Supporting Your Success Through


81st Texas Legislature (2009)

Current Bills of Interest – Real Estate
January 2009 Report

Bill Number Official Caption (description) Comments
House Bill 23 relating to a residential landlord’s disclosure of previous use of leased premises for manufacture of methamphetamine and related remedial action. Would require landlords to advise tenants of a property’s prior use as a meth lab; makes it nonwaivable; imposes specific formatting requirements for this notice in the lease, and imposes one penalty for failure-termination of the lease and a refund of all rent paid. Would be effective January 1, 2010.
House Bill 28 relating to requiring notice by a seller of real property of potential annexation of the property by a municipality. Includes the exact wording of the required notice; may be in the contract or in a separate document.
House Bill 133 relating to mandatory sales price disclosure in real property sales; providing a civil penalty. It seems there are always several bills filed on this issue. The goal is to help the appraisal district value the property. The threat is that someone could then figure out how much a transfer tax on the sale of real estate would generate for the state treasury.
House Bill 244 relating to regulation of residential tenancies by local governments. Would prevent Farmers Branch and other cities from enforcing ordinances requiring landlords to determine prospective tenants’ immigration status and prohibiting them from leasing to illegal aliens.
House Bill 421 relating to a mortgage servicer’s notice of sale to a debtor and the debtor’s subsequent notice to tenant. One of what will be many foreclosure bills. This one would require owners to notify tenants of any foreclosure affecting the property, and prohibits landlords from requiring the tenant to vacate prior to the sale except for nonpayment of rent or other payment required by the lease.
House Bill 534 relating to the liability of certain obligors under a residential lease. Would automatically restrict guaranties of leases to the primary term only (not for any extension; here’s a direct quote: “A provision that purports to renew for an additional lease term the liability of a person other than a tenant who cosigns or guarantees a lease is void.”
Senate Bill 83 relating to right to vacate and avoid residential lease liability following the occurrence of certain sex offenses or family violence. Would allow a tenant to terminate a lease, move out and avoid all future liabilities under the lease as of the termination, if the tenant is a victim of a sexual assault that takes place in the premises or at any dwelling on the premises.
Senate Bill 354 relating to transactions involving residential mortgage foreclosures; providing a penalty. You have already covered this one.
Senate Bill 472 relating to notice required before, and period to vacate after, foreclosure sale of real property. Another foreclosure bill. This one would change the cure period after notice of default from 20 to 45 days, would require a new notice to be provided on 8 1/2  xll canary yellow paper (!), would require the lender to try to contact the debtor by phone, and would give the debtor 31 days after foreclosure to move out. Also would require debtors to timely notify any tenant in the property about the noticed foreclosure.

Other Observations (general):

1.                Tom Craddick served as Speaker of the Texas House for the past 2 sessions. His leadership style was that of a very strict dictator. The opposition finally overthrew him and elected Joe Straus from San Antonio as Speaker for the current Session. This will have a very material effect on legislation this session. Generally, it will decentralize the House and I would have expected more bills to be passed except for…

2.                  The budget is extremely tight this session so any bill with a fiscal note will face an uphill battle. Some legislators are calling for the absolute minimum effort and nothing else

(taken to its logical extreme this means only passing the budget, which is the only bill the legislature must pass).

3.        As of this time (January 15, 2009), there are 645 bills filed in the House and 486
filed in the Senate. Most of the controversial bills have not been filed yet. Last session there were 4,140 House Bills filed, and 2,058 Senate Bills filed, so – as you can see – we are just getting started.

The next Legislative Update, to be presented at the next NTAHP General Meeting (Feb.), will included more Bills to worry about. Also, more context will be provided for the Bills listed here as well