The start of another session of the Texas Legislature is almost here. Beginning January 12, 2021, lawmakers will have 140 days to debate over changes to Texas law. As we recently covered in our 2021 Legislative Preview webinar, it is unknown how this session will unfold during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected lawmakers will spend the majority of the session focusing on COVID-19 related relief, and of course, the decennial process of redistricting. Yet, in the first few weeks of pre-bill filing for the 2021 session, we have found several bills that may affect property owners’ associations (“POA”) if passed. These bills are provided below:
- HB 67 – Relating to Unenforceable Restrictive Covenants Related to Swimming Pool Enclosures
- If passed, this bill would prohibit a POA from adopting or enforcing a provision in a dedicatory instrument that prohibits or restricts a property owner from installing on the property owner’s property a swimming pool enclosure that conforms to applicable state or local safety requirements
- HB 191 – Relating to the Prohibition of Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression and to the Enforcement of that Prohibition
- If passed, the bill would essentially add the terms “Gender Identity or Expression” and “Sexual Orientation” to the protected classes under Chapter 301 of the Texas Property Code (Texas Fair Housing Act)
- HB 485 – Relating to the Removal of Certain Unconstitutional Provisions from Real Property Records
- Permits an owner of real property to file suit to remove from a recorded instrument affecting or conveying an interest in the property a provision that: (1) violates the United States Constitution; (2) is unenforceable under law; and (3) is unambiguously discriminatory
- SB 222 – Relating to the Removal of Certain Discriminatory Restrictions and Provisions from Certain Real Property Records
- Permits an owner of real property to request on a form provided and created by the Attorney General, that the County Clerk remove a discriminatory provision or restriction (as defined by Sec. 5.026 of the Texas Property Code) from a recorded instrument
- SB 206 – Relating to the Operation of Certain Low-Powered Vehicles
- Amends Sec. 551.304 of the Transportation Code to permit the operation of golf carts in a master planned community without a golf cart license plate
- HB 801 – Relating to a Certification Program for Assistance Animals; Authorizing Fees; Imposing a Civil Penalty
- Establishes a certification program for assistance animals in Texas, including but not limited to obedience training, evaluation by a licensed veterinarian and evaluation of the primary owner by a mental health professional. Establishes a statewide assistance animal registry. Also prohibits assistance animals in common recreational areas of master planned communities subject to restrictive covenants limiting residency to persons 55 years of age or older unless the assistance animal is certified and meets the additional requirements under the bill.
For a more in-depth explanation of these bills, please watch our 2021 Legislative Preview webinar. How these bills will progress through the Legislature, and whether they will change during the process, is still to be determined.
It is also still to be determined if we will see more bills filed that affect POAs. The first few days of pre-bill filing were filled with numerous bills crossing the chambers in Austin, but in the weeks following, pre-bill filing has slowed unlike prior sessions. Of course, this may change once the regular session begins. For further updates, make sure to regularly check RMWBH’s blog, LinkedIn pages and Community Association Newsletter where we will continue to track the progression of the 87th Legislative Session and relevant POA bills.