Author Archives: staff
Houston Homeowner Organizes to Challenge Abusive HOAs
HOUSTON — Texas lawmakers are about weigh in on whether homeowner associations wield too much power.
Lawmakers agreed to take a closer look at HOAs after hundreds of residents across the state said the associations “scared them out of money.”
“My biggest concern is that the HOA[s] don’t respect the voice of the homeowners,” said Sherman Malveuax, a Houston homeowner who recently started a petition to oust the board of his Wood Meadow II neighborhood.
HOAs can regulate everything from the color of a home to aspects of its landscaping.
HOA fines noisy toddler $1,600
DALLAS – A homeowners association with a history of conflicts with residents is under fire again. This time a young couple says they’ve been fined because their toddler is too noisy.
Peter and Abbey Ure own a condo in Woodlands II on the Creek. Life there has taken an unexpected turn after the addition of their son, Sawyer.
The couple said in October their downstairs neighbor began complaining about Sawyer.
“We can hear you chasing him. It’s really loud,” Abbey Ure said. “They could hear his balls bouncing, his wheeled toys, anything that was loud.”
Since then, the Ures have tried to keep it quiet by moving Sawyer’s toys to the second floor and putting rugs and a mattress top down on the first floor.
But in January their HOA sent them a warning stating there were complaints about their child running, jumping and bouncing a ball which was disturbing other residents. The letter said if the complaints continued they would get a $50 fine.
“Woodlands II was built many years ago as an adult development and we do not have any play areas for children,” the letter said. “It’s possible that your child could play on the second story of your unit without causing complaints, but not the first floor. However, any activity on the second floor must not disturb other residents.”
The HOA is the same one that in 2009 told disabled veteran Frank Larison he could not display military decals on his vehicle because they are advertisements that violate HOA rules. (story here)
The Ures said they’ve walked on pins and needles, disciplining their son any time he starts jumping or running. They’ve also tried working with their downstairs neighbor, but he won’t talk to them.
“We’ve made a big investment. You know, this is our dream. We love our apartment,” Peter Ure said. “We are doing our very, very best to mitigate the sound and try to make it as quiet and peaceful for our downstairs neighbor as possible. I don’t know what else to do”.
The Ures had a hearing before the HOA board in February to address 33 complaints against them. They were fined more than $1,600, which was later reduced to $250.
Forty Bills Filed in the Texas Legislature to Reform HOAs
While there are exceptions to every rule, the main deadline requiring all bills to be filed in the 82nd Legislature expired yesterday and 40 bills were filed to address some problem with HOAs in the Lone Star State. For a list of bills and the last action on each, see list here. Senator West (Dallas) has filed no less than seven himself and is leading the charge to make many reforms to the worst abuses that HOAs inflict on their homeowners. Meanwhile HOA management companies and their attorneys (some of the highest paid government bureaucrats in the state) sound the alarm to mobilize their boards and activists by claiming these bills attack their way of life. Of course these bills on the whole attempt to institutionalize good government practices — open meetings, open records, fair elections, court approved foreclosures. While the bureaucrats and their lobbyists try to get their hypnotized board members and members of the Legislature to focus on the cries of a few pushing the total elimination of HOAs, this fight is about reforming abuse of power. Eventually this will become clear and the answers to these questions obvious. HOAs are another form of government that must be checked.
Twenty-Five HOA reform bills filed and more are on the way
More reform bills have been filed in the Texas Legislature this week addressing HOA abuses and some say more are on the way. A complete listing of the bills, and the status of each can be found here. Some have already been heard in the Texas House and Senate committees this week: bills relating to solar panels, voting rights, foreclosure procedure and other issues. The Coalition showed up in force and testified on favor of these needed reforms. More bills are set for hearing next week.
Bill for Fair Elections in HOAs Set for hearing in Senate IGR Committee
Senator West’s SB 472 related to fair elections in HOAs has been set for hearing in the Intergovernmental Relations Committee (IGR) in E1.028 in the Texas Capitol Extension on Wed, March 2, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. The text of this bill is here (although it is possible the bill will be amended by substitution). If you are interested in coming to the hearing or testifying, please contact the Coalition.
First HOA bills to be heard in House Committee
The House Business and Industry Committee plans to take up and consider a variety of HOA bills on Monday 2/28 at 2:00 pm or upon adjournment in E2.016 in the Texas Capitol Extension. If you are interested in testifying on one or more please let us know.
HB 663 Kleinschmidt
Relating to procedures for amending restrictions governing certain residential subdivisions.
HB 362 Solomons | et al.
Relating to the regulation by a property owners’ association of the installation of solar energy devices and certain roofing materials on property.
HB 565 Solomons | et al.
Relating to the procedures required for the foreclosure of a property owners’ association’s assessment lien.
HB 44 Menendez
Relating to the authority of a property owners’ association to regulate the use of certain lots for residential purposes.
HB 45 Menendez
Relating to the release of a property owners’ association assessment lien.
KHOU – Fight over HOA power heads to Austin
The debate over how much power should be given to neighborhood homeowners associations is heating up again at the Texas state capitol.
On Tuesday, Houston-area groups, both for and against HOA reform, traveled to Austin to give lawmakers an earful.
It’s part of a national push to regulate HOAs, which critics say have way too much power.
To read the entire article, click here.
Texas Watchdog – HOA reform group targets law that allows Texas associations to repossess homes over HOA rules
Activists seeking to retool the way homeowner associations operate in the state headed to Austin today to do their thing like so many other special interests do.
But this group is particularly cohesive and adamant about current state laws that allow associations or lenders to repossess a home for infractions of association rules.
KXAN – People rally for and against HOA reform
While one group said it’s time for change, members of another group said they’re happy with their homeowners’ association and stand up for HOA rights.
Coalition for HOA Reform held the first rally to encourage state lawmakers to stop various HOAs, or what they call “abusive mini-governments.”
Reformers said they support the rights of Texas homeowners and not unregulated mini-governments. They said HOAs have broad powers with little oversight and infringe upon homeowner freedom. They also said HOAs cause a lot of burdens for homeowners, including tax hikes, fees, fines and threats of foreclosure.
To read the entire article, click here.