2017 is fast approaching and that means the Texas Legislature will meet for its 85th session. The regular session begins January 10, 2017, and ends May 29, 2017 – 140 days.
In preparation for the new session, the House Business and Industry Committee held a public Interim Hearing on June 8, 2016 – invited testimony only. Charge #4, which concerned Home Owner Associations, was:
- Examine the regulatory powers of property owners associations and the procedures available to home owners when an association restricts individual or property rights.
- Review current best practices to help clarify the balance of property rights, transparency in governance, and the best interests of property owners in the state.
The Committee included the following representatives:
- Rep. René O. Oliveira (Chair)
- Rep. Ron Simmons (Vice Chair)
- Rep. Nicole Collier (did not attend the hearing)
- Rep. Allen Fletcher
- Rep. Matt Rinaldi
- Rep. Ramon Romero, Jr.
- Rep. Jason Villalba
The four witnesses were:
- CAI/TCAA witnesses Mike Walker and Marta Gore.
- Attorney Gregory Cagle stated that he represented both POAs and homeowners adverse to their POAs.
- Attorney David Kahne stated that he represented homeowners adverse to their POAs.
Texas homeowners must unite to demand their rights which have been taken from them over the past 30+ years. The HOA Reform Coalition is waiting on the results of the November 8, 2016, election, to learn names of all the members of the 2017 Texas House and Senate.
Last October, the Coalition held a workshop to gather input for this upcoming legislative session. The issues that were most important to those in attendance were:
- Require boards to read/follow Governing Documents and require education
- Enforce laws for POAs/HOAs, management companies, and attorneys
- Establish a regulatory body (possibly elected) over POAs
- Expand HOA laws to Condos/Townhomes
- Provide a mechanism to recover attorney fees – mandatory
Several other concerns were brought up during this workshop which the Coalition plans to present during this coming session. The plight of those who live in POAs has too long been ignored.
The Coalition needs Texas homeowners to contact their state Senators and Representatives regarding their own problems and when their support or opposition is needed for proposed bills. The Coalition will send periodic emails during the coming session to alert you to various bills that will need your support or opposition.
Let 2017 be the Year of the Texas Homeowner!
Beanie Adolph– Director
Nancy Kozanecki – Assistant Director
Whew! What a few weeks this has been. Heavy rains. Flash floods. Tornados. And yet we did meet for the HOA Reform Fall Conference on Saturday, October 24. Despite the many last-minute cancellations, some members managed to travel from San Antonio, Austin, and even from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Good work was accomplished and we had an opportunity to honor Mary Lou Durham who was most helpful in homeowner successes at this past session.
Attorney David Kahne presented a review of the new Texas Legislation which is now available on his website http://texashoas.org/. David and Nancy then discussed preparation for the 2017 legislative session which was followed by members ranking the issues. Their choices are being studied and will be discussed over the next months.
Attorney Bill Davis arrived from the Austin area to explain “The Not-So-Omnipotent HOA – Chapter 1”. Bill has found there are so-called HOAs which exert powers not rightfully theirs.
David and Beanie then described some national issues covered by activists. Shu Bartholomew, who has a weekly radio show, has also established a website Shu@fromthehoatrenches.com and invites homeowners from across the nation to tell their stories. Rodney Gray’s documentary feature film, The HOAX, was screened in downtown Dallas on October 18. Jan Bergemann has the Florida website http://www.ccfj.net Attorney Evan McKenzie is a recognized national authority on HOA issues. His book, PRIVATOPIA revealed the background and intent of the HOA/CAI Industry.
There was strong support at the Conference for single-issue bills, which have been on the homeowner agenda for over a decade. Homeowners prefer single issue bills but inevitably an HOA Omnibus bill includes our issues. Most single-issue bills have no traction and don’t make it out of committee. In this session one bill HB 971, filed by Rep. Dwayne Bohac would confirm officers and directors of pre-TUCA condos (created before 1994) the same fiduciary duty towards the members as applies to condos created under TUCA (created after 1993). This bill required the Officers and Directors to affirm they had read all of the documents and would enforce them. Now we know that all homeowners are expected to have read all of their documents. When cited for a violation, owners are told, you must know the rules, yet here when the “rulers” are told they must know the rules, the bill dies in Calendars because of fierce opposition. The HOA Reform Coalition vigorously supported the bill.
A similarity can be noted here with Attorney Bill Davis’ issue with HOAs which have not adhered to the state HOA requirements yet have been demanding homeowners’ compliance with CC&R’s. “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Another single-issue bill was HB 1335, sponsored by Rep. Gutierrez at the request of The Texas Family Council. HB 1335 would have put a $500 cap on legal fees for which the HOA could demand reimbursement from the homeowner. There is currently NO cap on legal fees in a judicial foreclosure. HB 1335 was referred to Business and Industry and never got out of committee.
The homeowner scene at this point was very bleak although Attorney David Kahne in negotiations with industry representatives, encouraged by Governor Abbott’s office and Senator West, had modified the bill regarding:
Open Meetings 209.00591; Running for director 209.00593; Voting, 209.0058 Also, 209.00592 absentee owner voting rights; Notice of violations 209.006; Priority of Payments.
Go to Attorney Kahne’s website http://texashoas.org/ for full information.
