Tag Archives: Texas

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.

 

TROPIC ISLES SUBDIVISION HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF ILLEGALLY COLLECTING HOA DUES

Corpus christi Tropic Isles Michael Cyrus

by
Harvella Jones

The Tropic Isles Homeowners Association (TIA) in the Tropic Isles subdivision in Corpus Christi, Texas is being accused of illegally collecting HOA dues. According to one of the owners Michael Cyrus, “the TIA ceased to have any authority over our property in 1981 and despite this fact they continue to illegally collect dues at closings without the legal authority to do so.” This statement is cited in his very comprehensive website “Tropic Isles Exposed”. The location is http://www.tropicislesexposed.com/Home_Page.html. What is worse according to Mike Cyrus is that “the TIA is now claiming to be able to change the dedicatory instruments anytime they want by simple vote of the board; the TIA Board has done so on several occasions since 1994 and these actions bypass the amendment provisions in the original Restrictions that are meant to protect the owners and their properties and the worst part is that these illegal documents adversely affect the salability of every property in the Tropic Isles subdivision.”

Corruption in homeowner association communities can only prevail when people continue to be apathetic about the abuse. Some people would rather withdraw into their homes and not do anything about it just to keep from getting into “trouble” with their homeowner or property owner association. Unfortunately, this type of behavior does not stop the abuse—it only causes it to escalate. What Mike Cyrus hopes to accomplish with http://www.tropicislesexposed.com is to let his neighbors know that they are not alone and that in coming together the owners might prevail.

Michael Cyrus is to be applauded for his pro-active actions in exposing the wrongs in his community and hopefully, he will soon be able to get his communities’ help in recapturing their community from the wrongs being committed by this association, that according to actual court documents, include “illegally changing the dedicatory instruments, putting a cloud on the title of every property owner and illegally demanding fees from the owners residing in the Tropic Isles subdivision.” The documents posted on his website really do speak for themselves.

For more detailed information and a look at those legal and association documents, click on this link: http://www.tropicislesexposed.com/Home_Page.html.

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