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Texas Condo & HOA Articles Archive

/ Owner - July 2, 2012
  • Can a POA Have a Restrictive Covenant Prohibiting the Use of a Common Area or House to Practice Religion? (TX)
    The United States was founded on the principle of religious freedom. This is an aspect of our laws we learn in our earliest history class. The issue of religious freedom was so important to the Founders that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens’ right to freely exercise their religion, though there are limitations to this. Almost 250 years later, numerous state and federal religious freedom laws have been adopted and cases have been litigated in both state and federal courts regarding government, quasi-government and entities imposing burdens on the exercise of religious freedom.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Thoughts on Achieving Financial and Social Sustainability (TX)
    In Texas and nationally over the past 15 years we have seen a higher number of condominium projects being developed. The reasons vary, but include a desire for greater density as a means to accommodate higher land prices and/or construction costs, changing demographics, and/or a means to offer the option for homeownership with a higher level of service and amenities.   Read the article…………………………….
  • The Importance of Policies and Their Roles in Governing Documents (TX)
    The increasing involvement of the Texas Legislature over the last few legislative sessions is forcing property owners associations (“POA”) to consider new approaches to governance. This is brought on by new laws and the unlikelihood of POAs being able to achieve the owner vote requirements to amend their governing documents. As a result, to ensure their governing documents comply with the new laws, POAs are turning to or adding an additional layer to their documents in the form of policies. This begs the question, what is a policy and how can it be used to assist in the governance of the POA with the other governing documents?    Read the article…………………………….
  • The Corporate Transparency Act: HOAs Don’t Need That Kind of Transparency
    One of the hottest topics in the HOA-world over the past year has been the implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). Although enacted by Congress in 2021, registrations under the CTA became mandatory for newly formed HOAs on January 1, 2024, and will be mandatory for all incorporated HOAs on January 1, 2025. The Community Associations Institute (CAI), which advocates for HOAs, has stated it will file a lawsuit this summer challenging the applicability of the CTA to HOAs.  Read the article…………………………….
  • Poolside Etiquette: How to Enjoy Your Community Pool Responsibly
    As summer heats up, so does the activity at community pools. A community pool offers residents a great way to cool off, relax, and socialize with their neighbors. Still, it’s important to remember that a neighborhood pool is not the same as a private pool. While a backyard pool is only subject to a homeowner’s personal rules, patrons of public pools must follow community rules in order to keep the pool clean and safe for all residents. Not only that, but a little common sense (and common courtesy) will go a long way toward making sure that everyone is able to enjoy themselves at the pool this summer.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Plaintiffs accuse homeowners association of negligence after dog attack (TX)
    In a gripping case that underscores the importance of community safety and responsible pet ownership, two women have filed a lawsuit against a homeowners association and several residents following a dog attack. The complaint was lodged by Roxanne Roy and Elizabeth Hill in the Harris County District Court on May 29, 2024, targeting Towne Lake Community Association, Inc., along with Mae Henri (a.k.a. Henri Courtney), Johnnie L. Courtney, and Kelley D. Courtney.   Read the article…………………………….
  • How the POA Industry has Responded to a More Active Legislature (TX)
    Put together the letters P, O, and A and you will have created an acronym with negative connotations for many people across the United States. As a result, state legislatures in many states are increasing regulations against an industry designed to be self-regulated by its members to protect property values. Moving into the Lone Star State, over the last several legislative sessions, the legislature has been actively involved in attempts to increase legislation. Fortunately, the Texas POA industry has responded in various ways to ensure it is abiding by the new laws and its concerns are heard and addressed by legislators.    Read the article…………………………….
  • How to Get the Most from Your HOA
    Living in a community governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA) can offer numerous benefits, from maintaining property values to fostering a sense of belonging. However, to truly make the most of your HOA experience, it’s best to understand how to engage effectively with it. Here are some practical tips and tricks to help you build a strong bond with your HOA for a better living experience.  Read the article…………………………….
  • Texas House Bill 614’s Impact on HOA Transparency
    “It’s a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Those emotions are poison to any living goal.” ? Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free  Maraboli’s quote is an excellent reflection of HOA (Homeowner Associations) communities where members have struggled to understand their HOAs rules and regulations and have been penalized as a result.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Steps to Manage Increasing Hostility and Misinformation on POA Social Media Pages
    Social media has taken root in the daily lives of almost every person in the world. With billions of users, the various social media platforms have enabled communication to be shared around the world instantly. But with that instantaneous communication, negative side effects have appeared. Over the last several years, increasing hostility and misinformation have become the norm for social media and POAs are not immune to online abuse and misinformation spread about the POA. As online abuse continues to rise, POAs should have a plan in place on how to respond to negative posts, online abuse, and misinformation.   Read the article…………………………….
