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Property Owners' Associations

This legal research guide provides information on homeowners associations in Texas, including links to relevant statutes, practice aids, and information in “plain English.”


Covenants, conditions, and restrictions, popularly referred to as “CC&Rs” are the rules that govern life in a property owners' association. Texas law uses the term “restrictive covenants.”

What Can CC&Rs Govern?

Whether or not a property owners' association can fine an owner will depend on the declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) for your neighborhood. State law does not specifically talk about whether an association can regulate non-political signage, parking issues, and architectural topics like paint color and mailbox decoration. If you have questions about these kinds of restrictions, you will need to refer to the CC&Rs.

However, Texas law does contain a few limits on what an association can prohibit. There are exceptions and exemptions for each category, so please read the law itself for complete details. Chapter 202 of the Property Code states that property owners' associations cannot prohibit but can regulate the following:

This chapter also states that a property owners' association can neither prohibit nor regulate the following:

Texas Law

Architectural Review Committees

Some associations require property owners to obtain approval from an architectural review committee before making any improvements to a property. A new law that went into effect on September 1, 2021, now regulates aspects of these committees in certain associations.

Senate Bill 1588 introduced regulations on “architectural review authorities” in associations that consist of more than 40 lots and that meet certain other conditions specified in Section 209.00505 of the Texas Property Code.


Section 209.00505 of the Property Code (added in 2021 by Senate Bill 1588) requires qualifying associations to offer an appeals process to a property owner whose application to an “architectural review authority” is denied.

A written notice of the denial must be provided to the property owner by certified mail, hand delivery, or electronic delivery. The notice must describe the basis for denial “in reasonable detail” and the changes, if any, that would be required as a condition of approval. The notice must also inform the property owner that they may request a hearing on or before the 30th day after the notice was mailed.

Restrictions on Membership

Senate Bill 1588 also prohibits the following people from serving on an architectural review authority:

  • a current board member
  • a current board member's spouse
  • a person residing in a current board member's household

Texas Law

Non-Judicial Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants

Before proceeding with a lawsuit to force a resident to comply with the restrictive covenants of their property owners' association, the association may first try other tactics such as imposing fines or fixing the problem themselves (referred to in Texas Homeowners Association Law and here as a "self-help remedy"). 

Texas law does not automatically give a property owners' association the right to impose fines or use a self-help remedy. These powers must be granted by the declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions.


If an association's declaration grants it the right to impose fines for violations, it must notify the property owner in writing via certified mail before imposing the fine. According to Section 209.006 of the Property Code, the notice must contain the following information:

Subsections (h) and (i) of this section list examples of actions that are "curable" and "uncurable." They are:

Uncurable Curable
Shooting fireworks Parking violations
An act constituting a threat to public health or safety Maintenance violations
A noise violation that is not ongoing The failure to have construction projects comply with approved plans or specifications
Property damage Ongoing noise violations, such as a barking dog
Holding a garage sale or other event prohibited by a governing document  

Self-Help Remedies

A "self-help remedy" is where the property owners association's declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions allows them to take certain actions to fix violations of the restrictive covenants. This may include hiring landscapers to cut the lawn of a property who has failed to do so as required by the restrictive covenants. 

Important note: If this power is granted by the declaration, an association wanting to use a self-help remedy should take great care to follow the exact procedures outlined in the declaration, including any notice requirements. Inappropriate interference with someone's property could constitute trespass under Texas law.

Judicial Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants

A property owners' association or another “representative designated by an owner” may file a lawsuit to enforce a restrictive covenant.

Section 202.004(c) of the Property Code allows a court to assess civil damages of up to $200 for each day of the violation.  

According to Texas Homeowners Association Law, the end result most typically sought is “specific performance.” This means one party is asking the court to order the property owner to do — or stop doing — whatever it is that is a violation of the restrictive covenant. Generally, this type of suit is filed in a state district court.

Section 27.034 of the Government Code also gives justice courts the ability to handle certain types of deed restriction cases. Justice courts are limited to cases dealing with enforcing a deed restriction of a residential subdivision that does not concern “a structural change to a dwelling.” In those cases, the law says a justice court is not allowed to grant an injunction like a state district court. Instead, the justice court can assess civil damages of up to $200 for each day of each violation.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Abandonment and Waiver

A common question people ask our librarians is: “If the property owners' association doesn't usually enforce a rule or restriction, can they still fine or sue me for it?”

If an association has become so lax in enforcing a particular restriction that it appears to not be a valid restriction any longer, a court may find that the restriction has been “abandoned.” Property owners' associations are assumed to have waived their rights to enforce abandoned restrictions. “Abandonment and waiver” could be used as a defense against a penalty issued by an association, but it may require evidence showing that a reasonable person would assume that the association and its members no longer wish to enforce the restriction.

According to Texas Homeowners Association Law on pages 532–534, factors the court may weigh in determining whether a restrictive covenant has been abandoned include: