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Real property

HOA (homeowners' association)

A homeowners’ association (HOA) is an organization created to manage a multi-unit residential real estate development (such as a condominium) in which each owner of a unit has both a separate ownership interest (often everything inside the front door)—and a common ownership interest (with other unit owners) in the common areas of the property outside the front door—such as roofs, hallways, driveways, walkways, stairways, stucco, brick, paint, stone, and landscaping.

Homeowners’ associations are often created by a document known as the declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (declaration or CC&Rs) or a similar document that is filed in the local (county) records by the developer of the property.

Homeowners’ associations are generally governed by a board of directors (board), elected by the homeowners as provided by the HOA’s declaration and bylaws. Unit owners or homeowners in the association are required to pay monthly HOA dues for the maintenance and repair of the common areas of the property and its insurance.

In Texas, homeowners' associations (HOAs) are governed by state statutes that outline their creation, management, and the rights and obligations of their members. These statutes include the Texas Residential Property Owners Protection Act and the Texas Uniform Condominium Act. HOAs are typically established through a declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), which are recorded in the county where the property is located. The CC&Rs, along with the association's bylaws, set forth the rules for the community, the responsibilities of the HOA, and the obligations of the unit owners. The HOA is managed by a board of directors elected by the homeowners, and all homeowners are usually required to pay monthly dues for the upkeep of common areas and other shared expenses. These dues are used for maintenance, repair, and insurance of common areas such as roofs, hallways, and landscaping. Texas law provides specific regulations on how HOAs must operate, including how they handle assessments, foreclosures, and the rights of homeowners within the association.

Texas Statutes & Rules

Federal Statutes & Rules

Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination by direct providers of housing, such as landlords and real estate companies as well as other entities, such as municipalities, banks or other lending institutions, and homeowners’ associations, based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale of a dwelling because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability. This applies to homeowners’ associations (HOAs) which must not discriminate in their rules, conditions, and practices. For example, an HOA cannot refuse to sell or rent to an individual based on these protected characteristics. Additionally, the Act requires that reasonable accommodations be made for individuals with disabilities, which can affect HOA policies regarding service animals or accessibility modifications in common areas.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to public accommodations, which can include the common areas managed by homeowners’ associations, especially if they are made available to the public.

The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. For HOAs, this means that any common areas open to the public must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. This includes reasonable modifications to policies, practices, or procedures when such modifications are necessary to afford such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities, unless the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), 50 U.S.C. §§ 3901-4043
The SCRA provides protections for military members as they enter active duty, which includes protections related to housing and homeowners’ association fees and assessments.

The SCRA provides a range of protections for active duty military members, reservists, and members of the National Guard when called to active duty. This includes protections against default judgments, and caps on interest rates for financial obligations entered into before military service. In the context of HOAs, the SCRA may protect servicemembers from foreclosure or eviction for nonpayment of HOA dues or assessments while on active duty. It also may allow for the termination of a lease by a servicemember under certain conditions.

Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, 11 U.S.C. §§ 101-1532
This Act includes provisions that affect the treatment of homeowners’ association fees and assessments when a homeowner files for bankruptcy.

Under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, when a homeowner files for bankruptcy, certain debts may be discharged, while others remain. For HOAs, the Act specifies that fees or assessments that become due and payable after the filing for bankruptcy are not dischargeable and must be paid by the homeowner. This means that while a homeowner may have some HOA debts discharged, they are still responsible for ongoing fees after the bankruptcy filing date.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2617
RESPA includes provisions that impact the way homeowners’ associations disclose financial information to potential buyers.

RESPA is a federal statute that helps protect consumers from abusive practices during the real estate settlement process. For HOAs, RESPA requires that potential buyers are provided with pertinent and detailed information about the costs of the real estate transaction, including the costs associated with the HOA. This includes providing buyers with information about regular assessments and any potential special assessments that may affect the cost of owning a home in a development with an HOA.

What You Need to Know About Homeowners Association (HOA) Common Areas
In HOAs, common areas are spaces shared by all community members rather than owned individually. These include amenities like pools, clubhouses, green spaces, and fitness centers, offering leisure and practical benefits.
Marijuana and Homeowners' Associations: Community Rules vs. State Laws
One of the evolving legal dilemmas facing many homeowners is the tension between state laws allowing recreational marijuana use and Homeowners' Association (HOA) rules that may prohibit it. Is it even legal for an HOA to set such rules?
Can a Homeowners' Association Restrict Leasing? Understanding the Power of Contracts
When you purchase a home within an HOA, you aren't just buying the property. You're also entering into a contractual agreement to abide by that association's conditions, covenants, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that govern it.
Can Your HOA Fine You? Understanding Homeowners' Laws
While homeowners associations are legally recognized, finding yourself on the receiving end of a complaint or HOA fine may have you asking whether or not the association actually has the legal right to fine you.
How to Fight Your HOA Legally
If you find yourself struggling with strict rules in your neighborhood, “getting back” at the association can be tempting. Rather than doing something that could land you in legal trouble, however, you can learn how to fight your HOA legally.