After a long 140 days, the 87th Texas Legislative Session has come to an end. In November when bill filing began, many believed this would be a quiet session concerning POAs with most of the legislative focus being on COVID-19 relief and other related issues. But, over the past few months, the legislative session turned out to be one of the most active sessions for POAs in recent memory. In Part I of our recap of the legislative session provided below, we take a look at the bills that have passed.
With the session complete, we wait to see what action, if any, the Governor takes in response to the bills that have passed. It is expected each of these bills to go into effect without the Governor’s veto. If anything changes, we will inform you through our newsletter, website and LinkedIn page.
On June 16, 2021, I will be joined by Equity Shareholder Clint Brown for an extensive webinar recapping the session and examining each of these bills and what they mean for POAs moving forward. For more information and to register, please click here.
Finally, be on the lookout later this year for the newest editions of our Single-Family and Condominiums Property Code Guides. Each of these guides will include all of the changes to the Property Code in an easy-to-read format that will be available both in print and digitally on our website.
- SB 1588 – Relating to the powers and duties of property owners’ association
- Status: The enrolled version of the bill was reported and signed by both the House and the Senate on 5/31/2021. The bill is on its way to the Governor for signature.
- Please see our separate article highlighting SB 1588 for more details.
- The companion bill was HB 3367 (Turner).
- Different sections of this bill will take effect over the next year.
- SB 581 – Relating to regulation by a property owners’ association of certain religious displays
- Status: The bill was signed by the Governor on 5/31/2021 and takes effect immediately.
- Another bill that has been seen in prior legislative sessions; this bill amends Sec. 202.018 of the Texas Property Code. The bill prevents POAs from enforcing or adopting a restriction that prohibits owners from displaying “on the owner’s or resident’s property or dwelling” one or more religious items (note that this expands the statute beyond the entry of the property). However, a POA could still enforce a restriction if the religious display threatens public safety, violates a law (other than a law prohibiting the display of religious speech), is offensive, is installed on property owned by the POA or in common with other members of the POA, or violates any applicable building line, right-of-way, setback or easement.
- SB 30 – Relating to the removal of certain discriminatory restrictions and provisions from certain real property records
- Status: Enrolled version of bill reported on 5/29/2021, signed by the Senate on 5/30/2021 and signed by the House on 5/31/2021. The next step is Governor action.
- Permits an owner of real property to request the removal of a discriminatory provision by completing and filing, with the district court clerk, a motion, verified by affidavit, that contains, at a minimum, the information provided in the suggested form under the bill. The companion bill is SB 222 (Hughes).
- Bill takes effect September 1, 2021.
HB 3571 – Relating to the regulation of security measures by a property owners’ association
- Status: Enrolled version of bill reported 5/30/2021 and signed by Senate and House on 5/31/2021.
- This bill will add Sec. 202.023 to the Texas Property Code which would prohibit a POA from adopting or enforcing a restrictive covenant that prevents a property owner from building or installing a security measure, including a security camera, motion detector, or perimeter fence. The POA would be allowed to regulate the type of fencing that an owner may install and prohibit the installation of security cameras on property other than the owner’s private property. The companion bill is SB 1824 (Springer).
- Also included with SB 1588.
- Bill takes effect September 1, 2021.
- HB 1659 – Relating to the amendment of a residential subdivision’s declaration to affect certain types of property located in the subdivision
- Status: Enrolled version reported on 5/30/2021, signed by House on 5/30/2021, signed by Senate on 5/31/2021 and sent to Governor for signature.
- This bill would amend Section 209.0041 of the Texas Property Code (requiring 67% vote for a Declaration Amendment) by adding subsection (d-1). The 67% vote requirement would not apply to an amendment that affects a portion of a subdivision zoned for or containing a commercial structure, industrial structure, apartment complex, or a condominium.
- The bill takes effect September 1, 2021.
- SB 318 – Relating to the records of certain condominium unit owners’ associations.
- Status: Enrolled version of bill reported on 5/28/2021, signed by Senate on 5/30/2021 and signed by House on 5/31/2021.
- This bill will essentially mirror the language under Section 209.005 of the Texas Property Code making the open records procedures applicable to condominium associations. The bill requires a condominium association to make the books and records of the association, including financial records, open to and reasonably available for examination by a unit owner, and sets forth the procedure to request either the inspection or production of certain association records. This bill would also require a condominium association to adopt a records production and copying policy, as well as a document retention policy.
- This bill takes effect September 1, 2021.
- HB 1927 – Relating to provisions governing the carrying of a firearm by a person who is 21 years of age or older and not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law from possessing the firearm and to other provisions related to the carrying, possessing, transporting, or storing of a firearm or other weapon; creating criminal offenses.
- Status: Sent to Governor and this bill will take effect on September 1, 2021, if signed.
- This bill will allow anyone over the age of 21 who can legally carry a firearm to carry a firearm without a handgun license.
- Private businesses, such as management companies, can still post restrictions following 06 and 30.07 of the Texas Penal Code on the possession of firearms.
- SB 6 – Relating to liability for certain claims arising during a pandemic or disaster related to a pandemic.
- Status: Enrolled version of this bill reported on 5/28/2021, signed by the Senate on 5/30/21 and signed by the House on 5/31/21. Sent to the Governor for signature on 6/1/21.
- This bill is another omnibus bill with many different parts. The area POAs should pay close attention to is the section adding Chapter 148 to the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. In Sec. 148.003 LIABILITY FOR CAUSING EXPOSURE TO PANDEMIC –Subsections (1)(a) and 1(b) focus on the liability for individuals and business when exposing a person to a pandemic disease. 1(a) states a person, which includes corporations pursuant to Section 311.005 of the Texas Government Code, is not liable for injury or death caused by exposing an individual to a pandemic disease during a pandemic emergency unless the claimant can establish that the person who exposed the individual knowingly failed to warn the individual or remediate a condition the person knew was likely to expose the individual to the disease. But the person would have to had control over the condition, know the individual would most likely not come into contact with the condition and had a reasonable opportunity and ability to remediate the condition or warn the individual of the condition before that individual came into contact with the condition.
- Subsection (1)(b) continues the person is not liable unless the person knowingly failed to implement or comply with government standards, guidance, or protocols intended to lower the likelihood of exposure that were applicable to the person or the person’s business provided that:
- The person had reasonable opportunity and ability to implement protocols.
- The person refused to implement or comply with or acted with flagrant disregard to the protocols.
- The government protocols on the date the person failed to implement or comply with did not, on the date the individual was exposed to the disease, conflict with government protocols the person implemented or complied with.
- This bill will take effect on September 1, 2021.