This year’s legislative session resulted in several new or revised real estate-related laws. Here are six that kicked in January 1.
A big tax cut for Texas businesses
The franchise tax has been reduced by 25%. This reduces the tax burden of any large real estate business that is subject to the franchise tax.
New TREC rules
Several rules, regulations, and procedures for the Texas Real Estate Commission have been created or revised, including …
- Changes to certain definitions and terms—for example, “salesperson” is now “sales agent”
- Increasing the number of CE hours required to renew a licensed from 15 to 18
- A new rule allowing TREC to determine the text and delivery of consumer notices, including the Information About Brokerage Services and Consumer Protection Notice. This change resulted in revisions to these notices effective February 1, 2016.
- A new rule that TREC cannot increase education requirements by more than three hours per license-renewal period.
Here's a handy PDF cheatsheet on TREC changes.
Refining the appraisal-protest process
Property owners who appeal their appraisal using equal and uniform protests will have to use generally accepted appraisal methods and techniques if they claim the property was appraised higher than comparable properties. Also, property owners will be able to use properties in other counties as comps if there aren’t enough comps in their own county.
More input required to increase property-tax rates
Local taxing units, such as municipalities and counties, will be required to have a supermajority vote of approval (at least 60% of the governing body’s members) before the taxing unit can increase its property-tax rate. In addition, a local taxing unit that increases its property-tax rate will have to post a notice on its website homepage that the rate is increasing.
Cost savings for landlords
Landlords will be able to deduct the cost of rekeying a security device from a tenant’s deposit when the tenant vacates a rental property in breach of a written lease, as long as the lease includes specific language. The TAR Residential Lease has been revised to include this language.
An additional disclosure
Sellers will be required to disclose whether any portion of the property is in a groundwater conservation district or subsidence district. TAR’s Seller’s Disclosure Notice and TREC’s Seller’s Disclosure of Property Condition have been revised to address this.
TREC Contract Forms, Addenda, Notices can be found on the TREC website.
This article was previously published on the Texas Association of REALTORS® blog.