Law

Q. At one time, Texas law allowed a person who had his identity stolen to have his credit reports locked. Is this still true?

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Q. I had a divorce in January 2012. In the decree, a 2012 Toyota Corolla was awarded to my ex-wife. When we bought the car, it was in her name as the buyer and mine as the co-buyer. My ex-wife had been doing very well, making all the payments on this car, until April of this year. I thought my attorney had sent Toyota finance the divorce decree to show she was liable for all future payments.

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Q. I recently had a small fire in my apartment. I think it was caused by the new clothes dryer I had installed. The landlord collected for the damage to his building from his insurance company. Now the insurance company is coming after me for $60,000 because of a clause in my lease. This fire was not my fault. How can I be sued?

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Q. I gave proper notice to end my lease and started moving out a week before it ended. I moved almost all of my belongings into my new apartment and was living there, but I accidently left a jewelry box in my former apartment. When I went back to retrieve it, it was gone. I still had my key and three days remaining on my lease. Is my landlord responsible for the theft?

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Q. My father recently passed. Question is, he had made a will with a lawyer but never had it registered. Is the will still valid? What happens if he did not have a will? Does all the property go to the state?

A. A will is valid and enforceable once it is properly prepared and signed. In most cases, a will also is notarized. This is not necessary, but it does make it easier and less expensive to probate the will. A will, however, does not have to be filed or registered to be valid. The attorney may now file the will for probate.

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News release from the FDA, May 5:

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized a rule extending its authority to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco, and pipe tobacco, among others. This historic rule helps implement the bipartisan Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 and allows the FDA to improve public health and protect future generations from the dangers of tobacco use through a variety of steps, including restricting the sale of these tobacco products to minors nationwide.

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Q. I let a friend borrow the extra key to my apartment and he lost it. Can I require my landlord to change my locks?

A. Under the law, a landlord has an obligation to change the locks at his expense when a new tenant moves in. After that time, the landlord must change the locks whenever the tenant requests, as often as the tenant wants. The tenant, however, must pay the costs of installing the new locks. In other words, you can require your landlord to change your locks; however, you must pay the costs.

 

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Q. My son was hired as a mechanic’s assistant at $14 an hour. He told the supervisor that he had some experience, but he was willing to learn as he went along with the job. The supervisor was fine with this, and my son was given other duties as well. My son was very happy, always on time to work, apparently no problems. Last week he was called to the office and told they had hired a previous ex-employee to come back as the assistant. My son was given the option to go work in another job, but his pay would be reduced to $10 an hour. Is this legal?

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Once again, it is time for the “People’s Law School,” the oldest and most successful law program for the layperson in the country. This is your chance to learn more about your legal rights, and have fun at the same time.

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Q. Is it against any law to negotiate rental rates? Could it be considered discrimination if a landlord charges different rates for the same size apartment?

A. Discrimination is basically treating one person better or worse than another. It is discrimination to charge different people different rent for the same apartment. Discrimination, however, is not per se illegal. In fact, it is not uncommon for a seller to charge different prices to different customers. I am sure that many people who buy the same type of car pay very different prices.

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