TAA’s top legislative issues

Learn more about TAA’s top legislative issues here.

  • Evictions are a difficult and painful process for everyone involved. Our members don’t take that step lightly and it is a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.
  • From the outset of the pandemic, TAA members have worked with residents who have had trouble paying their rent by offering payment plans, waiving fees, and providing other assistance to help keep people in their homes.
  • When rent isn’t paid on time, it means rental property owners can’t meet their obligations like paying their employees, lenders and taxes. There can also be a devastating ripple effect. Other residents at the property may be impacted if the owner is forced to cut back on maintenance, improvement projects or amenities. Tax dollars that local governments rely on to fund education, public safety and other vital community services could be at risk.
  • Small investors own about half of all rental properties. When rent is not paid, the nest eggs these individuals rely on for income and retirement are at risk.
  • There are few options available to rental property owners when residents don’t pay their rent. Evictions are the only reliable method for owners to enforce their contracts with residents.
  • State laws and court rules map out a fair and predictable process for all parties facing eviction. They provide a consistent set of statewide standards for both renters and rental property owners. This process can only begin after there has been a breach of the contract such as a failure to pay rent, and every renter who faces an eviction lawsuit has the opportunity to have their case heard before a Justice of the Peace.
  • Eviction moratoria like we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic won’t solve underlying problems for renters—they just delay action while unpaid rent racks up and will eventually be due.
  • To prevent evictions during the current pandemic, the real focus should be on creating and adequately funding rental assistance programs that can help renters remain in their homes, while ensuring that rental property owners can meet their own financial obligations.
  • Many local communities and the state of Texas have rental assistance programs, but additional assistance is needed by many renters who have been impacted by the pandemic. While the best option is providing help before the eviction process has begun, the state has created an innovative Eviction Diversion Program that may help in some cases where eviction lawsuits have been filed.
  • The rental housing industry’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been about much more than numbers—it’s been about taking care of our residents, our employees and our communities, too.
  • Rental housing owners in Texas have offered tens of millions of dollars in rental assistance, waived fees and offered other concessions to the state’s renters who’ve been impacted by COVID-19. From the start, the Texas Apartment Association has encouraged members to waive late fees, offer payment plans and employ other strategies to help renters during this crisis.
  • Local associations in San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, El Paso and Houston have worked with local governments and charitable organizations to craft rental assistance programs. The Texas Apartment Association joined the National Apartment Association in calling on members to urge Congress to fund more rental assistance.
  • TAA has provided about 20 free webinars with more than 17,000 participants, to educate members on practices to limit spread of the virus, developments related to COVID-19, the state and federal governments’ responses, and other key information.
  • TAA members have sponsored a variety of programs and activities for residents, including food donations/drop-offs, virtual entertainment, wellness checks and more.
  • TAA volunteers have participated in more than 265 media interviews to communicate the industry’s positions to the public.
  • TAA has revised forms and developed new forms for our members to use during the pandemic, including revising our sample Eviction Petition more than once to reflect new requirements set by the Texas Supreme Court as part of its COVID response.
  • Texas law sets the foundation for governing the landlord/tenant relationship and addresses key issues such as fair housing, habitability and safety. These laws include remedies for renters and property owners when individuals don’t follow the law.
  • Throughout its history, the Texas Apartment Association has worked to create balanced laws that protect renters while ensuring responsible property owners are not burdened by costly or unnecessary regulations.
  • TAA has helped lead the way in nationally recognized efforts to pass laws on a wide range of issues, including lease termination rights for victims of sexual assault and family violence, and establishing requirements for security devices, smoke detectors and pool enclosures.
  • We have also consistently worked to support efforts to give local governments necessary tools to crack down on nuisance properties and ensure properties are properly maintained.
  • TAA is committed to Fair Housing. We supported passage of the Texas Fair Housing Act and work to educate rental property owners and managers about their responsibility under both state and federal law.
  • TAA’s lease and forms are considered the gold standard in the rental housing industry and served as the model for the National Apartment Association Lease, which is used throughout the country. We have worked with experts to help ensure our lease contract and other documents are written in plain, clear language.
  • TAA and our local and national affiliates offer education programs and professional designation programs that promote high professional standards and help members better understand their legal obligations as property managers.

Texas Apartment Association members are well aware that property taxes finance schools, emergency services and other local needs. We want to work with policymakers to help them understand that a significant portion of every rent payment—around 20-to-25 percent in most Texas communities—is in fact spent on property taxes. This means that property taxes have a huge impact on housing affordability in the state.

  • Cities have the authority to establish fees for permits, licenses and services. Many increase existing fees, or impose new fees, through the city’s budgeting process, at times with little advance notice to affected parties.
  • Fees can add significant costs to rental properties—depending on the fee, to the cost of developing these properties in the first place, to the cost of operating the property, or both.
  • With housing affordability already an issue in Texas and the nation, the Texas Apartment Association has supported efforts to increase the transparency of local governments seeking to add or increase city fees, so that all affected parties can be better informed during the process before final decisions are made.
  • Housing affordability is an issue in many parts of the country—including Texas. We need to do everything possible not to add to the cost of operating rental housing.
  • According to a March 2019 National Low-Income Housing Coalition Report, there are only 29 available housing units for every 100 extremely low-income households (earning 30 percent or less of the area median income) in the state of Texas.
  • Eighty-nine percent of extremely low-income households have a cost burden of paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing, while 74 percent pay more than half of their income on housing.
  • To meet growing rental demand, Texas needs to build 54,000 new apartment homes each year. However, due to increasing tax burdens, construction costs, as well as local and federal regulations, building new affordable housing faces many barriers that will need to be addressed once the COVID-19 crisis has been contained.
  • In Texas, TAA’s 11,000+ members, the majority of whom are privately held businesses, supply 2.3 million rental homes for Texas renters and directly employ 75,000 Texans.
  • The Texas Apartment Association is ready to work together with policymakers and interested stakeholders to create solutions that will help our residents and keep a viable housing supply in Texas.
  • Meaningful federal and state policy could help correct problems created by well-intentioned but mostly conflicting policies emerging in local jurisdictions across the state of Texas.
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