St. Mary's Law Journal


Changes must be made to current Texas laws to strike a proper balance between the homeowners’ rights and the homeowners association’s (HOA) rights. The Texas Supreme Court’s decision in Inwood North Homeowners’ Ass’n v. Harris allows liens to attach to what would otherwise be considered homestead-protected property. Although the promise in Inwood was set forth in writing, touched and concerned the land, was intended to run with the land, and was properly recorded, that did not create a contractual lien. The court, however, incorrectly combined the concepts of liens and covenants. Furthermore, the court seemed to ignore the important and long-venerated public policy of protecting the family home by instead protecting the financial interests of the HOA. The court failed to properly weigh all the case law supporting the rule of law that an individual may not contract away homestead protections. Instead, the court incorporated the idea of pre-existing rights along with the constitutional right of freedom to contract. It is understandable that the HOA must be able to collect assessments in a timely manner to adequately maintain the amenities in the neighborhood and to provide services to the residents. At the same time, the homeowners are entitled to have their homestead interests protected by the laws of the state. The current status of laws regulating mandatory owners’ associations is deficient, and the ability to foreclose on homestead property for nonpayment of HOA dues is unconstitutional. Much needs to be done to make the homebuyer more informed going into the process and to ensure the homeowner receives due process, while at the same time allowing appropriate remedies to the HOA.


St. Mary's University School of Law