During Texas 2011 Legislative session, homeowner advocates testified on behalf of “all” Texas homeowners in regard to the various homeowner association bills introduced by various legislators. However, when the Legislative session was over, unknown to the testifying homeowner advocates, the bills pertaining to books and records, meetings, priority payments, etc. did not include “condo” owners. Bills pertaining to roofing material, solar panels and harvesting of water were the only bills that covered Condo owners which, from the perspective of a condo owner, are useless bills for condo owners.
After the 2011 Legislative session was over, many complaints poured into the National Homeowner Advocate Group’s office from condo owners complaining they were being told by board members and Community Association Institute (CAI) attorneys that they were not covered under the new Books and Records, Meetings, Priority of Payments, etc., laws. Basically, none of the new laws pertaining to the aforementioned items covered “condo” owners.
When the various officers of The National Homeowners Advocate Group checked with Senator Royce West (D) (District 23 Dallas County) and other writers of the various HOA (Homeowner Association) bills that had passed into law, they were initially assured by these legislators that “condo” owners were covered. However, after looking into the matter further, it turned out that “condo” owners were not and are not covered under these new 2012 property laws.
While “condo” owners are covered under a different residential code than single-family homeowners, the common thread between “condo” owners and other property owners is that they are owners of property, they pay assessment fees to their homeowner association to maintain common and shared property, they have board members they elect, they attend meetings, they need to see books and records to see how their money is being spent, they need to be assured their monthly assessment fees are being applied to their account properly. In other words, “condo” owners are owners of real estate too and their property rights “must” be protected the same as any other homeowner and the fact current laws are not protecting a “condo” owner’s homestead investment in the same manner as other homeowners can lead to discriminatory lawsuits across the state.
Representative Alma Allen (D) Dist. 131 Harris County has stepped forward and authored a bill (HB 1933) this 83rd Texas Legislative Session to resolve the books and records and meeting “condo” omissions. Condo owners should also be part of the priority payment property code as well. Here is the link to the bill (HB 1933) so that you can read it for yourself: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB1933
Rep. Allen filed HB 1933 on February 27, 2013 and it was referred to the Business & Industry Committee on March 5, 2013. As yet, the bill has not been set for a hearing. As you may or may not know, not getting a bill out of the committee to be voted on by the House and then the Senate, essentially kills the bill before it has an opportunity to become a property code. Just because a bill is filed does not necessarily mean it will become law if it is not supported, a hearing set and it moves out of the committee. More details on the legislative process of creating law can be found on the legislative website:
Condo owners interested in protecting their property rights by being able to get their association books and records without a long, expensive and time consuming event and who want the right to attend their meetings without a hassle should contact the Business & Industry Committee’s Chair and each member directly to let them know you support Rep. Allen’s HB 1933 “condo” bill. Below are the links to assist you with doing just that:
Following is the form you can use to send a support letter/email for HB 1933 directly to Rep. Alma Allen:
A special thank you to Wesley Summers with http://makehoasaccountable.org/levels/level-1/
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