Houston Area HOA Foreclosure-related Filings

A Bill of Rights for Homeowners in Associations:
Basic Principles of Consumer Protection and Sample Model Statute

Summary Report

Full Research Report

From the July 2006 AARP announcement:

This AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Paper outlines a set of 10 key principles and provides sample statutory language that states can follow when developing laws for homeowners associations and other types of common-interest communities, and that associations themselves can use when developing or modifying their own governing documents.

In advocating reasonability as the touchstone for all actions, the principles maintain that homeowners have the right to…

  • Security against Foreclosure
  • Resolve Disputes without Litigation
  • Fairness in Litigation
  • Be Told of All Rules and Charges
  • Stability in Rules and Charges
  • Individual Autonomy
  • Oversight of Associations and Directors
  • Vote and Run for Office
  • Reasonable Associations and Directors
  • An Ombudsperson for Homeowners
The author, David Kahne, is a Texas attorney who has been practicing law for more than 20 years. He has represented homeowners in a variety of cases and actively promoted the rights of homeowners in the Texas State Legislature.

Your feedback and comments are appreciated.

Reclaiming Your HOA This draft paper from 2003 provides a step-by-step guide to reclaiming your HOA. It is written for Texas, with focus on the Houston area, but is generally applicable to HOAs throughout the U.S.

Opening note from the author:
After several years observing the HOA abuse issue and working through lawsuits and lobbying, I am convinced that the most effective method to stop HOA abuse is a grassroots effort to reclaim your HOA for the neighborhood. Do not wait for an attorney, a judge, or the legislature to help you. You and your neighbors have the power, but it will require work -- hard work. Your ultimate goals will be to elect a board that will protect owner's rights.

The author would appreciate any feedback and comments on this paper, especially additional helpful hints for reclaiming an HOA.

Grassroots Tips On Neighborhood Organization: Defeating The Formation Of Property Owners' / Homeowners' Associations This document offers tips from actual experience on preventing a POA from forming in an established neighborhood. The author is not affiliated with HOAdata.org, and has kindly provided the document for access here.

Abridged Excerpt:
...the Board of our Civic Club put forth a strong effort to pass a new set of Deed Restrictions (which included a POA)... Although the new set of Deed Restrictions did not specifically mention the formation of a POA, provisions for all of the POA components were present: Mandatory assessments (in lieu of voluntary dues), an Architectural Control Committee, and sweeping powers ... granted to the controlling Board of Directors.

When several homeowners realized what the new Deed Restrictions entailed, Willowbend Neighbors United was formed to defeat the passage of the amended restrictions. During the seven months of confrontation, the Board of Willowbend Civic Club repeatedly changed the "ground rules" - first citing Chapter 204 as the enabling legislation, then Chapter 201, ...

It was a roller coaster ride! The issue was finally resolved ... by the election of new officers and a new Board of Directors ... who campaigned on an anti-POA platform ... by a 4-1 margin.

Homeowner Association Foreclosures and Property Values in Harris County, 1985-2001 This draft paper from 21-Oct-02 reports on a statistical study of the HOAdata database.

In recent years, homeowner associations (HOAs) in Harris County, Texas have filed thousands of lawsuits threatening foreclosure against residents who owed dues, late fees, or fines. An event count analysis of HOA foreclosures by neighborhood from 1985--2001 shows the bulk of these filings occur in neighborhoods with low median home values. Overall, homeowners in the bottom quartile of home value face more than ten times the risk of HOA foreclosure proceedings as those in the top quartile. Legal changes in 1987 and 1995 also seem to have encouraged HOAs to bring more foreclosures to court: across the spectrum of home values, the annual pace of filing after 1995 is almost double the previous decade's rate. Although HOA foreclosures are ostensibly motivated by efforts to improve property values, neither foreclosure activity nor HOAs appear linked with above average home price growth.

What needs to be fixed in Texas' HOA and deed restriction laws? This document was submitted to the State of Texas Senate Subcommittee on Property Owners' Associations during a formal hearing on 28-May-02 at the state capitol in Austin. It provides an analysis of problems in the many existing HOA laws.

A Whirlwind of Legislation: Since 1985, the Texas Legislature has engaged in a whirlwind of activity relating to HOAs and deed restrictions. Only one session (1993) failed to enact or amend these laws. Each active session has added to the power of HOAs -- specifically HOAs primarily in the Houston area. In fact, the legislation has been so quick in coming and apparently so unintegrated, that the 1999 Legislature enacted three separate Property Code Chapters numbered 207!