A HOMEOWNER SUCCESS STORY!

by
Joni Skibo

August 18, 2017: Joni Skibo is a member and officer of the National Homeowners Advocate Group. She has fought a long and hard battle with her homeowner association (HOA) and following is some good news from her—enjoy!:

- Hello Every One -

- I Just stopped in to Let my fellow Home Owners and HOA Reform Advocacy Group Members know, what has been Happening in my Life over the last 15 years-

- After Years of fighting against the Abuse's & Punishments being pummeled against Myself & My Husband by our HOA and it's Board of Directors - WE were forced to File a Lawsuit against them, ( cause # C-564- 02-D - filed in Hidalgo County, TX.), the Case was Filed against: 'Green Gate Grove Property Owner's Association & it's Board of Directors for: "Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress" -

- Waiting 5 1/2 long Years for the Case to go before a Judge and Jury,.. we are happy to announce it finely went to Trial...

- The Trial lasted nearly 3 full weeks - We Presented over 200 peaces of Evidence and Called several People as a witness to give Sworn Testimony on the witness Stand,,,

- We where also called as a Witness - We Testified about How the Board continually Harassed & Threatened Us - We also gave examples & instances of How the Board intentionally made our Lives Miserable, adding how the Board had Abused their Powers by Denying Us our right to Vote, and Denied our right to Check-out the HOA's Books a & Records - Also Denied an Independent Auditing Firm ( which we had Hired) to Audit the HOA's Books, Banking & Accounting Records -

- We also Testified to the Fact that several Board Members Encouraged other Homeowners to do damage to our House and Lawn - the Board also Vocalized encouragements to everyone who lived and Attended Meetings in the HOA, " to offer-up Ideas of Different ways to Harass & Intimidate Joni, so she would No long what to Live in our Community & Attend our Meetings, because she is nothing but a Trouble Maker " -

- We as the Plaintiff's also Provided Medical Records/Doctor Reports and Photos showing the Physical Harm done - Cuts and Bruises resulting from a Physical Attack on TWO Separate Occasions by two different Board members

- We also provided and was allowed by the Judge, to show several Video Types that Proved the Board would Incite and Encourage Violence & Hate towards Us during several Community Meetings. -

- After carefully listening to all the Witness Testimony and Reviewing all the Evidence, a 12 Person Jury was excused from the courtroom to Deliberate, based on the Facts of the Case -

- TWO (2) Hours later, the Jury came back into the courtroom with a Unanimous Decision... They Found the HOA was GUILTY of: Forcing the Plaintiff's to endure years of Harassment, Threats and Abuse's by the HOA Board of Directors and thereby did; "Intentionally Inflict Emotional Distress upon the Plaintiff's" -- The Jury rendered a Judgment, which was entered into the Count Records: Monetary Damages shell be Awarded to the 'Plaintiffs' in the Amount of; $363,000..dollars - for Past and Future Medical Treatments that may be necessary. -

- Afterwards My Husband and I then Decided it was in our Best Interest to SELL our small Custom-built Retirement House, which had been located inside the gates of Green Gate Grove HOA community, located in Mission Texas - And Moving back to our home State of Michigan,..... where we decided to Place a Modular Home on Property we owned Up-North, in the Tip of Thumb -

- After Living in the Tip of the Thumb of Michigan for 10 Years ( enjoying the Spring, Summer and Autumn months... but then drive our RV south to avoid the Cold & Snow-staying in Florida during the Winter months ),, we eventually decided to Purchase a Pool House and permanently Move to Florida... so we Sold the House in Michigan and are currently enjoying the Warm Temperatures & Sunshine of Florida year round --

-- IF ANYONE, including the Members of this Group wish to Contact Me - feel free to Send an Email to:: Newquilter2003@yahoo.com

* * I'll send back a Reply with-in three days * *

Hope to Hear from You Soon ?
Sincerely, Joni

The National Homeowners Advocate Group © 2017. All Rights Reserved.

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The National Homeowners Advocate Group

The 1995 Jones Family Kingwood Texas Foreclosure

BEING THE FIRST TO LOSE YOUR HOMESTEAD SUCKS

By Harvella Jones

On December 5, 1995, the world of Johnnie and Harvella Jones was forever changed. This was the day we stood in the court house and watched our homestead be sold to one of the homeowner associations who had foreclosed against our property for nonpayment of maintenance fees.

We had fought a long and hard battle since 1990 when we first learned about homeowner associations. We did not know anything about them when we bought the house in 1988. Back in those days, buyers of second hand homes were not notified via actual notice of maintenance fees.

When we found out about the fees and what nonpayment meant to our property rights, we drove to Austin and made a copy of every piece of paper in the “Inwood vs. Harris” case law file. This case law allowed developer’s to place “contractual liens” on the land prior to you owning the land. We studied the file and then went to the Houston downtown court house to find out how many homes in our Kingwood, Texas community were being threatened with foreclosure.

What we found there was appalling. We found numerous foreclosure filings not only in our community but in other similar neighborhoods and generally the same law firm was performing the repetitive foreclosure filings—Butler, Ewalt and Hailey. We eventually turned our findings over to Geneva Kirk Brooks, with the hope she could do something about it.

At the time of our difficulty with our HOA, there were no organized advocacy efforts by other homeowners that we could contact for help. We checked across the country and except for a few blogs here and there, nothing was organized into a political homeowner advocacy group movement.

We decided to testify in Austin in front of a committee that Representative Craig Washington invited us to. Representative Washington had never heard of an HOA being able to foreclose on your homestead in Texas either and thought, like we did, that our homestead was protected by the Texas Homestead Act.

When we got to the hearing in Austin, there were no other homeowners there but us; however, there was a room full of attorneys who we found out later were cottage-industry attorneys and law firms and other people and organizations and services that thrive on the homeowner association foreclosures we have in this state, as well as California, Florida, Arizona and so many other states now.

