Headline Clue: The Real Estate Industry Receives Little Attention During the 2021 Legislative Session

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Real estate topics have receded into the background compared to major issues like the pandemic and power outages in 2021 with the Texas Legislature. Of the 3,800 bills that entered into force, little attention was still paid to real estate.

Some of the much-anticipated changes coming next week are driven by lobbying efforts by the Texas Association of Realtors and the Texas Association of Lands and Titles. New real estate contracts reflecting these laws are now available and must be used by realtors from September 1, 2021.

Homeowners associations

The law from Senate Bill 1588 / Bill 3367 requires more transparency from the management companies of HOAs. It limits the costs of obtaining information about divisions, renewing resale certificates and the commission for the transfer of HOAs. The maximum fee for obtaining unit information is $ 375 and the renewed resale certificate fee is $ 75.

The new law also states that a publicly filed HOA management certificate must state the amount of any transfer fees charged on a sale. This information will be available in the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) database. This will allow agents to check the transfer fees of a property before listing it for sale or submitting a purchase offer to their buyer. It offers protection for homeowners and buyers from unreasonable commissions and surprises. This new law includes additional consumer privacy protections for homeowners.

From September 1, 2021, the law will be introduced in stages. TREC will create a database for accepting management certificates from HOAs and make it available to the public by December 1, 2021. Homeowners’ associations must submit their management certificate electronically to TREC no later than June 1, 2022.

Public Amenities Districts (PIDs)

House Bill 1543 is now a law that requires the owner of the property in the PID to disclose that the property is in the PID and certain details of the PID prior to fulfilling the contract with the buyer. The PID notice must be validated by both buyer and seller and will be recorded in county records at the time of sale.

A PID is a special area created by a city or county. It allows you to levy a special tax on real estate in the area for improvement or maintenance. The presence of a PID on a property can currently be found on county tax records. More detailed information on the PID must now be entered on the county records starting September 1, 2021.

Appraisers

House Bill 2533 specifies that if a lender does not require a full appraisal of a financial transaction, a licensed appraiser is not required to comply with the Uniform Professional Appraisal Standards (USPAP) in appraisal. If an evaluator performs an assessment that is not USPAP compliant, it must include a notice that the assessment is not a USPAP assessment. This goes into effect on June 14, 2021.

The new statute of limitations from the 1939 House of Representatives bill provides for a two to five year limit for lawsuits filed on the basis of an appraisal or appraisal review. This excludes legal claims based on fraud or breach of contract and is effective as of September 1, 2021.

Waiver of the right to claim

Transfer of ownership in Texas through the Termination of Claim Act should be made easier after September 1, 2021. This law will allow the buyer of property with an act of termination of the right of claim to be considered a bona fide buyer if at least 4 years have passed since the registration of the case.

Title companies are wary of termination deeds because, unlike a guarantee deed, they only convey an interest that the signatory may or may not own. The person who signs the deed of termination of ownership may have limited ownership or no ownership. No transfer of full ownership is given. This new law could allay the fears of filing for termination of ownership if at least 4 years have passed. This does not affect applications for termination of the right of claim filed before September 1, 2021.

Mechanic’s pledge

The new law expands the description of retention rights. Now, the subcontractor’s rights must be filed within a specified time period and the notification requirements are detailed. Restrictions have now been updated on filing a foreclosure claim and on who must be licensed to file a lien.

Estate decisions

The use of the estate’s affidavit to set aside a property judgment has just been clarified. Previously, a homeowner seeking to overturn a judgment for a sale or refinancing would sign affidavits, send them to the lender, wait 30 days, and see if the lender disputes the estate’s claim. The new law allows the owner to sign affidavits and record them in the county at any time. The lender is still notified of the entry and has 30 days to challenge it, but the landlord can obtain the affidavit and resolve the estate before the deal is finalized.

Racial Restrictive Pacts

Some older divisions in Texas have original restrictive agreements regarding certain racial or ethnic groups. They have been invalid and unenforceable for decades, but they still appear in county records as legal documents. This new law allows the property owner to require the county clerk to effectively remove the language of racial restrictions from public records. The County will remove this document and attach another document stating that the invalid restriction has been lifted. While this is a good idea, this law simply changes the county documents.

Freedom of expression

House bill 3343 prohibits insurers (such as title insurance or homeowner’s insurance) from discriminating on the basis of political affiliation or expression.

And if real estate regulations force you to drink, then you may have noticed House Bill 1024. Restaurants may start to include alcoholic beverages in delivery and take-out orders. This does not affect real estate transactions, but welcomes this law anyway.

The opinions expressed are those of the individual author for informational purposes only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Contact a lawyer for advice on any specific issue.

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