A bill introduced in Texas House last week would prohibit homeowner associations from restricting the forms of payment that homeowners can accept, including Section 8 home choice voucher payments.
Filed by Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, the bill would amend Section 202 of the Texas Property Code to prohibit associations from enforcing provisions that limit or have the effect of limiting the forms of payment allowed. The bill explicitly includes payment made in whole or in part by a voucher or any other federal, state, or local housing assistance or subsidy.
The bill will have major implications for associations such as Providence HOAs in Denton County, which passed tenancy rules last June that restrict Section 8 tenants.
The controversial rules originally set called for $300 a week fines for landlords with Section 8 tenants until the tenants were ejected, but after a public outcry, the association announced that tenants would be allowed to complete the lease.
Implementation of the Section 8 ban and other provisions of the tenancy rules came to a complete halt in August, pending an investigation launched by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development into whether the rules violate the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race and other factors. .
More than 157 black households in Providence Village have been affected by the rules, with at least one family saying they were forced to move into a motel in anticipation of the ban.
Turner was chairman of the Business and Industry Committee, which traditionally deals with landlord-tenant relations, HOAs and real estate in the last legislative session. Following developments in Providence Village, Turner raised the issue at an interim committee hearing last September regarding the implementation of SB 1588, which also regulates homeowners’ associations. Turner assessed any potential opposition to the future bill with a spokesman for the Texas Legislative Action Committee, which represents homeowner associations, and the spokesman did not foresee a single objection.
“HOAs play an important role in many areas — I live in an HOA and I think the HOA is doing a good job — but the HOA should not be able to interfere with a property owner’s private lease agreement with a tenant. “We in Texas, unlike other places, have a shortage of housing, especially affordable housing. So if someone is eligible for a housing voucher through HUD, they are eligible to use the voucher to live there. where he wants, provided he can cover the costs.”
Other HOAs may also be affected by the bill if it passes – Savannah has had a similar ban on books for years. Prohibition supporters in both areas say the surge in violent crime they attribute to voucher recipients has underlined their support for the lease rules.
Once the Speaker of the House of Representatives appoints the committees around the beginning of February, the bill will go to hearings and a committee vote before it can be nominated for debate in the House of Representatives. While most bills never become laws, Turner hopes his colleagues will agree that the problem is simple.
“This, I think, is a very simple bill; it’s very clear,” Turner said. “This is a matter of private property rights – a third party cannot dictate to a property owner what type of payment they may or may not accept for a legal lease on their property. If we see this practice continue it would set a dangerous precedent and I think it’s against federal law – I think it would be very problematic for our state.
“I hope that my colleagues will see this bill as just a matter of common sense, which protects the rights of not only tenants, but also property owners.”
If passed, the law will enter into force on September 1.
HUD or HOA Providence has not released any updates as to whether the investigation is ongoing. The July lawsuit filed by High Opportunity Neighborhood Realty, which leases 21 properties in the neighborhood, including to voucher recipients, is also ongoing. The mediation is due to be completed by February 20, with a final pre-trial conference scheduled for August 31.
AMBER GAUDET can be contacted at 940-566-6889 and on Twitter at @amb_balam.