On December 5, 1995, we finally realized that yes, in Texas, your homestead can be foreclosed by your local homeowner association It happened a few years later to Wenonah Blevins. Many people still do not believe it can happen to them here in Texas, but, yes, it can. They incorrectly believe that when Wenonah Blevins property was returned to her and there was a lot of commotion in Austin about it, the foreclosure issue was fixed. Not so.

The next year, my husband Johnnie and I, formed the first homeowner advocate group in Texas and in the nation called The Texas Homeowner’s Advocate Group, which is now a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. The year I wrote my book, “The Texas Homestead Hoax,” Johnnie passed away October 30, 2004. The following year, I created the National Homeowners Advocate Group, LLC.

With Almighty God’s divine intervention, my organization and I, were able to bring about meaningful Property Code changes for the homeowners in this state living in homeowner association communities.

There is still much to do for condo owners because their ownership was not part of the 2011 legislative action that took place for single-family home owners.

We also need oversight for “all” property owners in the state of Texas because while we have better laws for most of the property owners, we still have to take the perpetrator(s) to court in order to enforce them.

We have advocates across the country now and all are involved in making things better for other homeowners as well as for themselves.

In order to get oversight, possibly through a strong Attorney General’s office, we need more homeowners to become more involved in this advocacy. The days of marches and protest around the courthouse and in various communities, may be a thing of the past, which is fine, because we have a more effective and faster process—the internet.

We ask each of you who read this article to start attending your homeowner association meetings so you know what is being done behind your back. Do not let a handful of die-hard retired people run your community. Also when the next legislative year starts which will be in 2019, make sure you know who your legislators are. Do not wait until a foreclosure comes knocking at your door before you decide to do something about it as it will be too late.

We know there is more still to be accomplished. There are more judges to be exposed. More corrupt lawyers and law firms to bring to justice. More homeowner associations to warn people about. There is much needed oversight.

We are all getting older and looking for a place to sit back and relax in and generally think a homeowner association community is the way to go. Perhaps so but there are still a lot of chaos going on, board meetings not going well, run away board members, excessive fines, fraud and corruption, and I could go on and on. We need a strong government agency either state or federal that we can take our issues to because taking them to the local court house is not working because the corrupt cancer cell has eaten away at our rights there and justice is no longer an option there. However, I personally don’t believe in giving up my property rights to any flawed judicial system or corrupt judges or attorneys litigating for a homeowner association. The power of justice is still in our hands, we just have to not give up or let go of our rights.

The video is a brief throw back to the actual foreclosure day  and surrounding events that triggered the homeowner advocate movement in Texas and Nationally.  It is my husband Johnnie and I more than twenty (20) years ago when we dug in and promised to keep fighting not only for ourselves but for others. Some of you who have gone through the same thing as us since that time will be able to relate to the pain and suffering:

The National Homeowners Advocate Group, LLC © 2017. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

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UNDOING A REVERSE MORTGAGE


June 27, 2017
By Harvella Jones

About four (4) years’ ago, I wrote an article against obtaining a Reverse Mortgage called “The Peril of Reverse Mortgages in Texas”. You can find it on this website.

A reverse mortgage is one of the quickest ways to lose your home to overwhelming debt which accrues as you are living in it via interests at roughly 8% annually, taxes and penalties, which leaves nothing to pass along to your surviving relatives. In Texas, you lose the ability to defer your taxes when you obtain a reverse mortgage. This is something normally not revealed to you when you create this mortgage.

However, there is a little bit of good news. You can undo a reverse mortgage but sooner is better (3 business days). If you wait too long, you will be put into the position of any other mortgage debt you have that requires paying off the debt which by then is generally higher than when you first entered into the agreement.

The sad part is lenders feed on senior citizens living on fixed incomes who are drawn to the idea of having a large sum of money at once that they can use to take a vacation with, do repairs or help with other monetary needs. As long as you are in the home and it is in your name, there is no need to pay the money back. However, upon your death or move to a retirement home or assisted living facility and the house is no longer in your name, the tax collector will execute documents to collect the outstanding debt.

My opinion about reverse mortgages is the same as it was four (4) years ago. I suggested not creating a reverse mortgage on your home in 2013 and that is still my suggestion. If you have been fortunate enough to have a home paid for and you want to will it to your children, then it is best you do not take out a reverse mortgage on your homestead.

Contributing articles:
“How to Undo a Reverse Mortgage” January 29, 2011 by Jack Gerard
“Can You Get Out of a Reverse Mortgage” (Author unknown)
“How to pay off a reverse mortgage” September 26, 2011 Ilyce Glink

The National Homeowners Advocate Group, LLC 2017. All Rights Reserved. ©

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LOCAL VOTING IS IMPORTANT TOO

by

HARVELLA JONES

Texas. Let’s not forget about the downside of the voting slip. Judges are running locally for office as well. I would like to bring attention to one judge in particular—Judge Tracy Christopher. My husband and I had the misfortune of being in her courtroom back in the 90’s. We sued our former lienholder for wrongfully foreclosing on us when we no longer owned the house or were physically in the house.
Christopher took it upon herself to interfere with our jury trial by responding to a jury question in a way that stopped the jury from deliberating. We lost our case because of her. I devoted a chapter to her in my book—“The Texas Homestead Hoax”. She eventually ended up in the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas.

Several years ago, I appealed a case and interestingly enough, it went to the 14th Court of Appeals and Christopher was one of the jurist on my appeal. She should have recused herself because she is bias against me but instead she made a ruling along with the other two jurists and. of course, I lost what should have been an easy win for me.

There is an opponent running against Christopher. If you are a homeowner in the State of Texas, you just might end up appealing your case one day so this is a warning to you that you really don’t want Christopher sitting on a panel reviewing your case. She has no respect for homeowners litigating pro se, she is bias and she doesn’t respect the rights of homeowners. She is for big business.
The way to go is to vote NO for Judge Tracy Christopher on November 8th or before if you early vote.

