New laws target abusive homeowners’ associations

Thanks to state lawmakers, Texas homeowners have more protections from overzealous homeowners’ associations. Our KPRC 2 Consumer team is looking into what you need to know about the new bills signed into law and when they take effect.

KPRC 2 Consumer Expert Amy Davis has been following these bills since earlier this year when State Legislators were considering three dozen bills dealing with abusive HOA’s. Six of those bills passed. Don’t get us wrong. We are not saying all HOA’s are bad; but these new laws give homeowners some protections when their HOA’s overreach.

Pools and fencing - SB1588

If you have a pool, your HOA can not tell you that you can’t have a fence around it. They can specify what type of fence but you can always put up one kind, no questions asked. A specific provision of SB1588 says that a black mesh fence that is not too tall, but one that can not be climbed, is allowed. This is one type of fence homeowners can install or erect with no opposition.

Security Measures- Section 4 of SB1588

Lawmakers got serious about security, banning HOA’s from restricting things like security cameras and motion sensors. Every homeowner in Texas will be allowed to put up a fence around the perimeter of their property for security purposes.

Religious displays - Section 2 of SB1588

Effective immediately, a homeowner that wants to put up a religious display, like a cross on their property, cannot be prohibited by an HOA.

New laws governing board business

  • If your HOA board makes a budget amendment, they must do it now at an open public meeting.
  • Any association must obtain bids before awarding any contract more than $50,000.
  • If you are late paying your HOA dues, your HOA can still report you to a credit reporting agency but they can’t charge you the fee to do that. Kahne says putting that burden back on the HOA will make them less likely to report homeowners who have fallen behind and more willing to work with them on payment plans or catching up.

“This was a very successful session for homeowners,” said attorney David Kahne.

Kahne represents Homeowners Against Abusive HOA’s. He says his job will be easier with the new laws. Most take effect Sept. 1, 2021.

Got an issue or problem with your HOA? You can reach out to the HOA Reform Coalition for advice.

As always, any time you have any issue or question, contact KPRC 2 Investigates tipline and we will help you find an answer.

About the Author:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.