Texas Wesleyan Law Review


Sharon Kolbet

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Homeowners in Texas may be surprised to learn that recent changes in the Texas Property Code may have effectively deprived them of rights that many citizens would have considered unalienable. As many Texas cities struggle to keep up with the costs associated with suburban sprawl, these cities are finding it difficult to provide new neighborhoods with essential services such as water, sewer, and trash removal. To help their bottom line, many Texas cities have transferred these responsibilities to homeowners' associations (HOAs). However, in doing so cities have inadvertently created vast patchworks of privately owned neighborhoods where many constitutional rights have been contracted away. These de-constitutionalized zones are growing, and the law governing such quasi-municipalities is unclear. In 2001, the Texas Legislature intended to curb and regulate the power of HOAs by enacting the Texas Residential Property Owners Protection Act (TRPOPA). However, the portion of this legislation that deals specifically with an HOA's right to ban political signs is problematic, and possibly in violation of the Texas Constitution. Although the legislature intended for section 202.009 of the Texas Property Code to clarify the TRPOPA statutes, and thereby decrease the number of lawsuits brought against HOAs, the legislation may have the opposite effect.



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