Homeowner_associationsThe National Homeowners Advocate Group, LLC © 2016  All Rights Reserved.

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SATELLITE OFFICES

We have satellite offices across the United States and throughout Texas.  Our links do not  currently work on our website.  We ask if you are in need of information, etc., that you contact us on Facebook with your contact information so that we can get you to the correct office.  We will also be working on listing our satellite offices on our Facebook page.  Thank you

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I-Team: Homeowners Vote Out Their HOA President

by Dana Fowle
Aired July 22, 2016

AUSTELL, GA -
Homeowner's associations often bring communities together, but when they don't they can create deep rifts. And that is what's happening in the case of a Cobb County neighborhood association.

Some of the homeowners in the Cobblestone Community Association got a lawyer, held a special election and voted in a whole new board. Sounds like that would be the end of it. But, it's still not over.

"We actually had an election April 30th. We invited our attorney to make sure we were following everything by the letter of the law," said Merinda Hutchings-Donovan, the newly elected board president.

In a letter to the years' long HOA president Blake Kenya, the new board informed him "your term expired" and demanded he turn over all of the "books, records" and "banking information."

"He decided to send his own letter that said, 'Oh no, that's not true,' Ms. Hutchings-Donovan said.

Yes. He sure did. Blake Kenya fired back calling the election "inaccurate" and "false."

The new president asserted, "It's a done deal."

On paper maybe, but not so much in practice, because when the Fox 5 I-Team talked to Blake Kenya he wouldn't commit to stepping down.

The newly elected board is tired of waiting, so they filed suit against Blake Kenya. The suit claims he continues to represent himself as the head of the Cobblestone Community Association and has "deposited and expended funds collected...from members of the association for unknown purposes..." They want him to walk away from the job and hand over all accounting and banking records.

But here's the problem, according to the new board's attorney, deputies haven't been able to find Kenya to serve him.

"We filed a lawsuit, but we can't even get it delivered to him," said Merinda Hutchings-Donovan.

The rift between these Austell homeowners and their neighborhood community organization goes back more than a year. We watched as a neighbor shouted roadside to Blake Kenya, at the time the sitting HOA president.

"Why don't you show up to the meetings with all the people? We're trying to vote you off," he said.

We were also there when frustrated neighbors met last November to talk about removing him from the board. Mr. Kenya tried to cancel their meeting, so a neighbor positioned himself under the sign to say it's still on. Then someone called police.

The neighbor explained what happened to the group.

"I just want everyone to know he's doing everything in his power to keep us from coming together."

And so here they are. A new board has been elected yet access to the Cobblestone Community Association's books is still out of reach. They don't even have the keys to the message board. They post handmade signs in their yards to deliver messages about meetings.

"We actually have to use this, utilize these signs. We have two, maybe three of these, actually have two or three of these," said the new president with one of those handmade sign.

And a basic question I asked Blake Kenya on the phone still goes unanswered....

"This is a volunteer position. Why won't you let go?"

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TEXAS HOA 2015 LEGISLATIVE WRAPUP FOR THE 84TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Homeowner_associationsDuring the 84th Legislative Session, Texas Legislators worked on several HOA bills that will affect homeowners living in homeowners' and property owners’ association communities. Following are the results of what happened to those bills we followed for homeowners:

 

HB 1335 … We were AGAINST this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Roland Gutierrez (District 119). This bill related to the collection of attorney fees in property owners’ association foreclosures. This bill conflicted with existing Property Code 209.0064 Third Party Collections. Attorneys that work for homeowner/property owner associations are “debt collectors” and fall under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. Section 1692a). HB 1335 was a subtle attempt to give the “debt collectors” another bite at the attorney fee apple. It would have amended Property Code 209.008. It did not get out of the Business and Industry Committee where it was sent on March 9, 2015.

 

SB 1168 … We were AGAINST this proposed bill. The author is Sen. Royce West (District 23) and it related to the operation of certain property owners’ associations. Affects Property Code Section 207.001(2). Does not apply to a condominium; however parts of this bill were amended to include Condos. Amends various sections of the Property Code. The major concern was this bill tweaked existing law that became effective in the 2011 session. Most of the changes created ambiguity for example, the proposed change from written notice to the owner by certified mail to “verified” mail.

 

According to Sen. West’s proposed bill, Section 209.002, “Verified mail’ meant any method of mailing that provides evidence of mailing.” This would have changed Post Office Certification as we know it and opened up Attorneys having the ability to show in Court a “Verification” they created for the HOA to show delivery of mail, which more than likely would be that they sent the document and not that it was actually received by the owner. Matters pertaining to your homestead should be by certified mail only, according to the United States Post Office Definition and Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 21, already in place, not by a legislator’s creative thinking.
This bill has been amended and the section pertaining to “verified” mail now reads

 

Senator West amended it further on May 6, 2015 and it was adopted: “Verified mail’ means any method of mailing for which evidence of mailing is provided by the United States Postal
Service or a common carrier.”
Representative Bohac amended it further on May 23, 2015 and it was adopted: “Amend SBA1168 (house committee printing) on page 17, line 14, by striking "verified" and substituting ‘certified".
This bill passed and was sent to the Governor May 30, 2015. If signed, it will take effect September 1, 2015.

 

HB 2797 – We were AGAINST this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Jason Villalba (District 114). Relating to the operation of certain property owners’ associations. Would amend Property Code 209.0057. This is the companion bill to Sen. West’s SB 1168. This bill passed per the amendments noted in SB 1168 and was sent to the Governor May 30, 2015

 

HB 971 – We were FOR this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Dwayne Bohac (District 138). Relating to requirements governing officers and directors of condominium unit owners’ associations and property owners’ associations. Would amend Property Code 209.00595. This proposed bill was sent to Calendars on April 29, 2015 and no activity reported after that.