  • The FTC Issues a Final Rule Banning Noncompetes in Employment (TX)
    On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a final rule making most non-compete clauses unenforceable. Employers who require their employees to sign agreements with confidentiality, non-compete, and non-solicitation clauses should take note of the new rule and its potential implications for their organizations going forward.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Navigating Election Year in Your Community
    Maintaining harmony within your community can be difficult during the best of times. But when election season rolls around, things can get especially tricky. With emotions running high and a wide variety of opinions among homeowners in your neighborhood, keeping things peaceful can feel like a true challenge.  During these times, clear community guidelines can help keep things civil and foster an environment of respect. Here are some things to remember as you strive to help your community navigate this potentially contentious season.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Reserve Studies and Their Impacts on POAs (TX)
    The spotlight on POA financials has been shining bright over the last several years. Since the 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers South Condominium in Florida, state legislators, the media and loan providers, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are more closely scrutinizing the financial state of POAs. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in particular are requesting more information on the amount of deferred maintenance accrued by POAs. An important tool for POAs to combat this scrutiny is the reserve study.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Waging War on HOA Weeds
    Why is it that the plants you want to keep green and living always brown and wilt, while the weeds you try to kill flourish and drive you nuts? It’s a problem that plagues every yard, in every community, no matter in what part of the country you live. While the problem is inevitable, there are some tricks that will help you and your community win the war on weeds and avoid unnecessary violations.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Court Held That Deed For Common Area To Homeowners’ Association Did Not Create A Trust For The Members
    In BLF LLC v. Landing at Blanco Prop. Owners Ass’n, member of a home owners association sued to prevent the association from selling certain common area property. No. 03-22-00423-CV, 2023 Tex. App. LEXIS 9300 (Tex. App.—Austin December 13, 2023, no pet. history). Among other theories, the members alleged that the trust existed for their benefit. After the trial court granted summary judgment for the association, the members appealed.     Read the article…………………………….
  • Everything you need to Know about HOA Bylaws, Regulations and CC&Rs
    As much as we might not like to admit it at times, homeowners associations have rules and regulations in place for a reason. Mostly, they are for community safety and structure. If you find yourself questioning whether your HOA has the authority to regulate a certain item or action, check its governing documents and bylaws, as well as your state and local laws. If you’re a board member, you need to realize the importance of clear, coherent rules and governing documents, in order to avoid misunderstandings and disputes.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Let it snow: Texas community creates winter wonderland
    While nestled in the heart of Spring, Texas, where snowfall is a rare sight, the Windrose Community Association has found a creative way to bring the joy of winter to its residents. For years now, this close-knit community has been making cherished memories by building an annual winter wonderland and snow hill for the children. This heartwarming tradition not only fosters a sense of togetherness but also showcases the community’s commitment to creating magical moments for its youngest members.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Client Alert – Corporate Transparency Act
    Millions of entities across the United States must get ready to comply with the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), a new federal law that goes into effect on January 1, 2024. Subject to a few limited exceptions, the CTA requires all new and currently existing entities to file reports with the federal government, identifying information about themselves, their “company applicants,” and their “beneficial owners.”    Read the article…………………………….
  • A Neighborly Guide to Enjoying Christmas Lights in Your Neighborhood
    The holiday season is upon us, and one of the most cherished traditions is driving around neighborhoods to admire the twinkling Christmas lights. To help you make the most of your neighborhood Christmas light tour, we’ve put together a guide with tips for being a considerate and courteous neighbor during the festive season.    Read the article………………………….
  • Fireplace Safety
    As the colder weather sets in, many people are rushing to light their fireplaces to create a cozy and warm ambiance. If you have a woodburning fireplace in your home, it’s crucial to keep fireplace safety in mindto ensure the well-being of your household and your neighbors in your HOA community during the winter season. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe and warm during the winter!   Read the article………………………..
  • Surviving the Holiday Season as a Board Member
    The holiday season can be a stressful time for board members, but with the right approach, you can navigate it successfully! Managing a community during this busy period and handling the conflicts that often arise doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are some valuable tips to help you effectively manage your community and reduce stress during the holiday season.   Read the article…………………………..
  • Update from Austin: 88th Texas Legislature Special Session 3
    The third special session for the 88th Texas Legislature called by Governor Greg Abbott began on October 9th. The Governor set out the issues that can be brought forth for this session in a proclamation. Those issues include: education freedom, border security, public safety and property ownership. The bill property owners associations are watching is SB 48.   Read the article……………………………
  • The How-To’s of ACCs (TX)
    A new year is quickly approaching and, after hours of inspiration from watching Fixer Upper, homeowners may be feeling inspired to add on to or remodel the exterior of their homes and update their landscaping. On top of that, the extended drought has led to many needing unexpected repairs, giving owners an excuse to undertake the full-scale remodel they have been dreaming of for years.    Read the article…………………………..
  • Update on New Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Condominium Seller Guidelines
    Following the collapse of the Champlain Towers South Condominium in Surfside, Florida, in 2021, government backed mortgage lenders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, issued temporary project review requirements relating to significant deferred maintenance in condominiums, co-ops, and similar developments.    Read the article……………………………..
  • Hierarchy of Governing Documents
    A POA’s governing documents, also referred to as the dedicatory instruments, are composed of a variety of document types that form the foundations for the operations of the community. While each document is important, each document has a different degree of authority and control over the functions of the association. In this article, we examine the hierarchy of governing documents and the authority they have in a POA.   Read the article…………………………..
  • How Texas HOAs Are Keeping Low-Income Renters Out
    A state law will prohibit homeowners associations from discriminating against tenants using rental vouchers. The practice is more widespread than lawmakers realized.   Read the article………………………..
  • What Board Members Need to Know on POA Budget Season
    For many, the start of fall marks the hope of cooler temperatures being near, but for POA community managers and board members that is another story. September means the heat is really cranked up with the stress of budget season falling upon the POA industry. The requirements on how the budget should be set depends on a number of factors in both the Texas Property Code and the governing documents of the specific association.   Read the article………………………..
  • Why Your Board Should List All Damages Following a Hurricane
    In the aftermath of a hurricane, community associations face numerous challenges, including assessing and documenting the damages caused by the storm. While the immediate focus is often on cleanup and recovery, it is crucial for association boards to prioritize the comprehensive listing of all damages incurred.    Read the article………………………..
  • The Role of HOA Management in Safeguarding and Improving Property Investments (TX)
    Owning a home means more than having a place to live; it’s a valuable investment we cherish. Many neighborhoods are blessed with a Homeowners Association (HOA) to safeguard and nurture this investment. This remarkable alliance consists of fellow homeowners who unite to manage and care for the community.   Read the article………………………..
  • Mother sues vacation home owners after her son was injured in shallow water (TX)
    A mother is suing the owners of their rented vacation home and the subdivision in which it is located after an accident on a family vacation led to serious injuries for her teenage son.   Read the article………………………..
  • How Your Condo Board Can Ensure Balconies Are Clear Before a Hurricane
    As a condo association board member, the safety and well-being of your residents should be your top priority, especially when it comes to preparing for natural disasters like hurricanes. One area that requires particular attention is the clearing of balconies before a hurricane strikes. Balconies can become potential hazards during high winds, posing risks to both the property and the people living in your condominium.    Read the article………………………..
  • Chickens and Your HOA (TX)
    It’s no secret that owning chickens remains a hot topic within HOAs across the country, but many people have a lot of fear around the idea. Whether it be noise, smell, property value, or other concerns, homeowners and board members alike want to know, is having chickens in your community worth it?   Read the article………………………..
  • 2023 Legislative Updates and How They Impact Your Community (TX/AZ)
    That’s a wrap! We’ve reached the end of our 2023 legislative session in almost every state. If you live in an HOA in Texas or Arizona and want the breakdown of what you need to know moving forward, we’ve got you covered!  If your community is in a state other than Texas or Arizona, check on your local legislative updates to ensure your governing documents are accurate and meeting requirements.   Read the article………………………..
  • How an HOA Can Promote Community Engagement and a Better Quality of Life (TX)
    Residing in a community governed by a homeowners association (HOA) presents a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond mere property value maintenance. Notably, the prospect of enriched community engagement and an elevated quality of life for all residents stands as a paramount advantage.   Read the article………………………..
  • How to Prepare Elevators in Your High-Rise for a Hurricane
    Keeping your community functional, safe, and beautiful can be particularly challenging if it is located in an area that is prone to hurricanes. Here are some of the most important things to consider when preparing your high-rise’s elevators to reduce the likelihood of damage during a hurricane.   Read the article………………………..
  • 88th Texas Legislative Session Action Items
    The 88th Texas Legislative Session has reached its conclusion. Several bills have passed that will require actions from POAs. Learn more about the actions POAs will need to prepare to take in the months ahead with our action items update below.   Read the article………………………..
  • To Feed or Not to Feed…Feral Cats (TX)
    Amidst the recent drama involving Governor Abbott and the Texas Senate following the conclusion of the 88th Texas Legislative Session, a largely unknown bill was able to slip through the legislative process mostly unopposed that could have drastic implications on our communities. This bill involves Trap, Neuter & Release (“TNR”) programs and feral cats.    Read the article………………………..
