Making Democracy Work

Homeowners Association Reform

The League of Women Voters of Texas takes actions and advocates League positions based upon grass roots consensus at local, state, and national levels.

Lynn Walshak Issue Chair

Position LWV-TX

HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION REFORM (2012)

The League of Women Voters of Texas supports changes in Texas law governing mandatory homeowner associations which would:

1. Protect against unreasonable foreclosure on homesteads

2. Assure priority of payments so that assessment payments apply first to delinquent dues and then to non-assessment items, such as interest and penalties

3. Reform HOA elections to ensure secret ballots in homeowner elections and safeguards against fraud to assure uniform, honest, and accurate election results

4. Assure that homeowners have access to meetings and records of the homeowner associations.

History of LWV-TX Action

2013: The positions of LWV-TX on homeowners associations limited which bills could be analyzed or supported.

HB 35 (Menéndez) was passed. It amended the property code to provide that when an owner owns a lot adjacent to the lot on which his residence is located, the adjacent lot can be sold separately only in its original condition as to be suitable for construction as originally platted. HB 2928 (Sheets) OPPOSED would have circumvented a homeowner's right to a judicial foreclosure as established in the 82nd Legislature. It died in committee.

The 82nd Legislature in 2011 passed HB 2761, which provided that any vote cast in an election or vote by a property owners' association must be in writing and signed by the member. Immediately thereafter provision was made that electronic votes cast constitute written and signed ballots. The League position argues there is weak protection from fraud with electronic balloting. In 2013 HB 818 (White) OPPOSED would have specifically eliminated the requirement that a ballot must be in writing, signed by the member or that identity of the property owner be confirmed, greatly raising risk of fraud. It did not pass out of the Calendars Committee.

Issue Studies

History: This issue was first proposed as a not-recommended concurrence at Convention 2010 by LWV-Houston Area. Delegates voted to defer the issue to Convention 2012 pending further consideration by a committee to study the Houston materials, consider bills pertaining to HOA reform filed in the 2011 legislature and the need for statewide advocacy. The board recommended the concurrence in 2012.