 

SB 1244 – We were FOR this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Konni Burton (District 10). Relating to property owners’ association elections and votes. Changes two main things in the existing law—the percent of total votes cast by members to amend a declaration from 67% to 60% and an association shall give written notice of the election or vote not later than the 30th day or earlier than the 60th day instead of the 10th day. These are good changes. This was referred to the Business & Commerce Committee on March 17, 2015. This bill died in committee.

 

HB 2489 – We were AGAINST this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Jeff Leach (District 67). Relating to the ability of a property owners’ association to enforce certain provisions on the lease or rental of real property. While it is a good idea that the association cannot impose dues, an assessment or another type of payment in connection with the rental or leasing of a property owner’s property, a law that “requires a tenant or rental applicant to be reviewed or approved by the property owners’ association” is intrusive on the property owners right to control who rents from him, her or them. One must also remember that the purpose of a property owners’ association is to collect assessment fees for “shared” property used by the owners. The people you rent or lease your property to is not a shared venture that should be opened up to a property owners’ association. The effective date is September 1, 2015. This proposed bill has passed both legislative bodies but has not yet been sent to the Governor for his signature.

 

HB 748 – We were FOR this bill. The author is Rep. Jason Isaac (District 45). Relating to the regulation of liquid propane gas tanks on residential property. The association cannot prohibit or restrict a property owner from installing a liquid propane gas tank above ground. The association may require the owner to screen the tank from view with reasonable screening materials. There was a committee substitute considered and approved. On May 14, 2015 the proposed bill was placed on General State Calendar.

 

HB 745 – We were AGAINST this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Dwayne Bohac (District 138) - Relating to the installation of solar-powered stop signs by a property owners’ association. Installing “a solar-powered light-emitting diode (LED) stop sign on a road, highway, or street in the association’s jurisdiction, based on homeowner assessment fees, the approval of which comes from the consent of the governing body of the political subdivision that maintains the road, highway, or street for the placement of the sign. Since we also pay city taxes, it appears that the city government is shifting its responsibility yet again to an association. Owners’ and Property Owners’ Associations can barely get a quorum to take care of business in general and it is not clear who “the governing body of the political subdivision” is. Additionally, stop signs are the responsibility of the Department of Transportation. This proposed bill becomes effective September 1, 2015. This proposed bill passed both legislative bodies and was sent to the Governor on May 22, 2015.

 

SB 1538 – We were FOR this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Konni Burton (District 10). Relating to exclusivity agreements between telecommunications services providers and property owners. Amends Chapter 59, Title 4, Business & Commerce Code by adding Telecommunications Services Agreements, Section 59.001. This proposed bill also prohibits the association from prohibiting or penalizing the property owner for contracting with another telecommunications services provider for the provision of a different type of telecommunications service or a different type of telecommunications services technology for their property. This proposed bill was referred to Natural Resources & Economic Development.

 

SB 834 – We were FOR this proposed bill. The author is Sen. Brandon Creighton (District 4). Relating to procedures required before a condominium association files a suit or initiates an arbitration proceeding for a defect or design claim. This proposed bill was removed from Local & Uncontested Calendar on May 8, 2015.

 

HB 1455 – We were FOR this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Phil King (District 61). Relating to procedures required before a condominium association files a suit or initiates an arbitration proceeding for a defect or design claim. It is a companion bill to Sen. Creighton’s SB 834. It will take effect September 1, 2015. The proposed bill was sent to the Governor on May 29, 2015.
HB 2147 – We were AGAINST this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Jim Keffer (District 60). Relating to secret ballots in a property owners’ association election or vote. The language in this bill conflicts with wanting to do right for the property owners and then on the other hand allows for the very thing the bill is designed to prevent. Allowing secret balloting is a poor remedy to stopping the casting of more votes than what is allowed per member. A Committee Report was sent to the Local & Consent Calendar on April 28, 2015.

 

SB 864 – We were AGAINST this bill which was signed by the Governor on May 29, 2015 and “effective immediately”. Go to www.legis.state.tx.us to read the bill. The author is Sen. Brian Birdwell (District 22). Relating to secret ballots in a property owners’ association election or vote. This is a companion bill to Rep. Keffer’s HB 2147. Refer to HB 2147 for the comments that also apply to this proposed bill.

 

HB 1178 – We were FOR this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Jason Isaac (District 45) - Relating to the enforceability of certain restrictive covenants governing the use of fuel on and supply of fuel to property in certain subdivisions or other planned developments. Affects Property Code 202.008. This proposed new section of the Property Code will prevent a property owners’ association or a declarant from enforcing or imposing a restrictive covenant that would require a property owner to exclusively use a particular fuel on the owner’s property or exclusively use fuel provided by a particular supplier on the owner’s property or impose a fee payable to any person for an owner to opt out of a requirement. It was placed on the General State Calendar on May 14, 2015.

 

SB 1535 … We were FOR this proposed bill. The author is Sen. Konni Burton (District 10) - Relating to procedures to amend a declaration by a property owners association. Will amend Property Code 209.0041(h). This proposed bill would amend the Property Code to allow for a vote of 60 percent instead of 67 percent of the total votes cast by members of the property owners’ associations. There is, however, a conflicting effective date in the proposed bill that states “the change in law made by this Act applies only to a vote held on or after November 1, 2015.” While the effective date for this Act would take “effect September 1, 2015. This proposed bill was referred to the Business and Commerce Committee on March 23, 2015. It never made it out of committee.

 

HB 3460 … We were FOR this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Andrew Murr (District 53) - Relating to provisions in the dedicatory instruments of property owners’ associations regarding display of flags. Affects Section 1, Chapter 202, Property Code and Sec. 202.012. This bill was referred to the Business & Industry Committee on March 18, 2015. It is amending an existing law which would be Property Code 202.011. The bill was filed close to the deadline and was not written correctly; however, after talking to Rep. Murr’s office, the bill will be rewritten to reflect its purpose clearly. Two new flags are being added to the list of flags: “any variation of a Blue Star Mothers Service Flag or a POW/MIA Flag; or any flag representing the six national flags of the State of Texas or any historical flag of the State of Texas. This proposed bill was placed on the General State Calendar on May 12, 2015.

