Month: June 2014

Property Owners’ Associations in Three Sentences

property owner association condominium homeowner association subdivisionA property owners’ association is an organization of people who own real estate that is the subject of a dedicatory instrument through which the owners manage or regulate the property. POAs include residential subdivisions, planned unit developments, condominium and townhouse regimes, and similar planned developments. Like other aspects of American law, POAs have English roots.

In our “Law 101″ posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

In Trouble for Posting “No Trespass” Sign?

trespass beach maritime water lawIn a previous post we talked about civil trespass. One must be notified that he or she isn’t supposed to enter/remain on property before a legal trespass may occur. Posting signs is one way to accomplish this.

But what if a person posts a “no trespassing” sign on property owned by another? This scenario raises a lot of questions. And it may seem far-fetched at first glance. After all, why would somebody want to restrict access to someone else’s property?

Texas favors the free and unrestricted right of ingress and egress to and from state-owned beaches. No person may display on any public beach any sign, marker, or warning, or communicate that the public beach is private property or that the public doesn’t have the right of access to the public beach.

Still, if my beach towel is spread out, please refrain from lying on it without asking first. You’ve been notified.

In our Just for Fun posts, we underscore certain construction and real estate topics just for the fun of it.

Eminent Domain & Condemnation in Three Sentences

Eminent domain is the power of a governmental entity to take private property in exchange for just compensation. Condemnation is the legal process by which the governmental entity exercises its eminent domain power. Inverse condemnation is a legal process instituted by a private party to challenge a governmental taking or the amount of compensation paid or proposed to be paid.

In our “Law 101″ posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

The Brothel Exception

I spent some time working as a prosecutor at the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. It was one of my favorite experiences. Part of the job required prosecuting people accused of public indecency. That included prostitution, promotion of prostitution, and a number of other lascivious activities classified as obscene.Texas Lease Agreements Landlord Tenant

Common sense dictates that leases may be terminated for reasons stated in the lease agreement. Sometimes the law provides additional reasons leases may be terminated. Sometimes landlords and tenants can agree in the lease contract to waive certain legal rights otherwise afforded to each of them by default.

In Texas, a landlord may terminate a lease executed/renewed after June 15, 1981 if the tenant or occupant uses the property for an activity for which the tenant, occupant, or their employee or agent is convicted of a public indecency crime and the convicted person has exhausted/abandoned all avenues of direct appeal from the conviction.

This law applies to both commercial and residential leases. And it can’t be waived by agreement. Go figure.

In our Just for Fun posts, we underscore certain construction and real estate topics just for the fun of it.

Can a Building Inspector Arrest You?

In previous posts we defined building permits and talked about when they are necessary.

failure to get building permitWhat happens if you build or renovate without securing a required permit? The answer varies because the law that applies to the project varies. But, generally speaking, a building official could issue a stop order and the owner and/or contractor could be subjected to criminal and civil actions. Monetary penalties often accrue on a “per day” basis. So they may become substantial very quickly, especially in relation to what it would have cost to get the permit in the first place. What’s more, there is also the potential that the property will have diminished market value. Raise your hand if you’d like to buy property that you knew wasn’t inspected as required.

Can a building inspector arrest someone who does not obtain a permit? A building official can issue and seek legal orders that, if not complied with, may ultimately result in an arrest by the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Remember: the job of building officials and inspectors is to help ensure that construction projects are completed according to certain safety standards. As Ben Franklin said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Get the permit when required.

In our “Law 101″ posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.