February has marked a busy month for legislators at the State Capitol. The pace of bills being filed has accelerated and multiple new bills are appearing daily, with a large portion relating to the POA industry. For our March update, we will introduce many of the new bills that have been filed, including a few that have been seen in prior sessions, and revisit the bills we have been following since the beginning of the session.
- HB 1970 – Relating to Property Owners’ Association Fines
- This bill has been seen in prior legislative sessions. If passed, this bill would amend Chapter 209 of the Texas Property Code to add Sec. 209.0061 requiring a POA board to adopt a fine policy. The policy must disclose each type of violation for which the board may assess a fine, the amount of the fine for each violation and provide information regarding hearings. The bill would also require the POA to file the policy with the county clerk’s office and provide a copy of the policy to each owner by posting the policy on the POA’s website or annually sending a copy of the policy to the members by hand-delivery, first class mail or e-mail.
- HB 2076 – Relating to the Filing of Property Owners’ Association Fine Policies with a Municipality
- In addition to HB 1970, HB 2076 also deals with POA fine policies. If passed, this bill would amend Chapter 212 of the Local Government Code by adding Sec. 212.906 requiring the POA to file a fine policy with the municipality in which the subdivision is located.
- SB 581 – Relating to Regulation by a Property Owners’ Association of Certain Religious Displays
- Another bill that has been seen in prior legislative sessions; this bill would amend Sec. 202.018 of the Texas Property Code. The bill would ban 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, is offensive or is installed on property owned by the POA or in common with other members of the POA. The bill also provides that a POA may adopt and enforce restrictions relating to the size, material and components of the display, and enforce limits on the length of the display if the item is relating to a religious event or holiday.
- SB 749 – Relating to the Foreclosure of POA Assessment Liens on Certain Boarding Home Facilities
- This bill would allow a POA to judicially foreclose an assessment lien on a property used as a boarding house if the debt securing the lien consists solely of fines assessed by the association for a violation of association restrictions, bylaws, or rules and the violation constitutes neglect or abuse of a resident of the boarding home facility.
- HB 1686 – Relating to the Regulation of Food Production on Single-Family Residential Lots by a Municipality or POA
- If passed, this bill would prohibit a POA from adopting or enforcing a restriction that prohibits the growing of fruits and vegetables, the raising or keeping of six or fewer domestic fowls, six or fewer rabbits, or three or fewer beehives, or a cottage food production operation on a residential lot. The bill would allow a POA to adopt or enforce a covenant to impose reasonable requirements on the raising or keeping of fowls, rabbits or bees such as placing a limit on the number of animals or beehives that is above the minimum included in the bill, prohibiting the raising or keeping of a rooster, or the minimum distance between an animal shelter or beehive and a residential structure.
- HB 1483 – Relating to the Redaction of an Unconstitutional Restriction from an Instrument Conveying an Interest in Real Property.
- The language of this bill permits a grantee of an instrument conveying an interest in real property who believes that a restriction in the instrument violates the Texas or US Constitution to bring an action against the county and seek redaction of the restriction. The action must be brought in the county where the instrument is recorded. If the court finds the restriction violates the Texas or US Constitution, the court must enter an order: 1) identifying the instrument and specific language in violation; and 2) requiring the county clerk to redact the restriction at issue.
- HB 1470 – Relating to the Prohibition of Housing Discrimination on the Basis of a Person’s Source of Income and to the Enforcement of that Prohibition.
- Amends Section 301.003 of the Texas Property Code (TX Fair Housing Act) by adding Subdivision (10-a) to include “Source of Income” as a protected class. The term “Source of Income” includes: 1. Housing choice vouchers under Section 8, US Housing Act 1937; or 2. Any other federal or state or local housing assistance provided to a family/individual/homeowner on behalf of a family or individual, including rental vouchers, rental assistance, or rental subsidies from a nongovernmental organization (Companion bill is SB 265 (West)
- HB 1467 – Relating to Property Owners’ Association Annual Meetings held Electronically.
- Amends Section 209.014(a) of the Texas Property Code. Permits an annual meeting to be held via electronic or telephonic means if: 1. Each attendee may hear and be heard by everyone attending; and 2. The notice sent to members includes instructions to access any communication method required to attend the meeting remotely.
- HB 1569 – Relating to Regulation by a POA of Certain Religious Displays.
- The proposed bill would prohibit POAs from adopting or enforcing a covenant prohibiting an owner or resident from displaying one or more religious displays on the property (deletes limitation of entryway). Additionally, this bill repeals the language under the current statute which provides POAs with authority to regulate size and location concerning religious items.
Several other new bills filed over the last few weeks are companions to bills listed below.
Previously Mentioned Bills
- SB 318 – Relating to the Records of Certain Condominium Unit Owners’ Associations.
- If passed, this bill would 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.
- HB 1202 – Relating to the Amendment of a Dedicatory Instrument to Remove a Discriminatory Provision.
- Provides a procedure for the governing body of a POA to amend a dedicatory instrument to remove a discriminatory provision by majority vote of the governing body: 1) on its own motion; or 2) on the motion of a member of the POA. Also provides procedures for owners within an association to amend a dedicatory instrument to remove a discriminatory provision through a petition process or amendment committee formation process. (Companion bill is SB 754 (Miles)
- HB 875 – Relating to the Prohibition of Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Age or Certain Housing Needs and to the Enforcement of that Prohibition.
- If passed, this bill would essentially add the terms “Age” and “Housing Needs” to the protected classes under Chapter 301 of the Texas Property Code (Texas Fair Housing Act)
- 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, this 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) (Companion bill is HB 188 (Bernal) and SB 233 (Whitmire)
- 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 (Companion bill is HB 1281 (Wilson)
- 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.
With the recent winter storm, legislative attention has quickly turned to the fallout of the power grid and water systems throughout the state. The amount of attention that will be given to many of these bills moving forward remains to be seen. These bills still remain in the early stages and have not been taken up by a committee. We will provide further updates on the status of these bills in future newsletters.
On March 23, join Equity Shareholder Clint Brown and me as we host an update at the halfway mark of the 87th Texas Legislative Session. During this presentation, we go into detail on many of these bills, look at their potential effects on POAs and answer any questions you may have. Register today by going to https://www.rmwbh.com/education/halfway-legislative-update/.