Legislative Updates

House Bill 311
Amends Property Code Sections 5.062, 5.064, 5.066, 5.070, 5.076, 5.077, 5.079,
and 5.081
Effective September 1, 2015
Relating to an executory contract for the conveyance of real property; providing a
civil penalty.
This bill amends provisions of the Property Code relating to executory contracts for
conveyance of real property (also known as “contracts for deed”) to make contracts
for deed more akin to transactions employing traditional seller-financing using a
deed and lien (such as a vendor’s lien or deed of trust). In fact, the bill specifies that
a recorded executory contract is the same as a deed with a vendor’s lien (in other
words, on recording, an executory contract conveys legal title to the purchaser
subject to a lien retained by the seller for the amount of the unpaid contract price
less any lawful deductions). A seller must record the contract within 30 days after
its execution. The bill denies sellers the remedies of rescission and forfeiture and
acceleration if the contract has been recorded. A seller who violates the recording
requirement is liable to the purchaser in the same manner and for the same amount
as a seller who violates statutory requirements for the transfer of recorded, legal title
to the property, except that damages are limited to $500 per year of noncompliance
(but without prejudice to other remedies a purchaser may have under other law).

Senate Bill 478
Adds Government Code Section 22.019
Effective September 1, 2015
Relating to the promulgation of certain forms for use in landlord-tenant matters.
This bill requires the Supreme Court of Texas to promulgate standardized forms
to be used by individuals representing themselves in residential landlord-tenant
matters and to provide instructions for the proper use of each form. The bill requires
the forms and instructions to be written in plain language easy for the general
public to understand, to clearly and conspicuously state that the form is not a substitute
for an attorney’s advice, to be made readily available in the manner prescribed
by the Supreme Court, and to be translated into Spanish (though the
Spanish forms are for information only and may not be used in court). The bill
requires the clerk of a court to inform members of the public of the availability of
the forms and to make the forms available free of charge. A court must accept use
of a form unless the form has been completed in a manner that causes an uncurable
substantive defect.

House Bill 1510
Adds Property Code Section 92.025
Effective January 1, 2016
Relating to liability of persons who lease dwellings to persons with criminal records.
Establishes that no cause of action accrues against a landlord or its manager
or agent solely for leasing a dwelling to a tenant who has been convicted of, or
arrested or placed on deferred adjudication for, an offense. (The intent of this bill
being to make available more housing opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals,
thereby decreasing homelessness and recidivism.) Causes of action for negligence,
however, are not precluded if the tenant was convicted of (or has a reportable
offense for) one of a list of crimes involving murder, burglary, sexual assault,
indecency with a child, prostitution, human trafficking, elder or child abuse, sex
offenses, and similar offenses and the landlord, manager, or agent knew or should
have known of the conviction or adjudication.

Senate Bill 1626
Amends Property Code Section 202.010
Effective Date: September 1, 2015
Relating to the regulation by a developer of the installation of solar energy devices
in a residential subdivision.
Chapter 202 of the Property Code limits restrictions that may be imposed against
installation of solar energy devices in a residential subdivision. Prior to this bill,
however, Chapter 202 allowed developers to limit or restrict property owners from
installing solar energy devices during the development period. This bill limits this
right to developers of developments of 50 units or less.

House Bill 2066
Adds Property Code Section 51.016
Effective September 1, 2015
Relating to the rescission of non-judicial foreclosure sales.
This bill applies only to non-judicial foreclosure sales of residential property and
permits a mortgagee, trustee, or substitute trustee to rescind a sale within 15 days
after the foreclosure if
* statutory requirements for the sale were not met,
* the underlying default was cured before the sale,
* a receivership or dependent probate administration involving the property was
pending at the time of sale,
* a sale condition specified by the trustee or substitute trustee before the sale
was not met,
* the mortgagee or mortgage servicer and the debtor agreed to cancel the sale
beforehand based on the debtor’s agreement to cure, or
* a bankruptcy stay was in effect at the time of sale.
The sales price must be returned to the purchaser and the debtor must return excess
proceeds if the sale is rescinded. Challenges to the rescission must be brought
within 30 days after the date required notices of the rescission are recorded. A purchaser
who effectively challenges a rescission is entitled to damages only in the
amount of the portion (if any) of the purchase price not returned to the purchaser
plus interest (unless the rescission is due to bankruptcy, in which case no interest is
payable).

House Bill 2207
Adds Property Code Chapter 66
Effective September 1, 2015
Relating to the foreclosure sale of property subject to an oil or gas lease.
Makes clear that a foreclosure sale does not cut off an oil and gas lease if the
lease is recorded prior to the sale. (An oil and gas lease is not a “lease” in the traditional
sense; rather it is a determinable conveyance of an interest in the mineral
estate.) Notwithstanding the preceding, if the foreclosed property includes an interest
in hydrocarbons as well as the surface, the foreclosure sale terminates the oil or
gas lessee’s surface rights to the extent the foreclosed mortgage had priority over the
lease.