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New Laws Aimed At Curbing HOA Abuse

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FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) - Chad Butler has had his share of dealings with his homeowners association, especially after a car ran into the Frisco resident’s fence. “It was damaged the first time over here in the center,” he pointed out. “We had to provide a written notice that we were going to change the design of the fence. It took three weeks to a month to get that approved.”

That would not have been a problem for Butler. However, he explained, “During that time frame, we received a ticket from the same person that was supposed to be approving our new fence.”

Butler is one of many North Texans who are glad to hear that a new list of laws, which take effect with the new year, have been designed to curb the authority of homeowners associations.

Among the 17 laws, associations will now be required to provide a 72-hour notice of board meetings and open meetings to homeowners. The laws also include requirements for associations to obtain a court order before foreclosing homes. And an HOA has to establish payment plans to prevent foreclosure when a homeowner cannot pay dues.

Also, homeowners will be able to display religious items on doors and door frames.

“It’s time and dollars to everyone,” explained Judi Phares, chairwoman of the Texas Community Association Advocates. “There will be more costs to administering an association because of the impact of the laws.” When asked how much that could be, Phares could not say at this point. But she does know that an association will have to take more steps in its day-to-day operations.

For homeowners like Butler, that translates into an even slower response time from his homeowners association.

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