No. HOAs cannot block hospice businesses or other group homes from locating in neighborhoods in Texas, and doing so may become a violation of the Fair Housing Act and the regulations passed by Texas legislators in 2011. In recent times, a good number of communities in Texas have established homeowners’ associations (HOA) with rules and regulations that all residents are expected to follow.
HOAs can specify the color a building is expected to bear, how long the grass can be, and how many cars are allowed to be parked in the driveway and/or street at any time. Anyone in the community who goes against the rules and regulations may be fined. HOAs detail these rules and regulations in their Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs).
Note that the CC&Rs and other governing documents include the exact duties the HOA carries out in the community. Unlike traditional contractual agreements, the CC&Rs set out by an HOA are attached to the parcel of land rather than to an individual landowner.
Affiliation with the HOA passes to every new owner along with the deed. If unspecified annual or monthly fees are necessitated for membership in the HOA, the buyer may be stuck with steadily rising expenses that can also impact the overall cost of the new building.
The 2011 legislation passed in Texas was set to avail additional transparency for residents of HOAs by mandating that all records relating to meetings of these organizations be made available to the public. Note that this can guarantee valuable protection of residents by giving them advance warning of increases in fees and enforcement actions on the part of their HOA.
If evidence exists that the HOA is not keeping up with its side of the agreement, residents are allowed to seek legal action against these organizations with the assistance of an established firm specializing in Houston real estate law.
HOA Responsibilities to Communities and Homeowners in Texas
It is important to note that the regulations passed by Texas legislators in 2011 massively limited the powers available to HOAs in the state. Nonetheless, some of the responsibilities HOAs owe their community and residents include;
Table of Content
Approving or Changing CC&Rs
In the State of Texas, HOA’s authority stems primarily from its declaration of covenants, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and the Texas Property Code. Have it in mind that this declaration is more or less a contract between all members of a community under which homeowners concur to adhere to certain covenants and restrictions and pay assessments for maintenance of common areas.
Note that these regulations tend to vary from community to community, but all community members are expected to follow the rules. If you feel the rules are unfair or you would want to see a new rule implemented, then you can petition the HOA board and state your case.
Maintain Common Areas
The HOA is tasked with the upkeep of common areas (amenities that are accessible to all residents in the community). Associations are allowed to handle unexpected repairs, replacements, or reconstruction of common elements; or the maintenance and improvement of common areas. If authorized by the governing documents, Texas associations are legally allowed to suspend common area and facility privileges of non-compliant members.
In the state of Texas, an HOA board is not mandated to provide notice and an opportunity for a hearing if the violation upon which the suspension is based happened in a common area and caused a massive and immediate risk of harm to others. They are also tasked with keeping walkways, sidewalks, and entrances clear of debris, and they generally keep up with the landscaping around communal areas.
Managing Finances for The Community
Most often, the treasurer of an HOA is tasked with managing financial records and paying the contractors or repairmen, but their role can also go beyond that. Note that there are also tasked with collecting dues from community members and following up with members if they forget to pay. Also note that the HOA treasurer is expected to put together a budget to pay bills, insurance, and taxes for community areas.
Specific standards and methods for adopting budgets and calculating assessments are normally inscribed in an association’s declaration, bylaws, and/or articles of incorporation, and the board has to adhere to those requirements. They’ll also need to ensure the HOA has a reserve fund for emergencies and certain necessities, such as replacing the roof of a community center.
Investigate Complaints and Act as A Mediator
Regardless of how massive the community is, there will always be issues of some kind. In the state of Texas, it falls on HOA members to investigate the cause of the issue and analyze who is in the wrong and how they can make amends.
For instance, if a resident complains that a building in the community is making too much noise late at night, and they’ve talked to the owner repeatedly to reduce the volume, but to no avail. That’s when the HOA can genuinely get involved.
They have to sit down and talk to each person and understand whether the complaint is valid or not. If the complaint is valid, they’ll issue the offending party a warning or a fine for going against one of the community rules.
Hold Meetings, Record Communications, And Organize Other Documentation
In the state of Texas, HOAs are administered by a board of directors elected by homeowners under the association’s declaration of covenants and bylaws. If permitted by the declaration, the developer is allowed to constitute board members while the community is still in the development phase, but not longer than 120 days after 75 percent of homes in the community have been sold to an owner other than the developer or a commercial home-builder.
Also, note that the HOA’s board appoints officers to execute the board’s duties and powers and to otherwise function on behalf of the association. Officers and directors owe members a fiduciary relationship and will have to act reasonably within the association’s and members’ best interests and avoid self-dealing or conflicts of interest.
Have it in mind that an HOA’s corporate structure is stipulated by its articles of incorporation, a legal document established when the association organizes as a corporation and registers with the Texas Secretary of State. Eligibility criteria and duration of terms of officers and board members are noted in the declaration, bylaws, or articles of incorporation.
While the primary purpose of a Texas HOA is to have well-run communities, homeowners most often find that HOAs overstep their bounds. HOAs operate under bylaws, which stipulate rules for how the corporation will be managed.
These laws make available guidelines for when HOA annual meetings are to hold; may establish various committees, like architectural control committees; and may even stipulate rules that govern property use and maintenance. Note that by purchasing a property within an association community, you are deemed to have accepted the terms and obligations of the declaration.