This month the governor signed ten legislative bills affecting Associations into law, as discussed below. An omnibus bill provides multiple amendments and additions to the Texas Uniform Condominium Act (Chapter 82 of the Texas Property Code). All associations must file a new management certificate in the real property records by January 1, 2014. Tweaks were made to the foreclosure process, property rights for owners were added to the Property Code, and new legislation affecting Chapter 209 association boards was passed. You can access the full text of each law here by typing in the bill number: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/MnuMyTLO.aspx.
1. TUCA Changes effective September 1, 2013 (HB 2075):
(a) A new definition of dedicatory instrument is added to Section 82.003, and the section is amended to remove from the definition of Declaration the word, “recorded.” By removing “recorded,” developers are free to use an unrecorded proposed declaration in the pre-construction phase.
(b) Condo boards can now borrow money even if the declaration is silent, under amended Section 82.102.
(c) Insurance provisions are amended in Section 82.111, including shifting liability for the deductible to the owner if they would be responsible to repair in the absence of insurance.
(d) Foreclosure redemption rights are amended in Section 82.113 to extend the right regardless of who purchases at the sale.
(e) A “Condominium Association Management Certificate” must be filed by January 1, 2014 by every association, as required by amended Section 82.116.
2. A “Property Owners’ Association Management Certificate” must be filed by January 1, 2014 by every Chapter 209 association, as required by amended Section 209.004, effective September 1, 2013 (HB 3800).
3. Foreclosure tweaks not specific to owners’ associations:
(a) Expedited judicial foreclosure process (inapplicable for condominiums) changes to the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code, effective September 1, 2013 (HB 2978):
(i) Methods of service of process are expanded with new Section 17.031.
(ii) After the owner files a response, the court may have a hearing to determine if mediation should take place pursuant to new Section 154.028.
(b) Counties with a website must post notices of sale available for viewing free of charge, amending Property Code Section 51.002 (HB 584)
(c) Expands the location of foreclosure sales, amending Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 34.041 (HB 699)
4. Property rights added to Property Code Chapter 202 and Chapter 209
(a) Xeriscaping-right to use drought-resistant landscaping/water-conserving natural turf (astroturf can be prohibited), modifications subject to ACC review; amends Section 202.007, effective September 1, 2013 (SB 198)
(b) Flag poles allowed in front yards with a 15 foot setback; if less than 15 feet, a flag pole may be attached to the front of the home; amends Sections 202.001 and 202.011, effective June 14, 2013 (HB 680)
(c) Owner with adjoining lots may build structures if lot fronts on the same street or is a corner lot; adds Section 209.015, effective June 14, 2013 (HB 35)
5. Association Board Rights in Chapter 209
(a) Board vacancies can be filled by the board for the unexpired time regardless of the reason for the vacancy, amends Section 209.00593; effective June 14, 2013 (HB 3176)
(b) Association contracts with board members allowed under certain circumstances except during the development period, also defines “development period;” amends Section 209.002; effective September 1, 2013 (HB 503)