6 Wins for Texas Real Estate Consumers

Texas REALTORS® had several legislative victories this past legislative session as the strongest advocates for Texas real estate consumers. Now several TAR priority bills are heading to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk to enhance disclosure, save real estate buyers from excessive fees, protect private-property rights, increase transportation options, and more.

Here’s a rundown of the TAR-supported bills that received the House and Senate’s support throughout the legislative process and are moving on to become law (as of 9:30 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 30):

Home equity will be on the Nov. ballot

Senate Joint Resolution 60, authored by Sen. Kelly Hancock and sponsored by Rep. Tan Parker, will make a few select updates to the home-equity provisions in the Texas Constitution will be on the Nov. 7, 2017 ballot as a constitutional amendment.

The updates include lowering the fee cap to 2% and removing three of the top fee generators from the fee cap (appraisal fee, survey, and state base premium for title insurance policy/title examination report).

If voters approve the amendment, it will take effect Jan. 1, 2018 and will apply to new home-equity loans made on or after the effective date and existing home-equity loans refinanced on or after the effective date.

Enhanced disclosure for real estate consumers

Senate Bill 2212, authored by Sen. Kelly Hancock and sponsored by Rep. John Kuempel, is awaiting the governor’s signature to become effective Sept. 1, 2017.

The legislation would protect real estate consumers from misleading real estate advertisements and require disclosure from real estate wholesalers.

TAR worked with the Texas Real Estate Commission on this important pro-consumer legislation.

More information on seller’s disclosure

Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law TAR-supported House Bill 890, authored by Rep. Charlie Geren and sponsored by Sen. Craig Estes, after the bill received overwhelming support in both chambers.

The bill puts a mechanism in place to provide real estate buyers disclosure about the impact of potential aircraft noise and other activities from nearby military installations.

The bill will add this language to TREC’s Seller’s Disclosure, effective Sept. 1, 2017:

"This property may be located near a military installation and may be affected by high noise or air installation compatible use zones or other operations. Information relating to high noise and compatible use zones is available in the most recent Air Installation Compatible Use Zone Study or Joint Land Use Study prepared for a military installation and may be accessed on the Internet website of the military installation and of the county and any municipality in which the military installation is located."

Texas REALTORS® testified in support of HB 890 and its Senate companion, Senate Bill 775, by Sen. Craig Estes, during committee hearings. TAR supported the bills because they will provide potential buyers with information about military installations without putting a burden on sellers to investigate whether such disclosure may be required for a particular property.

Clearing up voter confusion

TAR-supported Senate Bill 957 passed the House and Senate unanimously and only needs the governor’s signature to become law.

The bill, which was authored by Sens. Donna Campbell and Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and sponsored in the House by Reps. Jodie Laubenberg, Larry Gonzales, Gina Hinojosa, Charlie Geren, and Toni Rose, will clarify Texas ballots in several ways:

  • State propositions must be labeled with a number (Proposition 1, Proposition 2, etc.)
  • Local propositions must be labeled with a letter (Proposition A, Proposition B, etc.)
  • Propositions must be labeled with the entity ordering the election (State of Texas
  • Proposition 1, City of Lakeway Proposition A, etc.)
  • State propositions must be listed above local propositions.

Once Gov. Abbott signs the bill, it will take effect immediately, which means the changes will be reflected on the November ballot—including the constitutional amendment to update home-equity lending provisions in the Texas Constitution.

Providing more transportation options

Gov. Abbott signed HB 100 into law, effective immediately.

The bill provides clear statewide standards for transportation network companies by implementing several requirements, including:

  • TNCs must be permitted by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
  • TNCs must pay an annual fee ($5,000) to operate throughout the state
  • TNCs must perform annual local, state, and national criminal background checks on drivers.

This TAR-supported legislation had wide support in the Legislature, as it was authored by Rep. Chris Paddie, joint-authored by Reps. Senfronia Thompson, Poncho Nevárez, John Kuempel, and Geanie Morrison; coauthored by 67 other representatives; and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Charles Schwertner.

Protecting private-property rights

Senate Bill 744, authored by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and sponsored by Rep. Dade Phelan, allows someone who has to remove trees on their property for construction or development to get credit for a municipal tree mitigation fee by planting a tree on the property or in a mutually-agreed upon other property.

If a municipality charges a fee for removing a tree from privately owned land, then the municipality has to provide tree-planting credits to offset the fee.

Once the governor signs, the bill will take effect immediately.

And don't forget...

These legislative victories are powered by TREPAC. Governor Abbott just announced that he has called a special session starting July 18 and Property Tax Reform is on the agenda. As we head towards the special session, chip in to make sure that you have a seat at the table.


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