Texas Property Code 211 could significantly change the Deed Restriction Modification Procedure (DRMP) for Holiday Lake Estates residents with the passing of SB1852 in 2015. This is when the county areas surrounding Lake Livingston were included in the dictates set forth in 211.004 . Deed Restriction Modification Procedures (DRMP) are the way that your HOA Board, and voting resident owners, can make changes to your Deed Restrictions about things such as dues, building requirements, fines, parking, etc..
Our current HLECC Deed Restrictions, filed December 4,1961, Volume 192, Page 293, at the Polk County Clerk’s office, give HLECC a method of changing our Deed Restrictions with a majority vote of residents. The restrictions can be changed or completely eliminated by enforcing the rule set down in the first paragraph. It states that they will be in place for a period of 20 years, which would take us to 1981. After that time, they will be automatically extended for a period of 10 years (1991, 2001, 2011, 2021, etc) UNLESS a majority of lot owners choose to change or revoke them prior to the given 10 year time limits. Obviously, a vote of ALL current lot owners would need to be taken and a MAJORITY OF ALL vote would be required to do this.
The original purpose of these 211 changes was to give HOA Boards a method of changing their Deed Restrictions by using a procedure to change these types of majority vote requirements. To use HLE as an example, back in 2016, I put together this information about HLE lot owners – “There are 500+ unique deeded property owners in HLE. Of them, 300+ do not live in the subdivision or even in Goodrich.” Based on our current Restrictions, we would need a majority of those 500+ owners. We know, from our own elections, that many lot owners in HLE are not ‘active’ in elections. Could we get a majority of lot owners to vote to modify our Deed Restrictions? Back in 1963, a Deed Restriction change was passed for HLE, but most likely most of the HLE lots were still owned by CJ Gerlach, as the subdivision developer.
Per 211.004, the changes in 211 can be used for one purpose, only – to adopt a procedure that would allow HOA Boards to change or modify Deed Restrictions without this majority or unanimous vote. The method that must be used is:
- First, the Board must sit down and draft up the Deed Restriction Modification Procedure (DRMP). Then, a vote of the entire governing body (Board) must be taken. If 2/3 of the Board members agree to the procedure, the next step can begin.
- Next, the voting/notification procedure can begin. A notification must be mailed out to all property owners. This notification must be mailed out 30 days prior to the voting deadline and it must include the exact wording of the DRMP and the date/time in which ballots must be received. Oddly enough, the way 211 is written, the notification and the ballot could potentially be mailed out separately. All costs for these mailings will be paid by the HOA.
- Ballots must be sent out to each property owner. IMHO, this should be done along with DRMP notification, to not extend time or increase costs. This ballot must be secret and may not be counted unless it is placed inside an unmarked envelope that is placed inside another envelope that bears the signature and printed name of the property owner casting the enclosed ballot.
- The property owner ballots must now be returned, within the deadline. A property owner can only submit one ballot, regardless of how many lots they own. If multiple persons own that given property, only one vote can be cast. Lien holders cannot submit a vote.
- When ballots are received, they must go to a Board selected canvassing committee Chairperson & committee members to be counted and certified. A 2/3 ‘in favor of’ vote must be received to ‘pass’ the DRMP. Hopefully, the Board will report all results to the residents.
- If the DRMP is passed, the Deed Restriction document must be modified, with the exact wording of the DRMP submitted for a vote, and filed at the County Clerk’s office. Once that DRMP has been changed, by a vote of lot owners, 211 will no longer be able to be used, for this purpose.
- If the DRMP is NOT passed, the HOA Board may not submit the same amendment procedure to a vote under this section on or before the first anniversary of the date the previous votes on the procedure were certified.
To read the entire 211.004 text, click on this –> Link
NOTE: Volume 192, Page 292 – wording: “but in no event shall such charge be raised, unless raised by a majority vote of lot owners.” will need to be changed also.