77th Regular Session, Texas Legislature Real Estate Legislation

05/01/2001

Three of our attorneys are actively involved with the State Bar of Texas in monitoring legislation for the Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section. Janna Melton serves as Chairman of the Legislative Committee - Real Estate Division, of which she has been a member since 1997. James Warnica and Mary Simmons Mendoza also serve as members on the Committee. Of the 1300 bills the Committee is monitoring, about 350 made the Committee's "Hot Bills List", which can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. Below are a few highlighted bills from the Hot Bills List. Text and status updates on bills can be accessed at the Legislature's website at www.capitol.state.tx.us.

  • Construction - House Bill 2311 would prevent contractors from making payments to subcontractors contingent on receipt of payment from the owner. This Bill has passed the House.
     
  • Landlord and Tenant - House Bill 549 and Senate Bill 457 are two bills that would affect the statutory duty of a landlord to mitigate damages (i.e. relet the premises upon a tenant's abandonment in violation of a lease). Senate Bill 457 would make the statutory duty applicable to residential tenancies only, allowing commercial tenants to waive the duty. As reported from Committee, House Bill 549 has been revised so that the duty would still apply to both commercial and residential tenancies, but could be waived in leases with terms longer than five years.
     
  • Lending - As passed by the House, House Bill 1365 could prevent lenders from disbursing funds from accounts, including tax and insurance escrow accounts, after receipt of a notice of a child support lien. House Bill 1268 would create a Class A misdemeanor offense if a lender makes an appraiser's fee contingent on a pre-agreed value. House Bill 2834 is intended to codify common practices and case law applicable to Texas foreclosure law. House Bill 2834 is currently in the process of being redrafted to address a number of concerns. As passed by the Senate, Senate Bill 1581 will require disclosures at certain residential loan closings that state the value to the borrower of mortgage counseling and provide information regarding credit insurance.
     
  • Environment - Senate Bill 509 will make city permits for renovation and demolition of public and commercial buildings conditioned on receipt of certain evidence that the building is free from asbestos. The evidence can be in the form of an asbestos survey (as required by existing law) or a certification from an architect or engineer confirming the absence of asbestos in the affected portions of the building. This Bill has been sent to the Governor and will only apply to permits issued after January 1, 2002. Senate Bill 5 requires certain building owners to designate "clean vehicle" parking spaces that are as close to the building as handicapped spaces. The requirement would apply to buildings with five or more handicapped spaces that are located in a nonattainment area or near-nonattainment area (such as Austin). This Bill has passed the Senate.
      
  • Title and Survey - House Bill 3497 and Senate Bill 1707 would affect title company practices for granting survey coverage and would allow for the adoption of rules for accepting surveys regardless of age. At this point House Bill 3497 is awaiting a vote in the House and Senate Bill 1707 has passed the Senate. On the other side of the fence, Senate Bill 1306 would prohibit title companies from relying on a survey that is older than seven years, but this Bill remains pending in Committee.
     
  • Electronic Transactions - Senate Bill 393 would make e-commerce and electronic transactions enforceable by permitting electronic records and e-signatures. However, some experts in this area have concerns that provisions added to the Bill passed by the Senate may result in federal preemption.
     
  • Contracts of Sale - House Bill 2033 would require sellers of unimproved property to provide a statutory notice that the extension of water or sewer services to that property might result in additional expense or delay.
     
  • Property Owners' Associations - Senate Bill 507 would enact a comprehensive statutory scheme applicable to mandatory residential property owners' associations. This Bill has passed the Senate.
     
  • Colonias - Senate Bill 517 would give counties authority to establish restrictions in unincorporated areas to prevent the proliferation of substandard housing and colonias. A violation of the restrictions would be a Class C misdemeanor. The Bill has passed the Senate, but has been revised in House Committee to apply only to border counties. As reported from Committee, House Bill 829 would create non-border colonias.
     
  • County Regulation - House Bill 1445 would require counties and municipalities (with populations under 1.9 million) to enter into agreements to provide for exclusive or dual subdivision authority in the extraterritorial jurisdiction. Senate Bill 873 would authorize counties to adopt development regulations for lot size and setbacks and require plat certificates prior to utility hookups. Both of these bills have been passed in their respective houses. County regulation and ordinance making power continues to be a hot area with a number of other bills introduced, including House Bills 202, 203, 325, 665, 666, 1322, 1445, 2221, 2975, 3127 and 3161 and Senate Bills 517, 767, 800, 839 and 873.
     
  • Development - Senate Bill 1398 passed the Senate and would require the consent of a property owner before a zoning change could be made to their property if the zoning change would reduce the value by more than 25 percent. Absent such consent, a city would have to compensate the owner for any reduction in value. Senate Bill 243 would overhaul the impact fee statute to require political subdivisions to provide certain credits to developers against impact fees (i.e., fees charged to offset the costs of implementing capital improvements associated with the new development). This Bill has passed both houses, but in different forms. House Bill 2117 would subject cities to notice and hearing requirements for moratoriums on development.

Three of our attorneys are actively involved with the State Bar of Texas in monitoring legislation for the Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section. Janna Melton serves as Chairman of the Legislative Committee - Real Estate Division, of which she has been a member since 1997. James Warnica and Mary Simmons Mendoza also serve as members of the Committee.

For the complete Hot Bills List please download the PDF below.

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