 

HB 2148 …We were AGAINST this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Jim Keffer (District 60) - Relating to voting methods in a property owners’ association election or vote. Affects Property Code 209.00592. This proposed bill allows the property owners’ association to not provide “more than one voting method”. Current law does. Refer to Property Code 209.00592. A Committee Report was sent to the Local & Consent Calendar on April 28, 2015.

 

SB 862 …We were AGAINST this proposed bill. The Governor has signed this into law and it will be effective on 9/1/15. The author is Rep. Brian Birdwell (District 22). Relating to voting methods in a property owners’ association election or vote. Affects Property Code 209.00592. Companion bill to Rep. Keffer’s HB 2148. Refer to HB 2148 for comments on this bill.
HB 1072 …We were FOR this proposed bill. It has passed by the House and the Senate and sent to the Governor for his signature on May 27, 2015. The author is Rep. Senfronia Thompson (District 141). Relating to the eligibility of certain persons to serve on the board of a property owners’ association. Amends Property Code 209.00591(b). Referred to the Business & Industry Committee on March 2, 2015. This amends existing law pertaining to felons serving on the board by including how far back to go to calculate felon time. The proposed bill states “if a board is presented with written, documented evidence from a database or other record maintained by a governmental law enforcement authority that a board member ‘was’ convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude ‘not more than 20 years before the date the board is presented with the evidence,’ the board member is immediately ineligible to serve on the board of the property owners’ association, automatically considered removed from the board, and prohibited from future service on the board.” The effective date will be September 1, 2015.

 

HJR 125 …. We were AGAINST this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Matt Krause (District 93) et al. Proposing a constitutional amendment relating to a person’s free exercise of religion. This bill is proposing amendment exceptions to the Constitution by a homeowners’ association and the state or a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state, including a department, agency, or instrumentality of the state or of a political subdivision of the state in regard to a person’s free exercise of religion. A homeowner association is operated by a voluntary, untrained group of homeowners in your neighborhood that should never have anything at all to do with one’s religious choices. Additionally nor should any of the agencies mentioned in this proposed bill. This proposed bill was referred to the State Affairs Committee on March 23, 2015. It has died in the committee.

 

HJR 55 …. We were AGAINST this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Jason Villalba (District 114). Proposing a constitutional amendment relating to a person’s free exercise of religion. This is a companion bill to Rep. Krause et al’ HJR 125. It was referred to the State Affairs Committee on March 3, 2015. It has died in the committee.

 

HB 2999 …We were FOR this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Brooks Landgraf (District 81). Relating to restrictive covenants regarding the possession, transportation, or storage of firearms or firearms ammunition and the otherwise lawful discharge of a firearm. Property Code 202.019 added. This proposed bill has been placed on the General State Calendar 5/12/2015. Texas have strong pro gun carrying lobbyists and laws; therefore, this bill merely extends the right to possess, transport, store and lawfully discharge to the owners and prevent property owners’ associations from prohibiting or restricting any person who is otherwise legally authorized.
HB 3611…We were FOR this proposed bill. The author is Rep. Matt Krause (District 93). Relating to the notice of default required under a deed of trust or other contract lien on real property. Amends Property Code 51.0021. Referred to the Business & Industry Committee on March 19, 2015 but it appears to have died in committee. Had it become law it would have added an important recipient of the written notice of sale by certified mail—“owner of record of the property other than the debtor, according to the records of the mortgage servicer of the debt,” and change of address notification information to the mortgage servicer.
It is important to note the legislators who have worked diligently during this session to bring to homeowners good laws to help them protect their property rights whether or not those laws were enacted. On the other hand, it is also important to note the legislators who have worked diligently to destroy the property rights of Texas homeowners.
It is recommended that you continue to follow these bills on www.legis.state.tx.us
The companion article is “HOA Bills Texas Legislators Working On For 2015-16 During the 84th Legislative Session.”
The National Homeowners Advocate Group, LLC
All Rights Reserved. © 2015.

 

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HOA BILLS TEXAS LEGISLATORS WORKING ON FOR 2015-16 DURING THE 84TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Texas Legislators Austin

Texas Legislators are working on bills that will affect homeowners living in home

Contact Us / Send Us an Email

owners’ and property owners’ associations. Following are the ones you may want to follow on www.legis.state.tx.us:

HB 1335AGAINST - The author is Rep. Roland Gutierrez (District 119). It is now with the Business & Industry Committee as of March 9, 2015. This bill relates to the collection of attorney fees in property owners’ association foreclosures. The chairman of the Business and Industry committee is Rep. Rene Oliveira. This bill conflicts with existing Property Code 209.0064 Third Party Collections. Attorneys that work for homeowner/property owner associations are “debt collectors” and fall under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. Section 1692a). HB 1335 is a subtle attempt to give the “debt collectors” another bite at the attorney fee apple. It would amend Property Code 209.008. If it passes, it will take effect September 1, 2015.

