HB 1278 Passed – religious displays
The 82nd Texas Legislature enacted HB 1278 (here) relating to regulation of religious displays. The governor has yet to make his decision whether to sign it, veto it or let it become law without his signature. For a listing of the majority of the HOA legislation considered and the status of each bill, go here.
IMPORTANT: This description is NOT intended to be legal advice. You should review the law yourself or have an attorney review it for you before taking any action. The law may have changed, may not apply to your HOA, or a court may have altered the meaning of the words. Before investing a lot of money, or risking adverse action by your HOA, you should not merely read what is on any website including this one. Get fully informed.
This bill was principally designed to encourage HOAs to allow homeowners to have a mezuzah on their door frame as apparently some HOAs either did not like Jews or found the symbol of the Jewish faith to be terrible and harmful to property values. The bill is short, but as with most other HOA reforms, does have some exceptions.
Except as otherwise provided by this section, a property owners’ association may not enforce or adopt a restrictive covenant that prohibits a property owner or resident from displaying or affixing on the entry to the owner’s or resident’s dwelling one or more religious items the display of which is motivated by the owner’s or resident’s sincere religious belief. Tex. Prop. Code 202.018 (pending effective date and governor review).
And here are the exceptions:
(1) threatens the public health or safety;
(2) violates a law;
(3) contains language, graphics, or any display that is patently offensive to a passerby;
(4) is in a location other than the entry door or door frame or extends past the outer edge of the door frame of the owner’s or resident’s dwelling; or
(5) individually or in combination with each other religious item displayed or affixed on the entry door or door frame has a total size of greater than 25 square inches.
But if the law goes into effect, Texas will also authorize HOAs to enter land that is not theirs, and take property without a court order or anything else:
A property owners’ association may remove an item displayed in violation of a restrictive covenant permitted by this section.
So much for being a property rights state. This bill attempts to help homeowners, but abusive HOAs will now have the power to take property of homeowners.