The 2021 Texas Legislative Session wrapped up May 31, with more bills filed than expected, fewer passed than usual, and no damage done to the rental housing industry.
- More than 6,800 bills were filed during the 2021 Texas Legislative Session, but fewer than 900 are going to the governor’s desk—about 600 less than during the 2019 session.
- Legislators approved a flood disclosure bill supported by the Texas Apartment Association, but no other landlord/tenant legislation that will significantly impact operations.
- TAA successfully lobbied against a number of bills that would have negatively impacted rental housing operators.
- Reserve your spot for TAA’s free June 10 “Recapping the 2021 Legislative Session” webinar for a more comprehensive look at the recent session, business-related legislation and potential future threats emerging.
May 31, 2021 marked Sine Die for the Texas Legislature, meaning the House and Senate adjourned “without day” and their work for the 87th Legislative Session was over. We are now in the veto period, during which Gov. Greg Abbott has until June 20 to either sign legislation into effect, veto it to prevent it from becoming law, or leave it unsigned to go into effect without his formal signature.
Approximately 6,800 bills were filed this legislative session. This was a much higher number than most anticipated we’d see, given that at the beginning of session the main focus was expected to be on the pandemic and the state budget. (The state budget is the only piece of legislation legislators are required to pass during their 140 days in Austin.)
However, when Winter Storm Uri hit Texas, a huge shift in focus went to the state’s electric grid and storm preparedness. After that, it seemed all bets were off when it came to topics for discussion.
Of the 6,800 bills filed, only 875 made their way through the entire process and onto the governor’s desk for approval or veto. As a comparison, during the 2019 legislative session, about 7,200 bills were filed and almost 1,500 of those were sent to the governor. 2021 saw about a 50 percent drop in passed bills, essentially. Overall, our industry did not see any legislation pass that will have any major adverse effects on operations.
A couple of pieces of relevant legislation to discuss:
- Approved, sent to governor: HB 531 by Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston), sponsored by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), deals with flood disclosure requirements when a residential lease is signed. TAA supported this legislation throughout the process and worked diligently with legislative staff on the language. The bill basically requires that at the time a lease contract is executed, the property owner/manager must provide a written notice to the potential resident stating any knowledge of the property being in a 100-year floodplain or having flooded within the previous five years. The bill is currently in the governor’s office awaiting signature or veto.
- Passed in House, died in Senate: HB 1647 by Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston), which would have dramatically limited access to eviction records relating to the COVID-19 pandemic for a certain time period and expungement of all eviction records after another certain time period. This bill passed the House (TAA opposed it arduously throughout that process) but died in the Senate when it was not referred to a committee for further consideration.
- Passed in Senate, died in House: SB 14 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), which would have created a statewide regulatory framework for employment practices in Texas, narrowly missed the deadline for final passage into law. In a hard-fought battle for a second session, Sen. Creighton strove to prevent the myriad local ordinances that have been popping up as of late regarding practices like employee scheduling, paid sick leave, etc. SB 14 was on the calendar for the final day the House could bring it up on the floor for discussion, but was caught in some political crossfire amongst House members on another piece of legislation and failed to be brought up before the midnight deadline.
These are just a few highlights from the last six months. Plan to join us for a free webinar on June 10 for a more in-depth look at the 87th Legislative Session.
Recapping the 2021 Legislative Session
June 10, 2021
2-3 p.m. Central
Presenters: TAA Vice President of Government Affairs David Mintz, CAE and Director of Government Affairs Kyle Jackson