Texas Community Reinvestment Update 2007
Legislation Passed by the 79th Legislature in 2005
A number of Texas legislative changes occurred since the 2005 update. To assist Texas homebuyers, the 2005 Legislature passed:
- House Bill 467, which expands the Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP) to supply water and sewer to low income communities of the state. The bill will make no-interest loans and grants available from the state for impoverished areas without water and sewer services.
- House Bill 525 to help prevent the displacement of working and retired, lower income individuals and families from East Austin. The bill creates opportunities for low- and moderate-income families to own homes and authorizes the city to create a development district known as the Homestead Preservation District through land trusts, land banks and tax increment financing dedicated to city-certified community housing development organizations.
- House Bill 1099, which transferred farm worker housing inspection authority to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) from the Texas Department of Health (TDH).
- House Bill 1582, which directed TDHCA and the Texas Savings and Loan Department to create a commission of experts to report to the Texas Legislature by September 1, 2006 on mortgage foreclosure rates in Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, El Paso, Harris and Travis counties. Dr. Elizabeth Mueller of the Texas Low Income Housing Information System board led the research and presented the study's findings. The study reported on the relationship of mortgage terms to the foreclosure rate, socioeconomic and geographic influences on foreclosures, secondary market securitization of mortgages and consumer education efforts to prevent foreclosures. The study also recommended how to reduce foreclosures across Texas. A summary of the commission's results are found in Appendix D.
- House Bill 1823 established new protections for contract-for-deed and rent-to-own buyers. The bill gives buyers a legal right to convert contracts-for-deed into traditional mortgages and ends the abuses of excessive late fees and immediate termination of the "option to buy" in rent-to-own programs.
- House Bill 2491 amendments were passed to make the elderly homestead exemption occur automatically at age 65.
- Senate Bill 356, which created a "land bank" program for Houston, Texas to, allow Houston to sell tax-foreclosed and delinquent property to organizations for affordable housing development. There is no available funding for the program. The land banking aspect of the bill ends requirements for properties to be auctioned in public to collect back taxes. The bill allows properties to be sold below market price by the City of Houston and sold to organizations that will build affordable housing.
- Senate Bill 833 requires the city of Austin, Texas, to set aside 25 percent of tax increment financing zones' (TIFs) money to fund low-income housing until 10 percent of a neighborhood's total housing stock is affordable for families that earn below $35,550 per year. The legislation requires affordable housing units to be included in planned developments along the new Capital Metro light rail system.
- Senate Bill 1186 makes it easier for active U.S. service members and domestic violence victims to terminate their apartment leases.