Homeowners' Associations

What is a Property Owners’ Association (POA)?

In Texas, a property owners’ association (POA) is “an incorporated or unincorporated association owned by, or whose members consist primarily of, the owners of the property covered by the dedicatory instrument and through which the owners, or board of directors or similar governing body, manage or regulate the residential subdivision, planned unit development, condominium or townhouse regime, or similar planned development.” (See Texas Property Code § 202.001)

However, the property owners’ associations that govern most subdivisions within the City are covered by Chapter 209 of the Texas Property Code and are defined as an incorporated or unincorporated association that:

  • is designated as the representative of the owners of property in a residential subdivision;
  • has a membership primarily consisting of the owners of the property covers by the dedicatory instrument for the residential subdivision; and
  • manages or regulates the residential subdivision for the benefit of the owners of property in the residential subdivision.  (See Texas Property Code § 209.002.)

What is a deed restriction?

A deed restriction, also called a “restrictive covenant,” is a restriction on the use of land, which is intended to preserve the value and enjoyment of adjoining properties.  Deed restrictions often contain limitation on the use of property, or other lawful restrictions relating to maintenance or appearance.  This is not to be confused with zoning, which is a municipal regulatory tool.  Deed restrictions are a private agreement between two parties, and do not involve the City.

 Who enforces deed restrictions?

Deed restrictions are typically enforced by a property owners’ association (POA) or homeowners’ association (HOA).  Their discretionary authority is presumed reasonable unless a court determines the exercise of discretionary was arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory.   (See Texas Property Code § 202.004.)

Can the City enforce HOA deed restrictions?

No, City staff does not have the ability to enforce HOA deed restrictions.  In Texas, only two types of cities have the ability to enforce restrictive covenants: 

  1. a city with a population of 1.5 million or more; or 
  2. a city that does not have zoning ordinances.  (See Texas Local Government Code § 212.151.) 

Deed restrictions are a civil matter, which are enforced by the parties named in the restriction, such as a property owners’ association or a property owner.  

Can the City require a developer or homebuilder to provide HOA amenities?

City staff does not have the ability to require a developer to provide amenities that were promised to homebuyers.  In certain circumstances, the City may be able to require that the developer provide amenities as part of a development agreement or Planned Unit Development (PUD).   In these cases, the requirement for amenities must be specifically stated within an ordinance or contract approved by the City Council.  If the obligation to provide amenities is not stated in an ordinance or contract with the City, staff does not have the ability to require a developer to install them.