Know your rights

Q. Is it true that medical bills or accounts are not allowed to remain on your credit report for more than four years in the state of Texas?

A. It is not true. Medical bills are basically the same as any other debt. They stay on your credit report for seven years. There is a four-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for a debt; however, the fact that you cannot be sued does not mean you no longer owe the debt, and it will not become “obsolete” and removed from your credit report for seven years.

 

shadow

Q. I would like to know if the property manager of an apartment project can refuse to give the tenant the owner’s name if the tenant requests it.

A. According to the Texas Property Code, the landlord or property manager must disclose the name and address of the holder of record title after you request it. If the information is not disclosed, you could be entitled to $100 plus one month’s rent in damages, as well as attorney’s fees and court costs. I suggest you send your request by certified mail.

shadow

Q. Is an oral lease valid? I want to move early but my landlord says we have a valid lease for a year.

A. An oral lease for a year or less is just as enforceable as a written lease. Of course, the person who is trying to enforce the lease must prove the oral agreement exists. Maybe you can get the landlord to agree to terminate the lease early by forfeiting the security deposit or paying a month’s rent. If the landlord does not agree to terminate the lease, you may owe damages for moving out early.

 

shadow

Q. With all of the excitement surrounding the Texans getting into the playoffs, I notice some people are getting a Texans logo tattoo. Does the tattoo artist need to be licensed by the Texans to do this? Can the tattoo parlor be sued?

shadow

Q. We had our foundation repaired by a company that gave us a “lifetime warranty.” Now that it has cracked again they won’t even return our calls. We are not even sure if they are still in business. What are our legal rights? What kind of an attorney do we need?

shadow

Q. I went to buy a present to give someone for Christmas. The store told me that if she didn’t like it, she could exchange it, but there were no returns. I decided not to buy it because I was afraid she wouldn’t like it. The store was small without a lot of selection. Is it legal for a store to not allow you to return a gift and get a refund?

shadow
Richard Alderman

Q. My dog was injured while in the care of my groomer. It cost me over $700 in vet bills. The groomer refuses to take any responsibility for what happened and refuses to reimburse me for my expenses. What can I do? He won’t even give me the name of his insurance company.

shadow

Q. About two years ago, my wife and I ran into financial difficulty and made the choice to attempt to settle our credit card debt. Most creditors settled with us, but one credit card company wouldn’t settle, so we quit paying altogether. If we are sued and have a judgment against us for this debt, can our wages be garnished? I guess essentially we want to know what can happen for non-payment of credit card debt. Thank you.

shadow
Richard Alderman

Q. I have been married for three years. I’m now getting a divorce. There is no property or custody to fight over, but I would like the wedding ring I gave my wife. It belonged to my grandmother and is very special to me. Do I need to get a lawyer to have her turn over the ring?

shadow
Richard Alderman

Q. What are my legal rights as far as forcing the parents of a child my son was playing with to pay his medical bills? My 5-year-old son was playing on their property with other children, and was hit in the eye by a ball thrown by their son. Shouldn’t their homeowners insurance pay for this injury?

shadow