In Texas, there are many statutes that pertain to real estate or real property as it is commonly known, and many are found in the Texas Property Code. For example, if an interest in real property is of a certain type or duration, there must be a signed writing conveying this interest. Although there are variations, typically this is done by executing what is known as a warranty deed. Related to this is the financing associated with the purchase of real property. If a buyer of real property does not pay the entire purchase price at closing, they will normally execute a promissory note to pay the unpaid purchase price and execute a deed of trust. The deed of trust is a lien on the real property that may be foreclosed if the buyer does not make the payments as agreed. If the beneficiary of the deed of trust chooses to foreclose the lien, there are several procedural requirements that must be followed according to the Texas Property Code.
The Property Code also imposes certain duties on sellers of real property in Texas. For example, sellers of real property are required to disclose information about the condition of their property pursuant to Property Code Section 5.008. In addition, the seller of real property in some instances must give notice to purchasers about additional liabilities for additional taxes, potential annexation, obligations or membership in property owners associations, location of subsurface conditions such as pipelines, and obligations related to public improvements.
Owners of real property in Texas must also be aware that there are provisions in the Property Code that allow other parties to place a lien on their property. As an example, persons furnishing labor or who repair a house, building, or improvement may be entitled to place what is known as a mechanics, construction, or material man’s lien on the repaired property. In addition, a person’s judgment creditors may be able to place a judgment lien on some real property owned by the judgment debtor. Once a judgment lien is imposed on a property as allowed by law, the lien may be foreclosed and the property sold to pay the amounts recovered under the judgment. Judgment creditors are required to follow detailed procedures to foreclose their liens.
Issues also commonly arise in other areas of the law involving the use and occupation of real property. For example, in a residential lease, both the tenant and landlord have rights and duties set forth under the law in the event a dispute arises regarding the interpretation of the lease or in some cases the condition or in habitability of the premises. The Property Code sets forth the manner in which such disagreements are to be settled and the remedies available to the parties.
Finally, an increasingly common area for disputes involving real estate concerns the actions taken by homeowners associations or HOA’s. Many neighborhoods and subdivisions have restrictive covenants filed in the county land records that place restrictions on the landowners use and the actions they may take to change or otherwise improve their property. HOA directors are given broad powers to maintain the aesthetics of their neighborhood and maintain property values and resale value of the homes. However, the powers of an HOA is not unlimited. They have the authority to take certain actions and even place a lien on a person’s real property. Each of their actions must be taken according to the provisions found in the covenants recorded in the land records.
If you are buying or selling real estate, have someone attempting to place a lien on your property, have a landlord/tenant dispute, or have questions regarding an HOA powers or actions, contact our office to schedule a consultation with a real estate law attorney to make sure your property rights are being protected. Our offices are conveniently located in Frisco, TX to Plano, Carrollton, The Colony, Little Elm, McKinney, Oak Point, Cross Roads, Prosper, Gunter, and Celina.