REOC San Antonio
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Kim_Gatley
Kim Gatley
S
enior Vice President & Director of Research at REOC San Antonio

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Legislative successes that will change Texas real estate forever

TEXASTexas REALTORS® had several big wins in the 2015 legislative session. Here are some highlights:

A real estate 2-for-1 on the ballot

On November 3, Texas voters will have the chance to permanently ban taxes on the sale of real estate and to increase the homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000.

Brokers, you’re about to save money

When Gov. Abbott signed House Bill 7 by Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) and Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) into law, the occupations fee that Texas real estate brokers pay when applying for or renewing their two-year broker’s license was repealed. The law takes effect September 1, so brokers who renew their licenses and people who apply for a broker’s license on or after that day will see a $300 savings.

More real estate-related bills

The following bills related to TAR’s legislative priorities have been signed into law:

Homeowners associations

House Bill 2489 by Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) keeps HOAs out of the property-management business. The bill protects property owners’ rights by clarifying that HOAs don’t have the authority to screen, approve, or deny prospective tenants. The bill also explicitly states that prospective tenants don’t have to provide a credit report or lease application to the HOA. The new law took effect when it was signed on June 19.

Patent trolls

While patent reform is largely a federal issue, a lack of Congressional action has forced state legislative bodies to search for solutions. Senate Bill 1457 by Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) prohibits a person from sending bad-faith claims of patent infringement to an end user who is located in Texas or doing business in Texas. The new law takes effect September 1.

Property management

House Bill 2404 by Rep. Rodney Anderson (R-Grand Prairie) allows a landlord to deduct the charge of re-keying a security device from a tenant’s deposit when the tenant breaches a lease. The new law takes effect January 1.

Senate Bill 267 by Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) clearly states that cities and counties may not prohibit a property owner (or the owner’s agent) from choosing whether to rent housing to someone based on the person’s lawful source of income, including a federal housing choice voucher (i.e., Section 8 vouchers). The new law takes effect September 1.

Property-tax reform

Senate Bill 1760 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) requires a supermajority vote of a local taxing jurisdiction before the jurisdiction may increase the property-tax rate. The new law takes effect January 1.

No increased fees for home-equity loans

House Joint Resolution 131, which would have allowed home-equity loan fees to be increased, died in committee. The Texas Association of REALTORS® will lead a study to evaluate the future of home-equity lending in Texas.

Click to read entire article: Legislative successes that will change Texas real estate forever (Texas Association of Realtors, 06-03-15)

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