SB 1168AGAINSTSen. Royce West (District 23) – Relating to the operation of certain property owners’ associations. Affects Property Code Section 207.001(2). Does not apply to a condominium. Amends various sections of the Property Code. This bill tweaks existing law that became effective in the 2011 session. Most of the changes create ambiguity for example, the proposed change from written notice to the owner by certified mail to “verified” mail. According to Sen. West’s proposed bill, Section 209.002, “Verified mail’ means any method of mailing that provides evidence of mailing.” This would change Post Office Certification as we know it and open up Attorneys having the ability to show in Court a “Verification” they created for the HOA to show delivery of mail, which more than likely would be that they sent the document and not that it was actually received by the owner. Matters pertaining to your homestead should be by certified mail only, according to the United States Post Office Definition and Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 21, already in place, not by a legislator’s creative thinking. Additionally, it proposes a change to Section 19, Section 209.0092, that gives association another way to foreclose on our homesteads via Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 309 and 646a. It reminds me of a traffic turn signal, only in this case, the proposed amendment tells association boards various ways they can take our property. If passed, this Act would take effect September 1, 2015. The proposed bill has been referred to the Business and Commerce Committee on March 17, 2015. Sen. West worked closely with Sen. Carona when Carona was in office and all advocates and homeowners that follow HOA legislative action will recall Sen. Carona was not our friend.

HB 2797AGAINST - Rep. Jason Villalba (District 114) – Relating to the operation of certain property owners’ associations. Would amend Property Code 209.0057. This bill does not apply to a condominium. It is a companion bill to Sen. West’s SB 1168; therefore, the comments made for SB 1168, apply to this proposed bill as well. This bill has been referred to the Business and Industry Committee on March 16, 2015. If this becomes law, it will take effect September 1, 2015.
Our legislative year is when you can make a difference as to how you are treated by your homeowner/property owners association in your community. Now is the time to call not only your legislator to ask him or her not to support this proposed bill but also to call Rep. Rene Oliveira and Rep. Roland Gutierrez to register non support of it. It never hurts to read the bill for yourself and that can be done on the Texas Legislative Online Webpage. The link is above.

HB 971FOR - Rep. Dwayne Bohac (District 138). Relating to requirements governing officers and directors of condominium unit owners’ associations and property owners’ associations. Would amend Property Code 209.00595. This bill was referred to the Business & Industry Committee March 2, 2015. This proposed bill is a start for Condo owners to have laws similar to single-family homeowners. There is fiduciary responsibility language and removal of board members that are felons or involved in a crime of moral turpitude. There is a concern that Condo board members are expected to hold a five-year tenure as opposed to the normal three, two or one-year tenure of a single-family homeowner association board member. No board member should hold a position for five (5) years. Three years’ maximum is sufficient. In the alternative, the language in the proposed bill on page 3, line 14, Section (f) pertaining to “the fifth anniversary” may be problematic because it tends to lend to ambiguity, which no HOA law should do. Condo owners need the same type of laws that were enacted for single-family homeowners in 2011. This Act would take effect September 1, 2015 if passed.

SB 1244FOR - Rep. Konni Burton (District 10). Relating to property owners’ association elections and votes. Changes two main things in the existing law—the percent of total votes cast by members to amend a declaration from 67% to 60% and an association shall give written notice of the election or vote not later than the 30th day or earlier than the 60th day instead of the 10th day. These are good changes. This was referred to the Business & Commerce Committee on March 17, 2015. This Act would take effect September 1, 2015 if passed.

HB 2489AGAINST - Rep. Jeff Leach (District 67) – Relating to the ability of a property owners’ association to enforce certain provisions on the lease or rental of real property. While it is a good idea that the association cannot impose dues, an assessment or another type of payment in connection with the rental or leasing of a property owner’s property, a law that “requires a tenant or rental applicant to be reviewed or approved by the property owners’ association” is intrusive on the property owners right to control who rents from him, her or them. One must also remember that the purpose of a property owners’ association is to collect assessment fees for “shared” property used by the owners. The people you rent or lease your property to is not a shared venture that should be opened up to a property owners’ association. Referred to the Business & Industry Committee on March 13, 2015. If passed, will take effect September 1, 2015.

HB 748FOR - Rep. Jason Isaac (District 45) - Relating to the regulation of liquid propane gas tanks on residential property. The association cannot prohibit or restrict a property owner from installing a liquid propane gas tank above ground. The association may require the owner to screen the tank from view with reasonable screening materials. On March 10, 2015, this proposed bill was left pending in the Business & Industry Committee after taking testimony. If this Act receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, it will take effect immediately. If not, it will take effect September 1, 2015.

HB 745AGAINST - Rep. Dwayne Bohac (District 138) - Relating to the installation of solar-powered stop signs by a property owners’ association. Scheduled for public hearing on March 26, 2015. Installing “a solar-powered light-emitting diode (LED) stop sign on a road, highway, or street in the association’s jurisdiction, based on homeowner assessment fees, the approval of which comes from the consent of the governing body of the political subdivision that maintains the road, highway, or street for the placement of the sign. Since we also pay city taxes, it appears that the city government is shifting its responsibility yet again to an association. Owners’ and Property Owners’ Associations can barely get a quorum to take care of business in general and it is not clear who “the governing body of the political subdivision” is. Additionally, stop signs are the responsibility of the Department of Transportation. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, it will take effect September 1, 2015.

SB 1538FOR - Rep. Konni Burton (District 10). This proposed bill was filed March 12, 2015 and to date, no further action on it has taken place. Relating to exclusivity agreements between telecommunications services providers and property owners. Amends Chapter 59, Title 4, Business & Commerce Code by adding Telecommunications Services Agreements, Section 59.001. This proposed bill also prohibits the association from prohibiting or penalizing the property owner for contracting with another telecommunications services provider for the provision of a different type of telecommunications service or a different type of telecommunications services technology for their property. If passed, it will take effect September 1, 2015.

SB 834FOR - Sen. Brandon Creighton (District 4). Relating to procedures required before a condominium association files a suit or initiates an arbitration proceeding for a defect or design claim. Proposed bill referred to the State Affairs Committee on March 3, 2015. If this proposed bill pass, it will take effect September 1, 2015.

HB 1455FOR - Rep. Phil King (District 61) - Relating to procedures required before a condominium association files a suit or initiates an arbitration proceeding for a defect or design claim. This proposed bill was referred to the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee on March 4, 2015. It is a companion bill to Sen. Creighton’s SB 834. If this proposed bill pass, it will take effect September 1, 2015.

