When properly operated, homeowners' associations (HOA) help to protect property values and prevent actions that negatively impact the community they represent. The state of Texas mandates certain laws and regulations that dictate what homeowners' associations may and may not do. These regulations are designed to protect both the interests of the HOA and the rights of the individual homeowners as the rightful owners of their homes.
Right to Require Membership
Under Texas law, homeowners associations have the right to require the membership of homeowners who purchase homes within their community organization. Although the homeowner is not required to actively participate in homeowner associations or activities, he is required to pay any dues that may be associated with membership of the homeowners' association. Dues are typically due once a year and are required to be used for the operation of the homeowners' association and upkeep of the community.
Right to Election
Texas state law mandates that homeowners' associations have the right to elect directors and board members on its behalf. These elections are typically held through HOA meetings and are open for all members to attend. Further, homeowners' associations have the right to determine how often elections will be held and what duties will be assigned to all members of the elected board. Members of the homeowners' association are permitted to object to and make suggested changes to proposed community covenants, rules and regulations, but elected board members have the right to final decisions on behalf of the association.
Rigth to Foreclose
Should a member of a homeowners' association fall behind on his yearly dues, Texas law permits the collection of these dues through legal means, including the placement of a lien against the homeowner's property. Texas Legislative Code Sec. 209.006 dictates that homeowners' associations may not foreclose on the homeowner's property simply for the collection of past HOA dues or legal expenses incurred during collection of past dues. HOA's may, however, foreclose on the homeowner's property in order to collect fees associated with damages or fines relating to violation of the restrictions, bylaws or rules of the association.
Right to Enforce Community Rules and Restrictions
Texas law recognizes the right and duty of a homeowners' organization to impose a variety of restrictions and conditions on the upkeep of the community. These regulations may relate to restrictions against non-uniform external paint colors, the building of fences that are not in compliance with community covenants and the storage of broken-down cars or recreational vehicles in the homeowner's driveway. Additional rights may include the right to fine the homeowner for failure to maintain her lawn or for excessive noise that violates the covenants of the homeowners' association.