FAQs

We are providing these responses as part of our commitment to help educate Texans, including property owners and legislators. All of the questions presented are adapted from one or more real questions that we have received, and which we have typically rephrased to illustrate a general matter. We hope this information will help, both in understanding differing situations, and in encouraging and supporting owners to take action to improve our communities and our laws.

CAUTIONARY NOTE: If we sound cautious, it is because we have seen too many homeowners get hurt by associations. As we are not lawyers, we have consulted with David Kahne, an attorney licensed in Texas, who is also cautious because, among other reasons, some courts unduly protect associations at the expense of homeowners. Please see also the important DISCLAIMER at the bottom of this page.

Q: Who can I report my POA (HOAs or COAs) to?

A: Here are some options for you to try but we do not know what your overall success will be. There has only been limited success reporting HOAs for questionable operations.  You can complain to the Attorney General’s office, which has a division to deal with non-profits. HOAs are a non-profit organization and fall under this jurisdiction.  You can also complain to the County Attorney and, if you think there was a crime, the DA.   Beyond these options, there are not many other avenues to take. In addition, please see our CAUTIONARY NOTE at the start of the FAQs, and DISCLAIMER at the bottom of this page.

Q: How can I determine if my POA is valid?

A: This topic can be complex to determine whether “my HOA has the ability to collect dues and/or if they are in fact still an entity”.  It may be that the lack of filing certain documents could help you make this determination.  Existing Texas statutes can be found on line that can help you identify these documents.  Below are some LINKS to STATUTEs, bearing mind that this is not a list of all new and existing statutes that may apply.  To get answers to these questions, you should consult a lawyer.

You can post your questions to Attorney David Kahne on his website, https://texashoas.org/, under Contact information.  There may also be additional information on his website to address your question.

Here is a link to the Texas Property Code 202 – https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PR/htm/PR.202.htm

Here is a link to the Texas Property Code 209 – https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PR/htm/PR.209.htm

Here is a link to SB1588 which was just passed this year and goes into effect later this year. – https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/pdf/SB01588F.pdf#navpanes=0

Q: My HOA sent me a violation notice about new lights on my patio. The letter says they “have received several complaints” about them. Do I have a right to know the names of the people who lodged the complaints?

A: You can ask, but they are not required to tell you. Some HOAs will take anonymous complaints. When they can prove what the complainant is alleging (example: The grass is too high.), it’s not an issue. It can become a problem if the HOA sends a violation notice for something that can’t be proven after the fact, like loud music or too much traffic at an alleged home-based business. If someone accused you of this, you probably want to know who heard the music or saw the traffic. While you may not be able to get the HOA to tell you, if your case goes to court, they would likely have to disclose the name of the person so you can fairly defend yourself. In addition, please see our CAUTIONARY NOTE at the start of the FAQs, and DISCLAIMER at the bottom of this page.

Q: My HOA has sent three violation notices over the color of my front door. I have responded and requested a hearing with the HOA, but they seem to be ignoring my request. Isn’t the HOA required to grant a hearing?

A: Texas Property Code 209.007 says, “the owner has the right to submit a written request for a hearing to discuss and verify facts and resolve the matter in issue.” That hearing must be held within 30 days of the owner’s request, and the HOA must tell the homeowner when the hearing will be within 10 days of the request.

Under the current rules, these meetings can be very superficial. Even if you get one, you may not get the answers you are seeking. However, beginning September 1, 2021, under Property Code 209.00505, owners will be able to request a hearing before the HOA board (not just a subcommittee like an Architectural Control Committee) that has some very specific rules. The HOA will have to present its evidence first of your violation and explain what you can do to fix it.

In addition, please see our CAUTIONARY NOTE at the start of the FAQs, and DISCLAIMER at the bottom of this page.

Q: My HOA has decided to keep the pool closed again this summer, citing COVID concerns. The fees that homeowners are required to pay are not decreasing. I want to know how much money the HOA is saving by this decision. Can I get this financial information from my HOA?

A: Yes. Homeowners are entitled to financial information from the HOA, including information about pool operations and newly constructed facilities.