HB 2147AGAINST - Rep. Jim Keffer (District 60) - Relating to secret ballots in a property owners’ association election or vote. The language in this bill conflicts with wanting to do right for the property owners and then on the other hand allows for the very thing the bill is designed to prevent. Allowing secret balloting is a poor remedy to stopping the casting of more votes than what is allowed per member. It was referred to the Business and Industry Committee on March 12, 2015. If this proposed bill is passed with a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, it will take effect immediately. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2015.

SB 864AGAINST - Sen. Brian Birdwell (District 22) - Relating to secret ballots in a property owners’ association election or vote. This is a companion bill to Rep. Keffer’s HB 2147. Refer to HB 2147 for the comments that also apply to this proposed bill. It was referred to the Business & Commerce Committee on March 4, 2015.

HB 1178FOR - Rep. Jason Isaac (District 45) - Relating to the enforceability of certain restrictive covenants governing the use of fuel on and supply of fuel to property in certain subdivisions or other planned developments. Affects Property Code 202.008. This proposed new section of the Property Code will prevent a property owners’ association or a declarant from enforcing or imposing a restrictive covenant that would require a property owner to exclusively use a particular fuel on the owner’s property or exclusively use fuel provided by a particular supplier on the owner’s property or impose a fee payable to any person for an owner to opt out of a requirement. If this proposed bill is passed with a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, it will take effect immediately. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2015.

SB 1535FOR - Sen. Konni Burton (District 10) - Relating to procedures to amend a declaration by a property owners association. Will amend Property Code 209.0041(h). This proposed bill would amend the Property Code to allow for a vote of 60 percent instead of 67 percent of the total votes cast by members of the property owners’ associations. There is, however, a conflicting effective date in the proposed bill that states “the change in law made by this Act applies only to a vote held on or after November 1, 2015.” While the effective date for this Act would take “effect September 1, 2015”. This bill was filed March 12, 2015. It is unclear from the Texas Legislature Online website which committee has the proposed bill.

HB 3460FOR - Rep. Andrew Murr (District 53) - Relating to provisions in the dedicatory instruments of property owners’ associations regarding display of flags. Affects Section 1, Chapter 202, Property Code and Sec. 202.012. This bill was referred to the Business & Industry Committee on March 18, 2015. It is amending an existing law which would be Property Code 202.011. The bill was filed close to the deadline and was not written correctly; however, after talking to Rep. Murr’s office, the bill will be rewritten to reflect its purpose clearly. Two new flags are being added to the list of flags: “any variation of a Blue Star Mothers Service Flag or a POW/MIA Flag; or any flag representing the six national flags of the State of Texas or any historical flag of the State of Texas

HB 2148AGAINST - Rep. Jim Keffer (District 60) - Relating to voting methods in a property owners’ association election or vote. Affects Property Code 209.00592. This proposed bill allows the property owners’ association to not provide “more than one voting method”. Current law does. Refer to Property Code 209.00592. If passed, takes effect September 1, 2015. Proposed Bill referred to the Business & Industry Committee on March 12, 2015.

SB 862AGAINST - Rep. Brian Birdwell (District 22) - Relating to voting methods in a property owners’ association election or vote. Affects Property Code 209.00592. If passed, takes effect September 1, 2015. Companion bill to Rep. Keffer’s HB 2148. Refer to HB 2148 for comments on this bill. Proposed bill referred to the Business & Commerce Committee on March 4, 2015.

HB 1072FOR - Rep. Senfronia Thompson (District 141) - Relating to the eligibility of certain persons to serve on the board of a property owners’ association. Amends Property Code 209.00591(b). Referred to the Business & Industry Committee on March 2, 2015. This amends existing law pertaining to felons serving on the board by including how far back to go to calculate felon time. The proposed bill states “if a board is presented with written, documented evidence from a database or other record maintained by a governmental law enforcement authority that a board member ‘was’ convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude ‘not more than 20 years before the date the board is presented with the evidence,’ the board member is immediately ineligible to serve on the board of the property owners’ association, automatically considered removed from the board, and prohibited from future service on the board.” If passed, this Act would become effective September 1, 2015.

HJR 125 …. AGAINST - Rep. Matt Krause (District 93) et al - Proposing a constitutional amendment relating to a person’s free exercise of religion. This proposed bill was filed March 11, 2015. It is unclear from the Texas Legislature Online website which committee has the proposed bill. This bill is proposing amendment exceptions to the Constitution by a homeowners’ association and the state or a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state, including a department, agency, or instrumentality of the state or of a political subdivision of the state in regard to a person’s free exercise of religion. A homeowner association is operated by a voluntary, untrained group of homeowners in your neighborhood that should never have anything at all to do with one’s religious choices. Additionally nor should any of the agencies mentioned in this proposed bill. Additionally, this State is comprised of people from around the world many of whom native tongue is not English and unless, this proposed amendment to the Constitution is going to be written in those languages so as not to confuse anyone, this bill is not a good idea. The proposed bill proposes to submit this to the voters at an election to be held November 3, 2015. The ballot language is “The constitutional amendment relating to a person’s free exercise of religion.” Since this State already has Constitutional coverage of this subject matter, it should be more specific to the voter that this proposed bill is about “exceptions” to religious Constitutional rights we already have.

HJR 55AGAINST - Rep. Jason Villalba (District 114) - Proposing a constitutional amendment relating to a person’s free exercise of religion. This is a companion bill to Rep. Krause et al’ HJR 125. It was referred to the State Affairs Committee on March 3, 2015.

