83rd Session – Legislative Review

The 83rd Session – Filed Bills

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16 May 2013

Mid May is a most volatile time at the Texas legislature.  Bills filed for one purpose are amended to such an extent that they enforce the opposite.  Homeowners have seen good bills filed and then seen the bill’s author forced to recall his bill because amendments have destroyed the good intent. Many bills are retitled “Committee Substitute” as CSHB 3803, because so much of the bill has been changed.  When last seen, CSHB 3803 still had language requiring a fidelity bond to cover losses resulting from dishonest or fraudulent acts. Go to the Opinion pages and click on Fraud and Embezzlement stories.

HOA/POA bills that could harm homeowners and are of much concern:

HB 503 – (Hernandez) – Relating to the ability of a board member to contract with the association.

HB 3176 – (Bohac) – Relating to the appointment of a board member of a POA to fill a vacancy.

HB 2749 – (Parker) – Requires the Texas Supreme Court to provide forms for expedited foreclosure for industry use.

HB 2978 – (Parker) – Relating to the notice of sale in connection with an expedited judicial foreclosure process.

SB 1202 – (West) – Relating to an order to conduct mediation following an application for expedited judicial foreclosure proceeding.

HB 680 – (Burkett) – Relating to provisions in the dedicatory instruments of POAs regarding flags.

HB 449 – (Dukes) – CSSB 198 (Watson) allows the use of drought-tolerant landscape materials in POAs with approval of local ACCs.

HB 2075 – (Anchia) – Condominium issues.

HB 3800 – (Coleman) – Relating to filing of POA management certificates with County Clerks.

Except for CSHB 3803 – (McClendon) where are the HOA Reform Bills?

For more than a decade homeowners have been told of “meetings of all the stakeholders” to work on HOA bills. No bills are welcomed by the legislature that if passed, would severely cripple the political machine of the HOA boards, reduce HOA attorney influence, put an end to HOAs under attorney guidance, or find ways to give homeowners a legitimate voice in their governance. And always, there are no homeowners invited to the stakeholder meetings! But always the Industry is represented. Consider this affidavit given by a DFW CAI attorney in the 428th Judicial District Court on August 14, 2012: “I personally attended or monitored all meetings of committees of the Texas House and Senate at which most amendments to Section 209 of the Texas Property Code were considered. I also personally attended or monitored all floor debates and votes which most amendments to Section 209 of the Texas Property Code were considered.”

The management company, attorney, pool vendor, A/C service man, landscaper, etc. are all considered “stakeholders” in the private property interests because they make money from the homeowner. The legislators don’t want to hear from the real stakeholders – the homeowner constituents.

The CAI paid lobbyist once again falsely proclaims that CAI represents homeowners, failing to mention that CAI does not, and cannot as a business trade group, represent consumers — and HOAs are consumers of CAI member services.

It’s just the special interest vendors, the “stakeholders”, who live off HOA income who come before the committees year after year demanding anti-homeowner laws and yet are never unmasked. The homeowner, the true stakeholder, who bears the burdens of his home, comes and/or writes and is given short shrift. So, there it is! Homeowners are at the bottom of the food chain, with the legislators ignoring the principle that in a true democracy the people rule.

It is past time for all Texas homeowners to unite. Texas homeowners must know how their legislators vote. Each homeowner must demand that his state senator and state representative truly represent his needs or be voted out of office. The HOA/POA industry has the money.  The Texas homeowners have the power. Texas homeowners must use their power now!

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HOMEOWNER BILLS NEEDED:

FORECLOSURE LIMITS

Minimum default amount, not including attorney fees; Super-majority vote to authorize foreclosure; Right of redemption for condos (from past year); Minimum resale price (from past year)

PRIORITY OF PAYMENT

Needed for condos

ATTORNEY FEES

Make all cases like declaratory judgments. Equally available subject to Court oversight; No requirement of paying defense deductible

BOARDS

Should not be able to amend bylaws to protect themselves in office; Should not be able to borrow money, at least not without homeowner vote; Oppose giving boards powers to specify how homeowners must pay deductible; No use of deductible issues to avoid homeowner votes for special assessments; All committee meetings open, at least all with decision-making power (e.g., ACC); Right to run for all committee positions, not just board

REQUIRED HEARINGS

Close the TRO/TI loophole – only for true emergencies

FINES & FEES

End fines; No charges for statements of account (up to 1 x/month)

OPEN RECORDS & OPEN MEETINGS

General application 551/552

PUBLIC SPACES

No HOA restriction on public street parking

DECLARANT CONTROL

Maximum time frame, even if not all lots sold

REMEDIES FOR VIOLATIONS

If put on notice, and not cured, then lose ability to compel payment of assessments

83rd SESSION BILLS: https://hoareformcoalition.org/pending-bills/the-83rd-session-filed-bills/

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The HOA Reform Coalition of Texas is a group of homeowners and homeowner advocacy organizations united with the belief that there need to be serious reforms in the laws that regulate homeowners associations.

For more information, contact:

Beanie Adolph

HOA Reform Coalition of Texas, Director

713-723-3284, rhadolph@aol.com