Note The 88th Regular Legislative Session ended on May 29th, 2023. Additional special sessions have been called. There may be new laws affecting this subject.
New laws that impacting property owners associations include, but are not limited to:
Read the library's Spotlight post on the ending of the 88th Regular Session and what comes next. We briefly discuss deadlines, the governor's veto power, and how to find new legislation.
Many people are familiar with the term "homeowners' association" or an "HOA." In Texas legal terminology, these organizations are known as property owners' associations. Section 202.001 of the Texas Property Code defines it as:
"[A]n incorporated or unincorporated association owned by or whose members consist primarily of the owners of the property covered by the dedicatory instrument and through which the owners, or the board of directors or similar governing body, manage or regulate the residential subdivision, planned unit development, condominium or townhouse regime, or similar planned development."
The articles below provide broadly describe the main purpose and functions of a property owners' association.
Below are the Texas statutes that we reference most frequently to answer your questions related to property owners' associations. Please note that other laws may apply. If you need legal advice or help with a specific situation, consider talking to an attorney.
Note Under Texas law, condominium owners' associations are legally distinct from other types of property owners' associations. This guide's main focus is on property owners' associations in residential subdivisions. Most laws discussed in this guide will not apply to condominiums.
Most condominium associations will be governed by the Texas Uniform Condominium Act (Texas Property Code, Chapter 82). Some provisions in the Texas Condominium Act (Chapter 81) may apply to older condominium associations established before 1994.
Many property owners' associations in Texas are formed as nonprofit corporations. This means that they are business entities formally created under Texas law and registered with the Secretary of State. For this reason, when asked questions about the functions of an HOA, our librarians often refer people to the Texas law on nonprofit corporations.
Some property owners' associations are not formally incorporated. If your association has not been incorporated as a nonprofit corporation, many of the laws cited in this guide will not apply.
You will probably know if you are part of a property owners' association, as they usually charge recurring fees and impose various restrictions. There are several other ways to find out if a property belongs to an association:
Texas Property Code, Section 5.008 requires sellers to disclose if they are aware of a "Homeowners' Association or maintenance fees or assessments." Examples of the notice forms are available through the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) and the Texas REALTORS.
In addition, Sect. 5.012 states that the seller must provide the buyer with a "Notice of Obligations Related to Membership in a Homeowners' Association." Both notices must be provided before the contract is signed or as part of the contract.
Not all property sales are subject to these mandatory disclosures. Talk to your real estate agent or consult an attorney for more information.
If the property is part of an association, the buyer may request a document called "resale certificate" and any governing documents of the association. The certificate summarizes the association's financial status, fee structures, and any unpaid debts owed by the property in question, among other information. Preparation of these records can cost up to $375.
No. Texas does not have a state agency to oversee property owners' associations or investigate homeowners' complaints.
The association's governing documents often provide a way to submit a complaint directly to the association. A conversation or examination of the association's rules can often resolve many misunderstandings and disagreements.
Housing discrimination complaints may be submitted to the Texas Workforce Commission.
Consumer complaints may be submitted to the Texas Attorney General's Office.
If a property owners' association violates a provision of the Texas Residential Property Owners Protection Act (Texas Property Code, Chapter 209), the property owner may sue the association in Justice of the Peace courts. Civil lawsuits may also generally be filed in district courts, but the process tends to be more complex.
Mediation or alternative dispute resolution can be an option when the parties wish to reach an agreement without going to court.
Here are several suggestions for getting answers to your property owners' association questions: