Houston Area HOA Foreclosure-related Filings
Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some typical questions received by HOAdata. Click each to see the answers provided by the research team. One team member handles most of the queries, thus many replies are written in the first person. For questions not covered in the list below or for further information, please send an email to HOAdata. The research team typically responds within a day or two.

More Data:
Where can I find similar information for areas outside Harris County?
Is there a master list of HOAs in Houston or in Harris County (or elsewhere)?
What percent of homes in Houston are in HOAs?
Why do you not have condo or townhome data?
How do I find out about non-judicial foreclosures in Harris County?
How do I find out how HOAs affect the value of homes compared to areas without HOAs?

About HOAdata:
When do you plan to update the website?
How do I assess data that is several years old? What does it tell me about what is happening now?
How did you gather your data?
Who are you and how did you get into this?

Interacting with HOAs:
Where can I find HOA enforcement laws?
How do I get to see my HOA's records?
How do I find out about what my HOA is doing?
I plan to purchase a home. How can I learn about the HOA's filings prior to purchase?
Can my HOA restrict improvements to my property?
Is there a limit on how much my HOA can spend without a vote?
Is it OK if I just stop paying my assessments to my HOA?
My HOA claims that I have past due payments. Is it OK for me to fight them without a lawyer?
Do you have any suggestions for setting up an HOA or making my HOA rules more friendly to the owners?
Are HOAs in Texas explicitly required by law to disclose or distribute deed restrictions to homeowners?

Where can I find similar information for areas outside Harris County?

We do not have information on foreclosure statistics other than what appears on our website. Our information relates mostly to Harris County, but we do have some partial information for some surrounding counties.

We do not know of any similar collection of information anywhere else. To get similar information, one would access a court database or actually go to the courthouse.

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Is there a master list of HOAs in Houston or in Harris County (or elsewhere)?

We have no master list, and we do not know of any master list. We have been told that REA may have a list of Harris County HOAs, but we have not seen it.

What we know is on our website. We used the HAR list to identify subdivisions, and numerous sources to identify HOAs (City of Houston list, research on HOA registrations, and court records naming HOAs). We provide links to most of these on the website.

See also the Houston Chronicle, Sunday, April 7, 2002, in the Housing Market Review. Also, in the newspaper home ads, you can see the Master Planned Communities.

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What percent of homes in Houston are in HOAs?

One of our researchers provided the following thoughts - but these are just that - thoughts:

Harris County subdivisions = 4,628 (per HAR, listed on our site)
Total homes in these subs = 696,653 (adding up HAR list)
HOAs = 834 (per City of Houston, listed on our site) (Harris County total unknown)
Total homes in these HOAs = 249,078 (our database. some HOAs missing info)
His rough answer:
18% of subdivisions are listed as an HOA
36% of homes are in an HOA
The guess is approximate because of
  1. limits on our HOA list accuracy,

  2. the mismatch between Houston and Harris County (some of Harris County does not include Houston, and some of Houston (not much) is outside Harris County), and

  3. our lack of size info for some HOAs.
My own guess is that the numbers are much higher. We have been frustrated because we cannot get a definitive list of HOAs. We are often asked for such a list and we have to answer that to our knowledge, no such list exists.

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Why do you not have condo or townhome data?

Our data is mostly for single family homes, not condos. This is not a reflection of any lack of concern about condos - rather it is because most condos foreclose by nonjudicial procedures. We kept our eyes alert for condo foreclosures as we gathered our data, but we do not have the resources or ability to collect this data in the same way that we collect the other HOA foreclosures.

The HOA foreclosures that we collect come mostly from court databases available on the Internet. By contrast, most condo foreclosures seem to be "nonjudicial foreclosures." With a nonjudicial foreclosure, there is no court action and no record that appears in the databases we review. I did look through stacks of legal notices at the county clerk's office one day, and I saw numerous condo foreclosures in those notices. However, to collect that data would require a monthly trip to the clerk's office, copying the data by hand, and then transferring it to computer. Our present efforts take up too much time to allow us to branch out to such an additional effort. For more info on finding non-judicial foreclosures see this FAQ.

Condos are subject to a separate statute from other homes. This is, not in itself, sufficient reason to exclude the data. Loss of a home is the same whether the home is a condo or any other home. But it is something we have considered. However, if the data had been available on the databases we reviewed, we would have included it.

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How do I find out about non-judicial foreclosures in Harris County?

Our thanks to a visitor to our website for discovering how to find non-judicial foreclosures in Harris County. For anyone who lives in a condo or townhome, this procedure should be very valuable.

Non-judicial foreclosures involve a trustee's sale of the property. In the purchase documents, the property owner has agreed to the appointment of a trustee to foreclose and sell the property if one or more events occur.

Non-judicial foreclosures are sometimes done simply in the name of your association. Non-judicial foreclosures are also sometimes done, if not always, by use of a substitute trustee. The substitute trustee is often a director.

The overall strategy is to search the Harris County real estate records for documents of the type "TRSALE". A "TRSALE" is a trustee's sale. It is most likely a foreclosure by your association if it involves your association or if it involves someone appointed by your association as a substitute trustee.

The searches below will give you a fairly good idea of the non-judicial foreclosure activity by your association. Unfortunately, you probably need to look at the actual documents to know with certainty what has happened in each case, and the searches below are not guaranteed to uncover every non-judicial foreclosure by your association.

To find non-judicial foreclosures done in the name of your association, search for trustee sales by or for your association:

  1. Go to the web-site for the Harris County Clerk's Office.

  2. On the left side of the home page, click on the "Search our Databases" link.

  3. On the right side of the page, Click on the "Real Property" link.

  4. You should now be on the "Real Property Inquiry System" page. In the middle search, the "For name search":

    1. Select "Grantor." Later repeat this process selecting "Grantee."

    2. In the block entitled "Enter name here", type in the name of your association. You must be creative here. Try various spellings and abbreviations. Often it is helpful to simply type the first word of your association's name, followed by a space, followed by the first letter only of the next word in the associations name (e.g., for Melrose Place type "Melrose P").

    3. Click "INQUIRE."

  5. On the resulting list, look for documents of the type "TRSALE".
To find non-judicial foreclosures done by a substitute trustee, first search for appointments of substitute trustees, then search for trustee sales by these substitute trustees:
  1. Appointments of "substitute trustees" will appear in the Harris County real estate database as documents of the type "APPT." Search the database for any APPT document where your association is a grantor or grantee. Also, search using the name of the directors of your association to determine if any director has been appointed as a substitute trustee.

  2. For each substitute trustee that you identify, search the database to find each TRSALE type document where the director is a Grantor or Grantee.
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How do I find out how HOAs affect the value of homes compared to areas without HOAs?

You ask an important question. Our website contains some data and graphs that suggest that HOAs have had no effect on property values in the Houston area. Values seem to depend on the age old "location, location, location" mantra.

To be fair, the CAI - a group that promotes the interests of the attorneys and management companies that profit from the current laws concerning HOAs - claims to have data that indicates that HOAs improve property values.

We do not agree with that claim.

Further, while you did not ask for more than information on property values, we feel it important to add the following.

We believe that there are things more important at issue and at risk in the HOA area than property values. As we have followed the various HOA issues, we have seen the following:

  • We have seen senior citizens, persons down on their luck, and minorities forced out of their homes in the name of protection of property values.

  • We have seen neighborhoods lose all control of their fate to attorneys and management companies in the name of protection of property values.

  • We have seen neighbors defaming one another in the name of protection of property values.

  • We have seen HOAs and management companies cite homeowners for violations such as an oil stain on a driveway, a missing basketball net, a three foot disagreement over the location of a lamp post in the name of protection of property values.
  • While protection of property values is a legitimate concern - and as a homeowner we share that concern - we wish that our laws would properly balance that concern against the protection of one's home, freedom to live in a reasonable manner, and the right of neighbors to have a say in how their neighborhood is governed.

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    When do you plan to update the website?

