Texas HOA Laws

Texas HOA Laws

Last Updated: June 12, 2023 by Corrin Swintosky

In Texas, certain planned communities are governed by a homeowners association (HOA). Their powers and responsibilities vary based on the property type and governing documents.

Who Regulates HOAs in Texas?

HOAs in Texas are regulated by the Restrictive Covenants statute, found in Title 11 of Texas’ Property Code. This statute applies to all planned unit developments, condominiums, townhomes, or other similar developments. An HOA is also managed by its own governing documents.

The governing documents of HOAs typically include: Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, and other rules and regulations. However, all HOAs are different in what documents they may contain.

HOAs in Texas may be subject to applicable federal law such as:

HOAs may be subject to certain state laws such as:

How to Find HOA Regulations in Texas

All HOA governing documents are public records in Texas. The records must be filed in the county where the property is located. To obtain these documents, visit the local county clerk’s office.

Alternatively, a website is available for the public to access these records and reports produced by the Texas Secretary of State for a fee of $1.00 to search.

HOA Powers in Texas

In Texas, an HOA has the power to:

  • Collect payments for common expenses
  • Regulate common areas
  • Collect charges to maintain and operate the common areas
  • Levy reasonable fines
  • Foreclose on a house for unpaid liens

Also, HOA governing documents can grant more powers such as restrictions on exterior paint colors, fencing, membership, and parking requirements.

Can an HOA Impose Fines on a Homeowner in Texas?

In Texas, an HOA can impose fines on a homeowner for violating its rules if stated in the governing documents. Texas law alone does not give HOAs the right to impose fines on homeowners.

The governing documents will note the amount and types of fees in the HOA as well as notice requirements for such fees.

If the governing documents grant the right to impose fees, a written notice must be sent by certified mail stating the type of violation, amount, and any rights the property owner has or instructions to remedy the incident.

An HOA cannot fine a homeowner for (or generally prohibit) any of the following:

  • Implementing measures for solid-waste composting
  • Installing rain barrels or other efficient irrigation systems
  • Using drought-resistant landscaping
  • Installing a solar energy device
  • Installing shingles on the roof
  • Displaying the American flag, the State of Texas flag, or any military flag so long as it is displayed in a manner consistent with federal flag display law
  • Displaying religious items on the entry door so long as it is consistent with the state of Texas and the US constitution
  • Installing a standby electric generator
  • Transporting, storing, or discharging of a firearm so long as the homeowner is lawfully able to possess a firearm
  • Installing satellite dishes and antennas

The governing documents of an HOA may include reasonable rules and regulations about the placement, manner, and display of any of the items listed above.

Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in Texas?

An HOA in Texas can foreclose on a home within its community. The process starts with an HOA placing a lien on a property when the owner neglects to pay their dues. If a lien goes unresolved, the HOA can foreclose on the house.

There are two ways an HOA can foreclose on a home:

  • Judicial Foreclosure. The HOA files a petition for foreclosure with the local court where the property is located. If the court enters a judgment, the HOA can seize and sell the property to satisfy the lien.
  • Expedited or Non-Judicial Foreclosure. If granted in the governing documents, HOAs can apply for a court order allowing the sale of the property. Proper notice must be given to the homeowner and they have a right to waive this requirement in writing unless living in a condominium.

An HOA cannot evict a homeowner. However, if the homeowner is leasing a tenant, the HOA may be able to evict the tenant. For example, an HOA may be able to evict a tenant if the lease was not properly authorized by the HOA.

In addition, the HOA may have other powers or restrictions regarding rental properties in its governing documents.

Can an HOA Enter a Homeowner’s Property in Texas?

In Texas, an HOA can enter a homeowner’s property as reasonably necessary to maintain units, common elements, or shared utilities.

Units are private spaces only intended for the property owner’s use but have certain spaces that require maintenance by the HOA, such as balconies. Common elements are the shared spaces around the units owned by the HOA, such as elevators. Shared utilities may include water or trash removal directly provided by the HOA.

Except in the case of an emergency, the HOA must generally give prior notice before entering the property. Usually, an HOA will give 1-2 weeks’ notice, but the timeline of the notice is ultimately determined by the governing documents.

Where Do Homeowners File Complaints Against Their HOA in Texas?

The appropriate agency to file a complaint against an HOA depends on the type of complaint.

If a homeowner feels they are a victim of housing discrimination, they can file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission, the U.S. Department of Urban Housing, or file a private lawsuit in Texas state or federal court.

For complaints concerning HOA fees, a homeowner can file a complaint with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, homeowners may also file in state or federal court within one year of the violation date.

A homeowner can bring all other complaints to state court in the appropriate authority by filing a claim.

Joining and Leaving an HOA in Texas

In Texas, if a person purchases a home in a neighborhood governed by an HOA, they must join and abide by the HOA rules. Documents should be presented to the homeowner explaining the HOA and its rules at the closing of their home purchase.

If someone bought a house in a neighborhood with an HOA, they will not have the option to withdraw from the HOA. To leave, a homeowner can sell their house or try to petition to have their home removed. However, there is no guaranteed right the petition will be granted.

How to Dissolve an HOA in Texas

The process for dissolution of an HOA in Texas is typically set forth in the HOA’s governing documents. If not listed, a majority vote by members of the HOA is required to move forward with the dissolution.

A petition for dissolution must be drafted by the petitioner circulator and delivered to each homeowner. The dissolution of an HOA can be adopted if at least 75% of homeowners vote in favor of the termination.

The petition circulator of the HOA then files an affidavit with the county clerk where the property is located. The HOA is considered dissolved once the documentation is filed with the county clerk or a date is specified in the petition.