There are special statutes that help homeowners get such information if the HOA refuses. See Property Code 209.005. There is also going to be a similar law for condominium owners starting in September. See Senate Bill 318, and Property Code 82.114(b).

In addition, please see our CAUTIONARY NOTE at the start of the FAQs, and DISCLAIMER at the bottom of this page.

Q: I received a notice that I need to remove the weeds growing out of cracks in the sidewalk in front of my home. Can my HOA make me responsible for areas that I do not own?

A: In general the answer is “no,” you cannot be made responsible for areas that you do not own. Some HOAs disagree about sidewalks. Usually, those disputes concern uneven sidewalks. It may depend on your deed restrictions. I’ve had a couple of cases on this and, so far, they’ve settled favorably.

In this case, I would say, pull the weeds out of the cracks. But, I should note, some HOAs don’t enforce that rule fairly.

In addition, please see our CAUTIONARY NOTE at the start of the FAQs, and DISCLAIMER at the bottom of this page.

Q:There was a misunderstanding about how my fees were to be paid. The HOA got lawyers involved and now say I have to pay $7,200 in attorney fees for a $1,500 missed HOA fee. Can the HOA do this?

A: In far too many cases, HOA attorneys charge homeowners far too much in fees. The law requires all such fees to be both “reasonable” and “necessary.”

Homeowners face significant difficulties enforcing limits on attorney fees, however, because they cannot afford to fight over fees in court. Usually, there is no other practical way to limit what HOA attorneys demand in payment.

We have proposed legislation that would create a much simpler way to resolve such disputes, using Small Claims Court, also called Justice Court. Under our proposal, associations would get all the money they may be owed, and homeowners would not be forced to pay excessive fees.

JPs have expressed support for improving the better system. We will be trying again next session.

In addition, please see our CAUTIONARY NOTE at the start of the FAQs, and DISCLAIMER at the bottom of this page.

Q: Can my HOA enforce parking restrictions on a public street?

A: This is a problem in many HOAs. Can a HOA enforce restrictions on public streets within the HOA? This type of question has been posted on various Facebook and Nextdoor sites.

There are two schools of thought on this topic. (1) It’s a pubic street, so the POA cannot enforce restrictions. (2) A person can waive rights when moving into a HOA, and may have done so, depending on the deed restrictions.

The Texas HOA Reform Coalition experience when dealing with this issue within their own HOA was the subdivision attorney advised that the HOA does not have the right to enforce parking on public streets. Just like the HOA cannot enforce speeding on the public streets. If there are parking violations occurring that are covered with the city ordinances, junk vehicles, parking for greater than x hours, then the HOA can call the city to enforce those parking restrictions or the HOA can request that the city post signs that no overnight parking is allowed.

You do have the ability to question the authority of the HOA to enforce parking restrictions against homeowners.

**Disclaimer – Everyone’s situation is different and this is not legal advice**

Q: What are the obligations of a Board to respond to my questions? Is there a  property code citation that outlines my rights as a resident to address the board and their obligation to respond?

A: Every owner (frankly, anyone) has the right to write a letter to the association. You have some specific rights to address the board such as in the context of ACC appeals, with respect to deed restriction violations, alleged against you, and to request documents.   For those circumstances, there are (to some extent) duties to respond. Sometimes governing documents give you additional rights. Unless there is something in your governing documents, however, I am not aware of a general obligation to address the board, much less an obligation to respond.

**Disclaimer – Everyone’s situation is different and this is not legal advice**


The following DISCLAIMER is important. The attorney we consulted, Mr. Kahne, has not charged for this and also is offering information for educational purposes.

DISCLAIMER: As we are not lawyers, we have consulted with David Kahne, an attorney licensed in Texas, who has not charged for this, and who also is offering information for educational purposes. None of the responses provided should be considered legal advice. It is important to stress that many details differ among different subdivisions and condominiums. Those differences may, in specific circumstances, mean that a response given here is incomplete or inaccurate. Also, by providing this educational information, Mr. Kahne has not agreed to form an attorney-client relationship with any person.

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