attorney fees. In early January 2014, the Homeowner received a copy of the lawsuit, and she hired Pete Reid Law to defend her in the dispute.

Pete Reid argued that the Tenants had signed a valid lease and that it was the Tenants who would have to pay damages. Mr. Reid told the Tenants’ lawyer that if he disagreed then the parties needed to set a date for trial immediately. Initially the Tenants remained uncooperative so Pete Reid drafted a counter-suit against them for the remaining rent payments and attorneys’ fees. Shortly thereafter, the Tenants began to change their position.

Ultimately, Pete Reid Law forced the tenants to concede that they were not entitled to terminate the lease. Instead, a settlement was reached whereby the Tenants would continue to pay rent in full for the remaining five months of the lease, plus costs to the Homeowner. The Homeowner was pleased with the outcome, and she was proud of the fact that Pete Reid Law stood up for her rights, and stood up to the intimidation.