Attorney Trey Wilson - RL Wilson Law

08 March 2009


Press Release from Rep. Burt Solomons, R- Carrollton
Friday, February 27, 2009

AUSTIN -- State Rep. Burt Solomons (Carrollton) today announced plans for a sweeping reform of the state's homeowners’ association laws, including a constitutional amendment that would prohibit foreclosure of a homestead by a homeowners’ association. Solomons, a recognized real estate attorney in the North Texas area who served for fourteen years on the House committee with jurisdiction over homeowners’ associations, said the legislation is necessary. “It’s clear to me that while homeowners’ associations are valuable” said Solomons, “things have just gotten out of control with some of them. I think it’s amazing that in Texas the courts, not the legislature, have allowed homeowners’ associations to foreclose on a homestead.”

Solomons’ constitutional amendment, HJR 76, would give citizen of Texas the right to vote on whether to prohibit foreclosures by homeowners’ associations on homesteads, whereas HB 1976, filed today, proposes sweeping reforms to the operation of homeowners’ associations, including requirements to allow homeowners access to all homeowners’ association records, meetings, and to fair and transparent elections. Solomons’ proposed changes also give homeowners powerful tools to enforce the law. “Many homeowners’ associations have abdicated their responsibilities to management companies and attorneys who can not be held accountable and use penalties and attorneys’ fees to harass and intimidate homeowners who question the use of their association dues or the arbitrary enforcement of rules or bylaws,” stated Solomons. In response, he has proposed changes that will give homeowners greater access to the courts to battle homeowners’ associations by providing court and attorney fees to homeowners if the homeowners’ associations fail to comply with statutory requirements, as well as granting the courts the authority to assess fines against the associations.

The proposed legislative changes also address a myriad of issues which have negatively impacted homeowners, including priority of payment and prohibiting bans of solar panels. Homeowners are monetarily disadvantaged by prohibitions of solar panels, the use of which could dramatically lower the energy consumption and costs to homeowners. “At a time when the entire nation is focusing on renewable energy and the reduction of negative impacts on our air quality” said Solomons, “it is beyond me why we allow homeowners’ associations to ban the right of individuals to generate their own electricity in a reliable, environmentally-friendly method.”

The bill also addresses the priority of payment issue. While homeowners’ associations are currently prohibited from foreclosing on a home for failure to pay fines or attorneys’ fees, many associations will redirect a homeowners’ payment of association dues to pay for those outstanding fines or fees, which leaves their dues in arrears. Under the law now, failure to pay dues is the only reason for which an association may foreclose on a home; thus redirecting payments allows a homeowners’ association to foreclose on homeowners who have made good faith efforts to stay current with their obligations.

Solomons offered major reforms to homeowners’ association laws last session, but they died on the last day of session. “It is estimated that there are over 20,000 homeowners’ associations in Texas impacting citizen throughout the state,” said Solomons. “While some are conscientious about their fiduciary duties to their neighbors, others tend to operate like little fiefdoms. This is a strong property rights state and I believe we should ensure that homeowners’ associations can not intimidate and harass Texans out of their homes.”

Bonnie Bruce, Legislative Director

Trey Wilson --Named By Scene in SA Magazine As One of San Antonio's Best Real Estate Litigation Attorneys -- September 2008 -- As voted on by peers