Following state laws and regulations are simply a given when it comes to being an HOA Board. Sometimes, these laws can be confusing to navigate and precious time is spent trying to decipher these issues. With the help of an association management team, your Board can focus on improving the community and let their qualified management team guide them through the laws. Here are five legal issues that Community Association Boards face on a regular basis and how they impact a Board.
1. Foreclosure Regulations
In the past, community associations had plenty of power when it came to foreclose on a home that was delinquent on dues or other payments. However, recent laws have been put into place that helps assist homeowners that have fallen behind on payments. Foreclosure is no longer a given. In the state of Texas, the ability to foreclose on individual properties is taken away if 67 percent of the homeowners decide to strip this power.
However, in situations where foreclosure is able to occur, there are still provisions that include:
- The debt due can be paid via a payment plan,
- Foreclosure on a home cannot begin until 60 days past a written notification,
- A court order is required for foreclosure on a home.
2. Election of Board Members and Unmet Quorum Requirements
A quorum, by definition, is the minimum number of HOA board members who must be at a meeting before business can begin. Your association bylaws will have the quorum requirements in them. Meetings that do not meet the quorum must be adjourned and rescheduled.
However, recent state law has shown that there is the permission of the election of board members at annual meetings, even when quorum requirements are not met. In the past, if a board could not get a quorum for an annual meeting this election for new board members would not occur and if held, would be an invalid election.
3. Less Control Over Homeowner Property
While associations still have the power to make community members follow specific guidelines and bylaws, the past years have granted them less control over certain areas of homeowner’s properties. Some of the most impacting changes in power are:
- Religious displays and flags may now decorate a home within certain limits. Religious displays are limited to 24-square inches and flags may be displayed on poles 20 feet or less.
- Solar panels are now permitted on the property.
- Barrels for rainwater harvesting are allowed within reason.
Your Board’s management team will be able to help the Board understand the limits of control in your community.
4. Liability Laws
Liability laws are important when it comes to the decisions that a board must make in certain situations. For example, is a landlord liable when an association is responsible for a certain liability like ice removal?
Liability laws can be confusing to owners of property because in general, they can be very fickle. This is why it is critical for your community association Board to hire an association management company to help iron out any creases and ensure that everyone involved in a situation knows where they legally stand.
5. Transparency is Key
According to law, all Texas community associations are required to host open meetings. They must also keep accurate records and alert homeowners of the date, time, and location of meetings. Failure to do so is grounds for a lawsuit on part of the residents.
Goodwin & Company Will Help Your Association Navigate Texas Law
If your association’s Board is having a tough time understanding Texas Community Association laws, let Goodwin & Company help. Our team has the experience, knowledge, and skills that will help your Board free-up time for other community matters. Contact us today to find out more about the services that we offer in your area.