Recent Legislation

The following information is provided by the Texas Apartment Association (TAA). 


Water billing (SB 873 / HB 1964) – Protects property owners from facing class action lawsuits over water billing disputes, while still ensuring residents can have complaints investigated through the Public Utility Commission (PUC).

Status: Effective June 1, 2017

 

City fees (HB 1499) – Cities will be prohibited from charging linkage fees or other development-based fees to fund affordable housing. The bill has limited exceptions, including allowing density bonus programs.

Status: Effective May 29, 2017

 

Towing (SB 1501) – The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation will be writing rules to allow a property owner to tow a vehicle to a different location on a property rather than an offsite vehicle storage facility. This clear authority will be useful, for example, when a property needs to restripe a parking lot to do repairs.

Status: Effective June 15, 2017

 

Evictions (HB 3879) – In an appeal for an eviction for nonpayment of rent, a multifamily property owner may be represented by a non-attorney in certain cases. NOTE: Eviction appeals may be complex and are subject to different rules than those used in JP court. TAA strongly encourages any property owner with an eviction case on appeal to use an attorney, and, if not, to be fully aware of any potential consequences for representing themselves or using a non-attorney.

Status: Effective for appeals taken on or after September 1, 2017

 

Limits on local tree ordinances (HB 7) – Dozens of cities and towns across Texas have ordinances protecting trees on private property - in many cases, property owners either have to pay a fee or plant new trees if they cut down larger trees on their land. HB 7 allows property owners to plant new trees to offset city fees for tree removal on their land.

Status: Effective December 1, 2017

 

Property tax arbitration (SB 731) – Raises the ceiling on the value of property eligible for binding arbitration as an alternative to appealing to district court to $5 million from the current $3 million, and sets a $1,550 arbitration deposit for non-homestead properties valued between $3 million and $5 million.

Status: Effective September 1, 2017

 

Disability accessibility drive-by claims (HB 1463) – TAA supported this bill to reduce state court disability accessibility claims by providing pre-suit notice and an opportunity to cure.

Status: Effective September 1, 2017

 

Weather-related insurance claims (HB 1774) – After the bill went through revisions to improve consumer rights, TAA supported passage of major lawsuit reform legislation to reduce excessive property damage insurance claims, including those related to hail and other water-related events.

Status: Effective September 1, 2017

 

Municipal annexation reform (SB 6) – Prior to the passage of SB 6, Texas was one of the only states still allowing involuntary annexation – a practice permitting home-rule cities to unilaterally capture property owners living just outside city limits. SB 6 requires big cities (populations of 500,000 or more) to hold a public vote before annexing anyone who has chosen to reside in an unincorporated area. The new law also contains an opt-in provision that allows voters in any county to petition to be included in the protections under the law.

Status: Effective December 1, 2017