All bills listed become effective September 1, 2021 unless otherwise noted.
Find more information on these bills and others at capitol.texas.gov
Leasing and Property Management
HB 531 (effective January 1, 2022)
Requires landlords to give notice to prospective residential tenants at or before the execution of the lease of whether they are aware that the rental dwelling is located in a 100-year floodplain or whether the rental dwelling has flooded at least once within the previous five years. If a landlord fails to provide the notices and the tenant suffers substantial damage to the tenant’s personal property as a result of flooding, the tenant may terminate the lease not later than the 30th day after the damage occurred. Texas REALTORS® will update pertinent forms by January 1, 2022, to add this required disclosure.
Adds to the writ of possession section of the Property Code that a landlord is not liable to a tenant for any damages resulting from an officer executing a writ of possession in an eviction suit. This change applies to a writ of possession issued in an eviction suit filed on or after the effective date of this bill, which is September 1, 2021.
Allows landlords to choose to offera tenant an option to pay a nonrefundable recurring fee of equivalent amounts in lieu of a security deposit. The agreement to collect the fee must be in writing and signed by the landlord and tenant. The landlord must inform tenants that they have the option to terminate the agreemen ciding whether to approve an application for occupancy.
The bill allows the fee to be used to purchase insurance coverage for damages and unpaid rent for which the tenant is liable under the lease but prohibits a landlord from submitting such a claim to an insurer unless the landlord notifies the tenant of the damages not later than the 30th day after the tenant surrendered possession of the dwelling. If the tenant successfully challenges the claim for damages or unpaid rent, the landlord may not file an insurance claim for insurance purchased with the fee.
HB 2730 (effective January 1, 2022)
Expands the information a property owner must receive from an entity seeking to acquire property through eminent domain. The bill also allows property owners to file complaints with TREC when entities do not provide the requisite disclosures in the eminent domain process.
Requires that common carrier pipelines exercising the power of eminent domain provide notice to the property owners as well as indemnification, or redress, for damages caused when accessing the property for a preliminary survey. The bill also limits entry only to the portion of the property that is anticipated to be affected by the route of the proposed pipeline.
Requires an entity exercising the power of eminent domain to provide disclosure of all appraisal reports used in connection with determining the entity’s opinion of value of the property if an appraisal report is to be used at the special commissioner’s hearing.
Brings the Texas Fair Housing Act in line with the federal Fair Housing Act. This bill clarifies that the Texas Fair Housing Act does not apply to the sale or rental of a single-family house sold or rented by the owner under certain circumstances, including if the house is sold or rented without services of any person in the business of selling or renting a dwelling. The bill also gives a definition for who is considered “a person in the business of selling or renting a dwelling.”
Creates a new process for removing discriminatory covenants from deed records by filing a request with the district court in the county in which the deed is recorded or with another court having jurisdiction over real property matters in the county.
Allows licensed appraisers to conduct an “evaluation” without complying with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) in certain situations. Evaluations are tools for lenders to determine property value for smaller loans and intended to be quicker and less in-depth versions of a full property appraisal and may ease some of the current appraiser workload issues.
Business Regulation/Employment Practices
Protects businesses from civil liability for pandemic-related lawsuits as long as the businesses did not ignore or flagrantly disregard recommended protocols to protect customers.
Makes employers responsible for sexual harassment against an employee if the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action. The new law applies to all employers with one or more employees.
SB 968 (effective June 16, 2021)
Specific to the state’s emergency powers, clarifies that cities and counties may no longer issue orders that would limit residential and commercial real estate services and real estate support services during a state of emergency. The bill also prohibits Texas governmental entities from issuing vaccine passports and prohibits businesses that receive government-funded grants or contracts from requiring customers to provide proof of vaccination to gain access or receive service.
Protection of Elderly
Makes it a crime to exploit or financially abuse an elderly person if you are in a “relationship of confidence or trust.” This is important because it includes a family member, co-property owner, caregiver, or person with a fiduciary duty (which includes brokers and agents) to the individual.
Requires a policy holder of a policy issued by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association be given a 10-day grace period after a policy expires to allow for renewal of the policy.
Under previous law, a certificate of compliance issued for repairs or work done to a structure pursuant to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Act could be rescinded if the resulting improvement to the structure did not comply with the local building code. Under this new law, a certificate of compliance can no longer be rescinded as long as the repairs or work was done in accordance with the TWIA Act.
Covers many facets of the management of a homeowners association, specifically with respect to real estate sales and leasing. The bill limits the amount of fees a homeowners association can charge for the production of subdivision information, resale certificates, and updated resale certificates. The bill creates a publicly accessible database of homeowners associations that will be housed with the Texas Real Estate Commission. It requires homeowners associations to maintain a website where management certificates and dedicatory documents are made available. The bill protects owners’ and tenants’ private information by specifying that homeowners associations may not require access to lease agreements. The bill provides numerous other protections for homeowners, including barring homeowners associations from prohibiting certain pool enclosures and religious displays and ensuring due process in resolution of disputes between homeowners and the homeowners association.
Home Warranties and Other Warranties
Provides for the automatic transfer of a manufacturer’s warranty on air conditioning systems to be conveyed with residential real property as if the new owner of the air conditioning system is the original purchaser. No forms will need to be filled out and no fees are allowed.
This is the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) sunset bill. It includes provisions that transfer the regulation of residential service contracts from the Texas Real Estate Commission to TDLR. Pertinent Texas REALTORS® forms will be updated to reflect this change.
Special Purpose Districts
Requires certain special purpose districts—including water control and improvement districts, freshwater supply districts, and municipal utility districts—to maintain a website and post information to that website. Residents of these districts will have easier access to find out who serves on a district’s board, when these districts’ boards meet, when they set a tax rate, and the details of the districts’ budgets.
Requires sellers to provide a new notice to buyers when selling property located within a public improvement district (PID). This is similar to existing notice requirements when a property is located in a Municipal Utility District (MUD). The PID notice requirements apply to all property types. The notice requires the seller to provide specific information about the district, including the name of the county or municipality levying an assessment and the name of the PID. If the seller fails to provide the notice, the buyer may terminate the contract or file a lawsuit for damages, under certain circumstances, after the transaction closes. TREC is modifying the disclosure language contained in residential forms, and Texas REALTORS® will do the same to all other forms to meet the new public-improvement-district disclosure requirements under HB 1543. TREC is also promulgating a new notice form to meet the new disclosure requirements. Updated forms and the new notice will be available prior to the September 1, 2021 effective date.
Look for New and Revised Forms
Failure to comply with the new laws by the effective dates—including failure to use required updated and new disclosure forms—can put you and your clients at risk.
Be sure to check with your forms provider for the updated and new forms related to new leglislation, including:
- New pubic-improvement-disctrict disclosure notice (HB 1543, effective September 1, 2021)
- New disclosure for leased properties about floodplains/floods (HB 531, effective January 1, 2022)
- Residential service contracts being regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation rather than TREC (HB 1560, effective Sept. 1, 2021)
In addition to these revised and new forms being available through all Texas REALTORS®-licensed forms providers, blank PDFs of the forms will be available to members at texasrealestate.com/realtorforms.