Senator West’s bill SB 1168 (co-sponsored by Rep. Villalba in the House HB 2797) was sailing through with a couple of frightening possibilities. We had asked and been denied the rule for certified mail notice as well as the right of a candidate to have a monitor observe ballot counting.
On May 23, when SB 1168 was presented to the House of Representatives, Rep. Bohac stepped forward and offered Amendment #5 to strike “verified” and insert “certified”. Rep. Villalba moved to table but his motion failed. Certified mail has been the gold standard for mail providing assurance of delivery. Amendment #5 was adopted.
Then Rep. Bohac offered AMENDMENT #6 which provided that each candidate may name one person to observe the counting of the ballots provided that this does not entitle any observer to see the name of the person who cast the ballot, and that any disruptive observer may be removed. The industry had vigorously opposed these two amendments. Amendment #6 was adopted. We already have heard of the law being used to secure observers that enable election of pro-homeowner directors.
Rep. Doug Miller then proposed Amendment #7 stating that a person may not vote in a POA election unless the person is subject to a dedicatory instrument governing the association through which the association exercises its authority. Amendment #7 was adopted. Three homeowner amendments had passed.
Then the bill went back to the Senate. The Senate concurred in the House amendments. SB 1168 was signed by the governor on June 18, 2015, and became effective on September 1, 2015.
Our Coalition is hoping the legislators are becoming aware of the injustice that was perpetrated on Texas homeowners by Property Code 204 and subsequent laws. Total power was given to HOA boards with no accountability. A homeowner’s only recourse is a costly lawsuit, so beneficial to the CAI/HOA attorneys
Beanie Adolph, Director
Nancy Kozanecki, Assistant Director
Legislative Session Update – June 2015
HOA BILLS PASSED BY THE 84th TEXAS LEGISLATURE
Below is a list of the bills that have been passed concerning HOAs. Later we hope to analyze the new laws and their possible effects. Bills that are passed by the legislature are sent to the Governor with these three options:
- Sign, and the bill becomes law.
- Veto, and the bill does not become law.
- Does not sign and the bill becomes law on the date stated in the bill.
You may click on the bill number to obtain a complete copy of the final bill. Also indicated below is the effective date of the bill. Those that were signed by the governor are so indicated.
- HB 745 – Bohac (Uses -Street Signs) Without signature – Effective immediately
- HB 939 – Dale (Uses -Generators) Signed – Effective immediately
- HB 1072 – Thompson (Govern – Board Qual.) Without signature – Effective 9-1-2015
- HB 1455 – King (Condo Litigation) Signed – Effective 9-1-2015
- HB 3089 – Galindo (Hi-Rise Sprinklers) Without signature – Effective 9-1-2015
- SB 862 – Birdwell (Election – Voting) Signed – Effective 9-1-2015
- SB 864 – Birdwell (Election – ballot) Signed – Effective immediately
- SB 1168 – West (Omnibus – SF HOAs) – Signed – Effective 9-1-2015
- SB 1626 – Rodriguez (Solar Devices) – Signed – Effective 9-1-2015
- SB 1852 – Nichols (Documents – Amend) Without signature – Effective immediately
Beanie Adolph – Director Nancy Kozanecki – Assistant Director
It’s Time to Fight
Homeowners had no warning. Homeowners didn’t surrender. Quietly and without fanfare, the Texas legislature took away our property rights and gave them to the HOA Industry: the lawyers who run foreclosure factories, property managers who charge us for their own irresponsible management, and boards that would deny us liberty in our own homes.
Too often, homeowners only learn of the HOA Industry control when they get hit by exorbitant and unlimited attorney fees and fines, liens, and foreclosures, or when a cabal takes over their community, frustrates fair voting, meets secretly, and hides records.
Homeowners want an end to HOA abuse. Now is the time for better laws, in areas such as:
- Fair elections
- Open Meetings
- Open Records
- By-Laws and CC&R (deed restriction) changes by member vote only
- No fines
- All key documents, including financial and history of lawsuits, on the web for easy access
- State Agency Oversight – independent of the HOA Industry
- Member approval required for foreclosure
Yet, even as HOAs increase their control of owners’ daily lives, the HOA industry opposes any change, any regulation labeling it “government control”. They have it exactly backwards. The HOA is the out-of-control agency. We want to end bad statutes that give excessive power to invasive lawyers, property managers, and boards. Our goal is to restore fundamental constitutional rights – to allow all members to have a voice in self-governance and to promote harmony rather than division in communities.
Our goal can only be achieved by the “power of the people”. Texas homeowners must unite in their neighborhoods to reclaim their rights denied by the HOAs. They must demand their representatives in the Texas Senate and House truly represent them and not the HOA lobbyists.
The HOA Industry opposition is always fierce, instilling fear of change. The wanna-be overseers enjoy their power and control and testify at legislative hearings how wonderful HOA life is. Those who rule do have a wonderful life, but they ignore the serious overreaching. The HOA industry is living on your money. Reclaim your rights and your money. Tell us what laws you want changed. Have your neighborhood group ally with the HOA Reform Coalition today!
Please give us your name and contact information so that we can send you alerts from time to time. United with other Texas Homeowners, we can reclaim homeowners’ rights. Click this link Tell Us About Your HOA