HB 2999FOR - Rep. Brooks Landgraf (District 81) - Relating to restrictive covenants regarding the possession, transportation, or storage of firearms or firearms ammunition and the otherwise lawful discharge of a firearm. Property Code 202.019 added. Filed March 11, 2015—not sure which committee as not indicated on the Texas Legislature Online website at the time of the publishing of this article. Texas have strong pro gun carrying lobbyists and laws; therefore, this bill merely extends the right to possess, transport, store and lawfully discharge to the owners and prevent property owners’ associations from prohibiting or restricting any person who is otherwise legally authorized. If passed, this Act takes effect September 1, 2015.

HB 3611FOR - Rep. Matt Krause (District 93) - Relating to the notice of default required under a deed of trust or other contract lien on real property. Amends Property Code 51.0021. Referred to the Business & Industry Committee. This proposed bill will add an important recipient of the written notice of sale by certified mail—“owner of record of the property other than the debtor, according to the records of the mortgage servicer of the debt,” and change of address notification information to the mortgage servicer. This proposed bill will take effect September 1, 2015.

Members of the House Committee on Business and Industry are Rep. Rene Oliveira (Chairman); Rep. Ron Simmons (Vice Chairman); Rep. Nicole Collier; Rep. Allen Fletcher; Rep. Matt Rinaldi; Rep. Ramon Romero and Rep. Jason Villalba. The clerk for the Committee is Angelina Lopez, 512-463-0766.

Members of the State Affairs Committee are Rep. Byron Cook (Chairman); Rep. Helen Giddings (Vice Chairman); Rep. Tom Craddick; Rep. Marsha Farney; Rep. Jessica Farrar; Rep. Charlie Geren; Rep. Patricia Harless; Rep. Dan Huberty; Rep. John Kuempel; Rep. Rene Oliveira; Rep. John T. Smithee and Rep. Sylvester Turner. The clerk for the Committee is Toni Barcellona, 512-463-0814.

Members of the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee are Rep. John T. Smithee (Chairman); Rep. Jessica Farrar (Vice Chairman); Rep. Travis Clardy; Rep. Ana Hernandez; Rep. Jodie Laubenberg; Rep. Richard Pena Raymond; Rep. Mike Schofield; Rep. Kenneth Sheets and Rep. Senfronia Thompson. The clerk for the Committee is Beth Klunder, 512-463-0790.

The laws will not change favorable to homeowners if legislators do not hear from us as to whether or not we want the bills they propose. Also, on the other side of the coin, if we don’t register non-support of the bad bills, those are the ones that we will have to live with. Session will soon be over so it is important to make your legislative calls of support or non-support. At the time of the publish date of this article, the above subject bills were all the ones filed specifically pertaining to property owners associations.

It is your duty for yourself and your family to protect your property rights. We here in Texas are now in our 84th Legislative Session and as of the date of this article (March 21, 2015), the above bills have been introduced. It would be wise if you are in support or not of any of the bills, that you let your legislator know as well as the members of the committee the bill was referred to, how you want them to vote.
The National Homeowners Advocate Group, LLC
All Rights Reserved. © 2015.

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AN AFTER CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR 2015 AND BEYOND

board

Here is a bit of a gift for you and all those who truly want to do what’s best for their homeowners! I know it’s after Christmas, but this was worth the wait!

Our friend over at HoaBoard.org, Mr. Shelton Lee, has a FREE eBook entitled “HOW TO SELF MANAGE YOUR HOA” that helps Boards break-free from advisors who may not have homeowner’s best interests at heart. As Shelton says it, “I’ve grown tired of feeling like the people I’m paying to serve our homeowners are more interested in what’s in their own best interest, than what’s in ours.” So he put into writing all of the top information his Board uses to break-free from ‘those advisors’ who were hurting their homeowners.

It’s short, but a well-written essay, and we encourage you to download it (for free) and to share it with any and all board members you may know who are looking for some answers! You’ll find it at HoaBoard.org.

Understanding what’s really going on behind the scenes is the first step toward eradicating it – and here’s your chance to keep your ‘advisors’ in line (or get rid of them if you want to).

Author, Mr. Shelton Lee

HoaBoard.org

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THE PERIL OF REVERSE MORTGAGES IN TEXAS

Reverse Mortgage

Reverse Mortgages in Texas is just one more way for seniors to be on the losing end of what is being touted as a great way to get the money you need and still stay in your house.

While you do accomplish the goal of receiving funds from the escrow in your home as a senior, there is one major downside to obtaining a reverse mortgage in Texas and that is that you “lose” your deferred tax benefit and all your past due taxes will become due.

If Texas seniors are not aware that they are entitled to deferring “all” of their taxes at the age of 65 and older, please contact your local Appraisal District and obtained a “Tax Deferral Affidavit Over-65 Homestead or Disabled Homeowner” form, which clearly states on its face that “if you are a homeowner age 65 or over or disabled, you can defer, or postpone, paying delinquent property taxes on your homestead for as long as you own it and live in it. To postpone your tax payments, file a tax deferral affidavit with your appraisal district. The deferral applies to delinquent property taxes for all of the taxing units that tax your home.”

The form also clearly states, “You should be aware that a tax deferral only postpones payments. It does not cancel them. Interest will be added at the rate of 8% annually. Once you no longer own your home or live in it, all the taxes, penalties, and interest become due after 180 days and the taxing units may proceed with a lawsuit to collect delinquent taxes if the taxes remain unpaid.”

The form also clearly states, “NOTE: You are required to give us a driver’s license, personal I.D. certificate, or social security number on this form, in order to perform tax related functions for this office. The chief appraiser is required to keep the information confidential and not open to the public inspection, except to appraisal office employees who appraise property and as authorized by Section 11.48(b), Tax Code.”

Therefore, please be aware, Texas Senior Citizens, you will lose your deferred tax status and that is something not being disclosed to you.

I do not have a high opinion of reverse mortgages. I personally believe it is just another way to quietly steal someone’s homestead without them being aware of the theft so be careful, be wise and remember, Texas is not a consumer state.

harvellajones1234@gmail.com

© 2013. The National Homeowners Advocate Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

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