Tips & Resources

Many Bills Already Filed for 86th Texas Legislative Session

Texas Legislature legislative sessionThe 86th Texas Legislative Session officially begins on January 8, 2019. Hundreds of bills have already been filed.

Here are links to the bills filed and a few, in a particular, that may be interesting to follow:

Texas Senate Bills

  • Establishment of procedure whereby certain persons can register to vote over the internet (SB 178)
  • Relating to the expression of breast milk in the Capitol and other public buildings (SB 45)
  • Increasing criminal penalties for the offense of making a firearm accessible to a child (SB 204)

Texas House Bills

  • Establishment of digital driver’s licenses and personal identification (HB 181)
  • Imposition of a civil fine for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana (HB 63)
  • Provision of temporary weapon storage when entering certain public buildings (HB 143)

And if it’s not enough to make you scream, whether to abolish daylight saving time remains a popular issue (SB 190; HB 49).

Please note that these are not laws. These are proposed laws. The Texas Legislature allows you to track bills through the legislative process on their website.

Our Tips & Resources posts are intended to provide general educational information. Like all other material on this blog, it is not a substitute for legal advice.

Contracts for Deed—Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid

texas contract for deed legal aidWhat is a contract for deed? Must you file it in the property records? Generally, what are a buyer’s rights under that instrument? When may the seller cancel the contract for deed?

These and other questions are answered by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc., and published by TexasLawHelp.org, here.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid is a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income residents in 68 southwest Texas counties. TRLA is the third largest legal services provider in the nation and the largest in the state of Texas. Donation information may be found here.

Our Tips & Resources posts are intended to provide general educational information. Like all other material on this blog, it is not a substitute for legal advice.

Basic Information About Residential Brokerage Services

texas residential broker realtor license I’m often asked questions about things that brokers/realtors did or did not do in connection with home sales.

What are the most elementary types of real estate licenses in residential transactions?

What minimum duties do these license holders owe by law?

Can a broker/sales agent represent just a seller? just a buyer? both? What duties does the license holder owe in each of these circumstances?

I could probably fill a small book with complete answers to these questions. However, the Texas Real Estate Commission answers them in a very basic manner in a one-page reference sheet right here.

Our Tips & Resources posts are intended to provide general educational information. Like all other material on this blog, it is not a substitute for legal advice.

Texas General Contractors Legally Operate Without Licenses

texas license licensure general contractorsTexas requires licenses for auctioneers, used auto-part recyclers, massage therapists, cat breeders, and others.

General contractors need no license.

Some argue this reduces administrative burdens and thereby keeps down what would otherwise be more excessive costs, which would be passed on to consumers. Others argue this exposes consumers to risky contractors and unduly places the burden of enforcement on private litigants. Additional arguments on both sides abound.

Our Tips & Resources posts are intended to provide general educational information. Like all other material on this blog, it is not a substitute for legal advice.

The Family Violence Victim’s Right to Break a Lease

texas landlord tenant family violence residential leaseTexas Property Code section 92.016 allows a family violence victim to break a residential lease without incurring liability, under prescribed circumstances.

The victim may break the lease regardless of whether the offender occupies the leased premises with the victim.

The victim’s right to terminate the lease, vacate the dwelling, and avoid liability cannot be waived.

Look here for a short Q&A on the subject by The Texas Legal Services Center & Texas Partnership for Legal Access.

Our Tips & Resources posts are intended to provide general educational information. Like all other material on this blog, it is not a substitute for legal advice.

 

Can I Fire my Contractor?

I often get calls from folks who are unhappy with contractors they’ve hired, wanting to know if they can terminate the relationship before the project’s completion.texas construction terminate fire contractor

Termination is typically allowed under any one of three circumstances.

First, does the contract specify the events under which termination may take place? If so, have those events occurred?

Second, did the contractor materially breach the contract and, if so, did that breach occur before any material breach by the owner (the party that contracted with the contractor)?

Third, will the contractor agree to terminate the contract early?

There are repercussions associated with terminating a contractor prematurely. A project owner is wise to take stock of the situation from an objective standpoint, evaluate the risks and benefits of each available option and their attendant consequences, and then move forward decidedly.

Our Tips & Resources posts are intended to provide general educational information. Like all other material on this blog, it is not a substitute for legal advice.

TREC’s Basic Consumer Guide for Buyers/Sellers of Texas Real Estate

texas real estate commission guideThe Texas Real Estate Commission makes available a rudimentary guide for consumers interested in buying or selling real estate.

It includes information on dealing with qualified real estate professionals, a consumer checklist, material about choosing a broker or salesperson, dispute resolution information, and contains references to additional resources.

The guide can be found here.

Our Tips & Resources posts are intended to provide general educational information. Like all other material on this blog, it is not a substitute for legal advice.