  • Social Media in Your Community (TX)
    Throughout history, communication has changed drastically. From petroglyphs in caves telling the stories of ancient hunts and battles, to the pony express taking letters across the frontier, to the notification of “you’ve got mail” signaling an email has arrived, the barriers to communication have steadily dropped over time. That evolution has continued over the last 15 years with the rise of social media. Now, the barriers are virtually gone. But what does that mean for our community associations? Should community associations have a social media page/pages? And if yes, what are ways the page can be implemented?   Read the article………………………..
  • ACC Request Denied? Here are the Steps to Making a Proper Appeal
    If you live in a community with an HOA, then you likely know that home improvement projects require approval from your association’s Architectural Control/Review Committee (ACC/ARC). While this extra step can feel tedious when you’re ready to break out the paint and tools, it is important as it helps your community maintain a cohesive look, which ultimately protects your home’s value.   Read the article………………………..
  • How Your Board Can Foster a Sense of Community Among Residents
    Building a community where everyone feels welcome is not always easy, but there are several steps your association can take to create a community that goes beyond the appearance of homes and further enhances the lives of your members.   Read the article………………………..
  • Social Media in Your Community (TX)
    Throughout history, communication has changed drastically. From petroglyphs in caves telling the stories of ancient hunts and battles, to the pony express taking letters across the frontier, to the notification of “you’ve got mail” signaling an email has arrived, the barriers to communication have steadily dropped over time. That evolution has continued over the last 15 years with the rise of social media.  Read the article………………………..
  • 2023 Texas Legislative Update: Issues Affecting Texas Homeowners’ Associations and Condominium Owners’ Associations
    The 2023 Texas Legislative Session has come to a close. New laws affecting homeowners’ associations and condominium owners’ associations will take effect on September 1, 2023. Winstead was actively involved in the 2023 Texas Legislative Session,   Read the article………………………..
  • How Water Activities Boost Wellness in Active Adult Communities
    Pools are a wellness catalyst in many community associations. Many people find aquatic exercise a favorable and beneficial way of living a healthy lifestyle. Water activities have a greater advantage, with notable results for active adults with health challenges.   Read the article………………………..
  • 88th Texas Legislative Session Action Items
    The 88th Texas Legislative Session has reached its conclusion. Several bills have passed that will require actions from POAs. Learn more about the actions POAs will need to prepare to take in the months ahead with our action items update     Read the article………………………..
  • Texas Court of Appeals Upholds Rental Time Period Restriction Amendment
    A recent opinion from the Texas Court of Appeals, Angelwylde HOA, Inc., v. Fournier, No. 03-21-00269-CV (Tex. App. Mar. 17, 2023), held that a 12-month minimum rental restriction, which was adopted in accordance with the amendment provision in the CC&Rs is valid and enforceable. While the case law is not binding upon Arizona community associations, Arizona Courts will likely be addressing similar issues in the near future.     Read the article………………………..
  • Handling Vandalism in Your Community
    HOAs want nothing more than to create healthy, happy, safe, and clean communities. But too often, things happen that are out of the control of the HOA and may put this vision in jeopardy. Case in point: vandalism. Read the article………………………..
  • Drought-resistant HOA Guidelines (TX)
    What I often ask clients is, “What would someone think is reasonable after hearing the facts and not being involved in the emotion of the decision? Also, what would the neighbors think?” The best thing to do is to have guidelines as to what is appropriate and what is not. Having town meetings to discuss alternatives is always a good idea.   Read the article………………………..
  • First HOA Meeting? Here’s What to Expect
    A knowledgeable homeowner is a helpful homeowner. If you’re new to an HOA community, then you may not know what to expect when it comes to meetings held by the board. In this guide, we’ll cover what to expect when attending your first HOA meeting as a homeowner.   Read the article………………………..
  • Are Your Pets Good Neighbors?
    You try your best to be a good neighbor: you put your trash bins out on the right days; you keep your property neat and well kept; and you respect community areas and the people in them.  You are a good neighbor—but what about your pet?    Read the article………………………..
  • Bill Spotlight: SB 468 and HB 2450 – Political Rallies Coming to a Community Near You (TX)
    Turn on the TV or log on to any social media website and it will not take long before a report, or in the case of social media—an argument, about free speech appears. The debate on what constitutes free speech and how it affects people has taken over politics in many parts of the United States. The same debate is now positioned to enter into our communities. The 88th Texas Legislative Session has introduced a pair of bills targeting how property owners’ associations (POAs) can regulate assembly and speech in the common areas of associations.   Read the article………………………..
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