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As a follow-up to https://law.stackexchange.com/questions/917/can-texas-landlords-charge-administrative-fee-twice-thrice, suppose there's a high chance that a court would accept that it was NOT reasonable for a landlord to have had effectively charged the administrative fee 3 times in total for a lease that has been re-assigned only once.

Let's assume that the administrative fees were nonetheless paid, practically by their respective parties overall (departing resident -- 200$ adm + 200$ relet, incoming -- 50$ app + 200$ adm fee, upon application to the landlord).

Let's also assume that the departing resident reduced the effective rent of the sublease to ensure a relet, and such discount in addition also included covering all the fees associated with a relet ("I'll pay all your fees, if you're approved"). Let's also assume that for practical purposes, they're obviously not actually refunded, but rather given as an extra discount on first month's rent.

Who would have the right to recover this extra administrative fee paid by the incoming resident that likely goes in violation of the terms specified in original lease contract of the departing resident with the landlord?

  • Is it at all an option for the incoming resident to agree with the departing resident to demand such fee be returned from landlord to the incoming resident, and perhaps shared between the two?

    • Would the departing resident actually have to give any sort of permission here?
  • Would the departing resident have to testify, in small claims court, to their understanding of the contract, or would it be sufficient to simply present their contract to the court, and argue how a reasonable person would have had understood it?

  • What would the demand letter have to say, in other words, return 200$ to whom? (I assume directly asking the landlord to split 200$ into two returns, for each resident, would be too much of a burden, so, it would have to be returned to a single one.)

  • Can the incoming resident represent the departing resident in small claims court in Texas, without having formal legal training nor bar admittance?

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