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4/18/2005
Texas Rep Wants Homeowners Associations to Ticket Residents
A Texas state Representative wants Homeowners Association to issue speeding tickets to residents.

Representative Linda Harper-Brown
Cities won't be the only ones running speed traps if Texas state Representative Linda Harper-Brown gets her way. She has filed legislation that would allow Homeowner Associations to use radar guns and issue their own speeding tickets to residents. The legislation puts no restrictions on the association as far as the amount of the fine or the procedures used to set the speed limit or issue citations, except that a resident is only to be cited for doing 10 MPH over the limit. To enforce the new rule, the bill gives associations the power to file a lawsuit or foreclose on the home if the ticket is not paid. Anyone receiving a ticket could write a written promise not to speed again to get out of the first offense. The bill also allows the association to summarily ban a resident from using common property.

Homeowners association disputes can often turn ugly. Last year, the 89-year old father-in-law of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas fought his Omaha, Nebraska association which tried to ban him from flying an American flag on his balcony.

Article Excerpt:
H.B. No. 1770
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT
relating to the power of a property owners' association to levy certain fines.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Section 209.006(a), Property Code, is amended to read as follows:
(a) Before a property owners' association may suspend an owner's right to use a common area, file a suit against an owner other than a suit to collect a regular or special assessment or foreclose under an association's lien, charge an owner for property damage, or levy a fine for a violation of the restrictions or bylaws or rules of the association other than a violation described by Section 206.0061, the association or its agent must give written notice to the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested.

SECTION 2. Chapter 209, Property Code, is amended by adding Section 209.0061 to read as follows:
Sec. 209.0061. NOTICE REQUIRED BEFORE LEVYING FINE FOR SPEEDING. (a) This section applies only to a violation of the posted speed limit on a private road in a subdivision in which a property owners' association may exercise the association's authority.
(b) Before a property owners' association may levy a fine for a violation described by Subsection (a), the association or its agent must give written notice to an owner alleged to have committed the violation by certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice must:
(1) describe the violation that is the basis for the fine and state any amount due the association from the owner; and
(2) inform the owner that, except as provided by Subsection (c), the owner may:
(A) avoid the fine by entering into a signed, written agreement with the association promising to obey all posted speed limits in the subdivision; and
(B) request a hearing under Section 209.007 on or before the 30th day after the date the owner receives the notice.
(c) An owner who commits a violation described by Subsection (a) may not avoid a fine under Subsection (b) if:
(1) the owner was given notice of another speeding violation as required by Subsection (b) within the preceding year; or
(2) the violation giving rise to the fine is exceeding, by 10 or more miles per hour, the posted speed limit on a private road in the subdivision.
(d) In this section, "private road" has the meaning assigned by Section 541.302, Transportation Code.

SECTION 3. Sections 209.007(b) and (d), Property Code, are amended to read as follows:
(b) If a hearing is to be held before a committee, the notice prescribed by Section 209.006 or 209.0061(b) must state that the owner has the right to appeal the committee's decision to the board by written notice to the board.
(d) The notice and hearing provisions of Sections [Section] 209.006 and 209.0061 and this section do not apply if the association files a suit seeking a temporary restraining order or temporary injunctive relief, [or] files a suit that includes
foreclosure as a cause of action, or levies a fine for a violation described by Section 209.0061. If a suit is filed relating to a
matter to which those sections apply, a party to the suit may file a motion to compel mediation. The notice and hearing provisions of Section 209.006 and this section do not apply to a temporary suspension of a person's right to use common areas if the temporary suspension is the result of a violation that occurred in a common area and involved a significant and immediate risk of harm to others in the subdivision. The temporary suspension is effective until the board makes a final determination on the suspension action after following the procedures prescribed by this section.

SECTION 4. The changes in law made by this Act apply only to a fine that is levied on or after the effective date of this Act. A fine that is levied before the effective date of this Act is covered by the law in effect at the time the fine was levied, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.

SECTION 5. This Act takes effect September 1, 2005.


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