Are you a homeowner in Texas and part of a Homeowners Association (HOA)? If so, understanding the HOA laws and governing documents in your state is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful living experience in your community.
In this guide, we will cover essential aspects of HOA laws in Texas for 2023, providing you with the knowledge you need to navigate this often complex landscape.
HOA laws are regulations set forth by the state government to govern the operations and conduct of Homeowners Associations. These laws establish the legal framework within which HOAs function, defining their powers, obligations, and limitations.
HOA governing documents are a collection of rules and bylaws specific to each community, dictating various aspects of living within the neighborhood.
Understanding both the Texas state laws and your HOA's governing documents is essential, as they play a significant role in shaping your rights and responsibilities as a homeowner within the community (or as a property manager).
As HOA laws are subject to change, staying updated is crucial to ensure compliance and avoid potential legal issues. For 2023, Texas has introduced several updates that homeowners associations should be aware of.
Representative Shaheen introduced two significant changes to HOA laws in Texas through House Bills 614 and 886. House Bill 614 focuses on the enforcement of fines by HOAs that have the authority to levy fines on homeowners. According to this bill, these HOAs are required to follow a specific enforcement policy when imposing fines.
To ensure transparency and awareness among homeowners, the association must provide a copy of this policy to each property owner. The method of distribution includes posting the policy on the HOA's official website or delivering a physical copy of the policy to the owners through hand delivery.
House Bill 886 addresses the process of filing an assessment lien in cases of nonpayment of assessments or other charges owed to the HOA. This bill introduces additional requirements that HOAs must follow before recording an assessment lien against a homeowner's property.
The HOA must first send two delinquency notices to the property owner, informing them of the outstanding payments. The first notice can be sent via first-class mail to the owner's address or via email if the owner has provided an email address to the association.
After sending the first notice, the HOA must wait for a period of 30 days before sending a second notice. The second notice is to be sent via certified mail to provide a more formal notification to the homeowner. Following the second notice, there is a mandatory waiting period of 90 days before the assessment lien can be officially filed by the HOA.
These changes aim to promote fairness and accountability within HOAs in Texas. By enforcing a clear and defined policy for imposing fines and establishing a structured process before recording assessment liens, homeowners are given the opportunity to be informed and respond appropriately to any outstanding dues or charges.
If you're an HOA board member or homeowner who wants to make a positive impact on your community, consider the following tips for successful HOA property management.
As mentioned earlier, being informed about the latest laws and regulations is essential. Attend workshops, seminars, or seek professional advice to stay up-to-date on changes that may impact your community.
Disputes can arise between homeowners or between homeowners and the HOA board. It's crucial to address conflicts promptly and professionally, following the established dispute resolution procedures outlined in your governing documents.
Creating a well-planned budget is vital for the smooth operation of an HOA. Ensure that expenses are adequately covered, and funds are allocated for maintenance, repairs, and community improvements. You may want to seek professional assistance in this endeavor if it’s your first time creating an HOA financial budget.
Accurate and organized record-keeping is vital for legal and financial purposes. Maintain records of meetings, finances, contracts, and any communication with homeowners or other entities.
Managing an HOA can be complex, time-consuming, and tedious. Seeking professional assistance, such as legal advice or HOA property management services, can alleviate that burden and ensure compliance with all applicable laws.
By staying informed, managing conflicts effectively, budgeting wisely, and seeking professional assistance when needed, you can contribute to a thriving and harmonious community. Remember to stay ahead of the latest updates in HOA laws to ensure your community remains compliant and well-maintained throughout 2023 and beyond.