    We, the HOAdata researchers, are volunteers, so we are not able to update as frequently as we, or our readers, would like. We planned to do a mass update in 2004, but did not make that goal, due to circumstances beyond our control (our day jobs, etc). Our goal is to provide objective data on foreclosure filings in the Houston area - primarily in Harris County. It is a team effort with each active member providing his/her particular expertise. The next update depends on availability of internet database software expertise.

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    How do I assess data that is several years old?
    What does it tell me about what is happening right now?
    Should I be concerned the information here is "out-of-date"?

    While it would be ideal to have up to the minute data on foreclosure filings, it is not essential, unless you have reason to believe things are changing quickly. Some people may have a mistaken impression about the importance of "up-to-date" research from election polling or market watching, two areas where timing matters a great deal. In most areas of social research, including HOA foreclosures, timing is less important.

    The purpose of our research on HOAs is to document a long-standing, systemic problem in the way these organizations use their powers. The data indicates that HOAs used foreclosure filings against homeowners frequently over a long period of time - far longer than the few years since our last update.

    We expect this pattern, consistent over many years, has continued to the present. Indeed, the powers HOAs enjoy haven't changed, their priorities do not appear to have changed, and even the lawyers filing the foreclosures haven't changed. So why would the pattern we documented have disappeared in the last few years?

    Clearly, it would be best to check this intuition with further data, and we are working on just that project. But until more data is available, our published research remains the best available on HOA foreclosure behavior. (Note as well that a more recent study wouldn't necessarily be better, unless it were as well executed.)

    Even in the long run - say ten or twenty years in the future - our research will remain valuable, for we have documented what HOAs can and will do when given the power to foreclose: They will use that power, or the threat of it, to bully homeowners and extract fines and legal fees. If the laws changed tomorrow to remove HOA foreclosure power, our research would still stand as a warning of what can (and certainly did) happen when HOAs are unregulated. In that sense, our research will remain useful for a long time yet.

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    How did you gather your data?

    We began with a collection of court records relating to HOAs. This is too expensive and too much of a random sampling.

    We then began to count filings and judgments shown in the daily court newspaper. That was effective, but missed everything in the past.

    Finally, we began collecting data off the Internet from the websites of the Harris County District Court and the Harris County Clerk's Office. These two separate sites give us information for the district courts and for the county courts. We look for cases of the TYPE: "Foreclosure" or "Debt" or "Lien" or similar cases. Then we search for party names that suggest an HOA. We downloaded and reviewed entries on over 400,000 cases.

    That is the short answer. If you want more detail on the Internet data collection, then read below:

    1. We wrote Perl code to collect info case by case from online Harris County court records (both Civil and District court systems) spanning 17 years. Through trial & error, we eventually found that it was best to download all cases from Civil Courts (314,070 cases) and cases of any relevant type from District Courts (118,880 cases). This took weeks of continuous downloads.

    2. We wrote additional Perl code to condense the data into single and consistent database records.

    3. We then scanned the 432,950 records manually using filtering techniques in Excel to weed out any non-HOA cases. This took a while!

    4. We added tags to each record to add a consistent name for each HOA. Needless to say, HOAs, attorneys, and clerks have not been consistent in references to the same HOA. A lot of care was used here, and records dropped if they could not be reasonably identified. We also dropped HOA actions against companies and partnerships, keeping only actions against individuals.

    5. We then re-reviewed the resulting database (15,767 records) to weed out inconsistencies and duplicate records.

    6. We acquired additional data from the Houston Association of Realtors website to identify subdivision age, size, and values for subdivisions. Where possible, we connected this information to the HOAs. In some cases, super-HOAs control multiple subdivisions. We grouped this data if possible.

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    Who are you and how did you get into this?

    We are not any formal organization. We are members from three generations of a Houston family (though two of us no longer live in Houston):

    Generation 1:
    Beanie - started the research for this website using manual data collection and analysis.
    Generation 2:
    Bob - an engineer who has semi-automated some of the data collection, processing, and analysis.
    Tom - an attorney who has looked into the legal issues and helped some homeowners with their HOA difficulties.
    Generation 3:
    Chris - a political science & statistics assistant professor who has applied some statistical analyses to the data.
    Assistant Professor of Political Science, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Statistics, and Core Member of the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
    We are not victims of HOA foreclosures or any other HOA abuse, but we are concerned about the many cases that we have discovered in which people unfairly lost their homes or were forced to pay thousands of dollars to keep their homes. The four of us have varying opinions on the topic of HOAs, but we are all very concerned about abuse of power in HOAs, in particular foreclosure.

    In 2000, Beanie became active on the HOA issue in response to a proposal to transform her decades-old civic association from a voluntary dues association to an HOA. The neighbors received proposed Deed Restrictions giving new foreclosure power to the association and empowering the board to assess mandatory dues. Especially alarming to her was the statement that a management company would take over all of the work at no cost to the HOA. She became concerned that "no cost" to the HOA meant higher costs to the homeowners. Beanie soon discovered that the Texas Legislature had recently empowered HOAs in Harris County (but not elsewhere in Texas) to assess mandatory dues and fines, and that many Harris County HOAs were abusing their powers, especially by filing for foreclosure of homes over trivial fees. She joined the neighborhood opposition, and in May 2000, her neighborhood defeated the effort to change the neighborhood rules.

    At this same time, the celebrated case of Wenonah Blevins (a widow who lost her home over a pittance) and a few other HOA cases were in the news. In each case, the HOAs played down the foreclosure problem and the accompanying adverse publicity by claiming that foreclosure cases were rare. Beanie realized that what was lacking was any documentation to determine whether the HOA claim was true or false.

    In January 2001, Beanie set out to gather this missing evidence from Harris County Court records. With Tom providing records and advice, she soon discovered that the number of HOA foreclosure filings was bigger than she had expected. In fact, as the data on our website shows, some neighborhoods had an extraordinary percentage of cases compared to the neighborhood size.

    By the summer of 2001, we realized that we should put together a complete, electronic database that we could analyze formally. Bob worked to obtain all electronically available Harris County court records dating back to 1985 that provided evidence of foreclosure filings. Beanie spent hundreds of hours coding the data into an Excel spreadsheet.

    In January 2002, we went public with our findings on the HOAdata.org website. We each contribute in our small ways. Since we went public, Chris has supplied the statistical analysis, Tom has become the main contact for queries, both Beanie and Tom have testified before the State of Texas Senate Subcommittee on Property Owners' Associations, and Tom has written several documents on HOA issues.

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    Where can I find HOA enforcement laws?

    If you simply want to see the statutes that apply, you can read the following chapters of the Texas Property Code:

    201 Restrictive Covenants Applicable to Certain Subdivisions
    202 Construction and Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants
    203 Enforcement of Land Use Restrictions in County with Population of More than Two Million
    204 Powers of Property Owners' Association Relating to Restrictive Covenants in Certain Subdivisions
    205 Restrictive Covenants Applicable to Revised Subdivisions in Certain Counties
    206 Extension of Restrictions Imposing Regular Assessments in Certain Subdivisions
    207 Disclosure of Information by Property Owners' Associations
    208 Amendment and Termination of Restrictive Covenants in Historic Neighborhoods
    209 Texas Residential Property Owners Protection Act
    The chapters are actually fairly short and very eye-opening, especially Chapter 204. You can find this in the library or on-line.

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    How do I get to see my HOA's records?

    As a property owner, you have the right to see, upon written demand, the complete books and records of account of the HOA, the minutes of all proceedings of the HOA members, HOA board of directors, and HOA committees, the names and addresses of its members entitled to vote. Your right exists under Property Code Chapter 209, section 209.005, which appears below.

    Sec. 209.005. ASSOCIATION RECORDS.

    (a) A property owners' association shall make the books and records of the association, including financial records, reasonably available to an owner in accordance with Section B, Article 2.23, Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act (Article 1396-2.23, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes).

    (b) An attorney's files and records relating to the association, excluding invoices requested by an owner under Section 209.008(d), are not:

    (1) records of the association;
    (2) subject to inspection by the owner; or
    (3) subject to production in a legal proceeding.
    Art. 1396--2.23. Books and Records
    1. Each corporation shall keep correct and complete books and records of account and shall keep minutes of the proceedings of its members, board of directors, and committees having any authority of the board of directors and shall keep at its registered office or principal office in this State a record of the names and addresses of its members entitled to vote.

    2. A member of a corporation, on written demand stating the purpose of the demand, has the right to examine and copy, in person or by agent, accountant, or attorney, at any reasonable time, for any proper purpose, the books and records of the corporation relevant to that purpose, at the expense of the member.
    If you send a written request, make sure you send it by certified mail, return receipt requested, and keep a copy. Be sure to state a reason why you want to see each type of record. Some things you might want to see:
    All bylaws, deed restrictions and other organizational documents
    All contracts, including, without limitation, contracts with attorneys, management companies, and vendors
    All expenses and payments
    All revenues
    All records relating to savings accounts or other funds
    All deed restriction violation letters or debt letters sent by or on behalf of the HOA (such as by a management company or attorney)
    All minutes of meetings of the board, of the owners, and of committees
    All records of deed violations
    All records of assessment receipts
    All election records
    Anything else you think relevant
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    How do I find out about what my HOA is doing?

    First, you have a statutory right to request the records of your HOA. See the FAQ on obtaining your HOA records.

    Second, you can separately learn all you might ever want to about the court activity of your HOA by the following:

    1. Go to the Harris County clerk's court database. Search for variations on the name of your HOA. Try many combinations.

    2. Search the Harris County real estate records to see the liens and deeds that the HOA has filed. Again search for variations on the name of your HOA. Try many combinations. Try searching for the HOA as grantor and as grantee.

    3. Go to the county clerk's office to look at any court records or real estate filings that interest you.

    4. Go to the district court clerk's office to search for your HOA as a plaintiff in district court.

    5. Go to any justice of the peace court if you are really interested in further activity.
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    I plan to purchase a home. How can I learn about the HOA's filings prior to purchase?

    If you are doing due diligence, we suggest the following:

    1. Ask the association to allow you to see its records. They have no obligation to agree, but you can always ask. The association is obligated to provide this information to an owner, so if you are really serious about the due diligence, then require the current owner to request this information. If the association agrees, ask to see their financial records, a listing of liens and suits, violation letters sent in the last year, and the minutes of board and member meetings.

    2. If in the Houston/Harris County area, check this website for tallies of foreclosure-related filings.

    3. Search the County Clerk real estate records for filings by the association or against it.

    4. Search the District Court and County Court records for suits by or against the association.

    5. Go to any justice of the peace court if you are really interested in further activity.

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    Can my HOA restrict improvements to my property?

    It depends, but the answer in the real world is almost always "YES." It depends in particular where you live. Property Code Chapter 204 is the determinative factor for how we can answer that question. Property Code Chapter 204 applies only to Harris County and not to any other county in Texas.

    Often, the Articles of Incorporation, or the Deed Restrictions or the By-laws of an HOA give the HOA architectural control over homes and other structures in the neighborhood. In that case, each owner must obtain approval from the HOA or architectural committee for any improvements, sometimes even for repairs.

    If the Articles of Incorporation, Deed Restrictions, and By-laws are silent on the issue, then the distinction between Harris County and everywhere else becomes important.

    For neighborhoods that lie in part or in whole in Harris County, any HOA has the power to control improvements automatically unless the Articles of Incorporation, the Deed Restrictions or the By-laws expressly prohibit the HOA from doing so.

    For neighborhoods in Texas that DO NOT lie in part or in whole in Harris County, an HOA does not have the power to control improvements unless that power is expressly given by vote of the members (if the documents are silent on the issue).

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    Is there a limit on how much my HOA can spend without a vote?

    Unfortunately, there is no clear limit that I know about on what the directors can spend. I suppose that an astronomical figure such as $100,000,000 might be deemed by a court to be outside the purposes of the HOA. But in the end, without a clear limit, the burden would be on a challenger to prove that the act was beyond the scope of the HOA. That would be very difficult to do.

    I have seen numerous by-laws and deed restrictions. I cannot say that I have seen enough to make me an expert, but I have seen many. I have never seen a dollar limit in any of them.

    Sometimes, the deed restrictions or by-laws will reserve a certain type of action for a vote of the members.

    Property Code Chapter 204 expands the powers of an HOA board in the Houston and Harris County area beyond what is stated in the by-laws and deed restrictions. The board has the following powers unless the DRs or articles expressly provide to the contrary:

    (2) adopt and amend budgets for revenues, expenditures, and reserves and collect regular assessments or special assessments for common expenses from property owners;

    (3) hire and terminate managing agents and other employees, agents, and independent contractors;

    (5) make contracts and incur liabilities relating to the operation of the subdivision and the property owners' association;

    (7) make additional improvements to be included as a part of the common area;

    (15) purchase insurance and fidelity bonds, including directors' and officers' liability insurance, that the board considers appropriate or necessary;

    (20) exercise other powers that may be exercised in this state by a corporation of the same type as the property owners' association; and

    (21) exercise other powers necessary and proper for the governance and operation of the property owners' association.

    It is the power of the board to enter into large money contracts and long term contracts that are easy tools for abuse of the owners rights.

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    Is it OK if I just stop paying my assessments to my HOA?

    We occasionally receive emails from persons who plan to simply ignore their HOA and stop payments. Please do not try this tactic. Your HOA has legal weapons that you do not have. You could lose your home or end up paying many times the amount due. Do you want to risk your home or your savings in such an unfair fight? We do urge you to fight abusive situations, but the best tactic is to reclaim your HOA by electing a caring and responsive board.

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    My HOA claims that I have past due payments. Is it OK for me to fight them without a lawyer?

    Unless you are confident that you and your HOA will work out a resolution to a dispute quickly and cheaply, don't try to fight a claim of past due assessments without a lawyer. If the HOA has filed or threatened suit, you should immediately obtain legal counsel. Too many people have lost these cases because they represented themselves. Owners often lose these suits on legal technicalities, not on the merits. We have seen cases lost because of improper affidavits, improper evidence, failure to raise the best arguments, raising too many arguments, and raising issues too late. The HOA's can hire experienced attorneys who know what they are doing and may be aggressive. Do you want to risk your home or your savings in such an unfair fight (lay person vs attorney)?

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    Do you have any suggestions for setting up an HOA or making my HOA rules more friendly to the owners?

    I would suggest adopting the following in a way that can only be changed by a unanimous vote of the owners.

    1. The owners of each lot shall be entitled to one vote on all HOA matters, and that right shall not be taken away for any reason. Neither the HOA nor the Board shall deprive any owner or any lot of the right to vote for any reason.

    2. The HOA shall not turn any matter against owners over to attorneys or take legal action against any owner or lot without the approval of x% of the members for the specific case. The HOA waives any right to an award of attorneys fees against any owner for fees incurred before such member approval.

    3. The HOA shall not inhibit an owner's right of free speech. (You may want to permit the HOA to make reasonable restrictions on the size and placement of signs, but no absolute prohibition.)

    4. The HOA shall not have any powers that are not expressly granted in an instrument approved by x% of the members and recorded in the county real property records.

    5. Each owner shall have the right to exclude the owner's lot from any new deed restriction by providing a written notice of exclusion to the HOA within x days after receipt of notice from the HOA of passage of the new deed restriction.

    6. The HOA shall have no power to collect assessments or use assessments except for the following purposes:
      Maintenance of common areas
      (add whatever you think appropriate. You want these listed so your assessments don't grow each year for unknown expenses.)
      The HOA shall not collect assessments if the HOA account balance exceeds the expected expenses for the next x months.

    7. Every x months, the HOA shall provide to each owner detailed, clear statements of all revenues and expenses.

    8. All deed restrictions shall expire every x years. The deed restrictions shall renew only upon the approval of x% of the members.

    9. Deed restrictions shall be separately numbered and in clear and concise language. Deed restrictions can only be approved by a separate vote for each deed restriction.

    10. Be sure you define how a vote occurs. A 70% vote means 70% of what? Lots? All owners? (so how do a husband and wife count?) Acreage?

      Could be: Each lot shall have the right to one vote. (Cast as fractions if multiple owners or multiple owners decide among themselves how to cast the one vote.)

    11. The HOA shall not foreclose any lien against a member except that the HOA may enforce its lien at the time of sale of a lot.

    12. The HOA shall have no power to assess fines, except that the HOA may charge late fees as approved by x% of the members. (It can enforce its deed restrictions without fines.)

    13. The HOA shall not enforce the deed restrictions in a discriminatory, arbitrary, or capricious manner.

    14. Any owner request for approval of construction, landscaping, maintenance, or repairs shall be deemed approved if, within x days after receipt of the request, the HOA fails to provide written disapproval specifying a specific, recorded deed restriction as grounds for disapproval.

    15. The HOA shall not delegate to any third party any power to declare deed restriction violations.

    16. Best: The HOA shall not engage any management company.
      Next best: The HOA shall not engage any management company for a term exceeding one year. All management contracts must be approved by x% of the members. All management contracts must be terminable at will by the HOA or by a petition or vote of x% of the members.

    17. The HOA shall at all times abide by any petition signed by x% of the members. (HOAs often refuse to abide by such petitions.)
    Some other thoughts
    The HOA shall be subject to the xxx open meetings act. (Need to precisely name the act.)

    All deed restrictions must be easy to read.

    All members shall have the right to equal services and equal treatment.

    All members shall have the right to complete access to the books and records of the association.

    All HOA elections shall be conducted without the involvement of any management company, lawyers, or other vendors to the HOA.

    Permit cumulative voting in elections.

    Term limits for board members.

    Dues and assessments shall be used only for purposes specified before collection.

    Public bids for all jobs. Board members and others in the decision-making process must give complete disclosure of any personal financial interest. All vendor contracts should be available for inspection and copying by all members.

    Management companies should only manage. They should not collect homeowner fees, control bank accounts, sign checks or giving legal advice. Managers should not charge legal costs or insurance costs to the HOA or to members.

    Reserves and all other association resources should not be used for legal fees without an express vote of the members.

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    Are HOAs in Texas explicitly required by law to disclose or distribute deed restrictions to homeowners?

    The answer is NO.

    However, what might be of more interest are some further questions and answers, as follows:

    Question 1: Are "deed restrictions" the only documents that impose legal requirements on homeowners that an HOA can use to cite a violation?

    Answer: No. Under current law, an HOA can bind homeowners (and cite violations) to deed restrictions, HOA articles of incorporation (if they happen to have restrictions or obligations), HOA by-laws, and any guidelines or rules that the HOA board adopts or that are adopted by any entity or person to whom the board delegates authority.
    Question 2: Must the HOA (or someone else) record (with the county real estate records) the "deed restrictions" and other documents for the documents to be binding on a homeowner?
    Answer: Yes for deed restrictions, but No for other documents. A deed restriction is not by definition a deed restriction unless recorded. The law does not require rules and guidelines to be recorded.
    Question 3: Does the law require an HOA or anyone else to distribute or post the deed restrictions or other binding documents?
    Answer: Surprisingly -- No, at least not expressly. It remains to be seen if a court may one day say that such secret rules are not enforceable. That would probably require an expensive challenge in court by a homeowner.
    Question 4: Why is the law this way?
    Answer: Unfortunately, the HOAs, management companies and HOA attorneys have successfully had legislation passed in every Texas legislative session since the early 1980's. So, almost always, the answer to almost any question concerning homeowners and HOAs is: The HOA wins.

    These questions are no exception. In the latest Texas legislative session (2009), at least one proposed bill would have limited what would bind homeowners to those documents only that have been recorded in the county real estate records. The HOA / management-company / attorney lobby defeated it.

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