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Memorial Day was the last day of the 85th Legislative session. Several bills were filed this session relating to the agency and its license holders but not all of those bills made it through the process.  Following is a summary of bills that passed both houses of the Legislature and have direct effect on license holders.

 

Brokers and Sales Agents

SB 2212 (Hancock) 

This bill amends Chapter 1101 of the Occupations Code to codify the recently adopted amendments to 22 TAC 535.5 and new rule 22 TAC 535.6 regarding equitable interests in real property. In the same manner as the rule, this statutory change clarifies that a person selling or offering to sell an option or assigning an interest in a contract to purchase real property is engaged in brokerage if they do not accurately disclose to potential buyers the nature of the interest offered. This bill also amends the Property Code to require the seller of an equitable interest, when selling or offering to sell an option or assigning an interest in a contract to purchase real property, to disclose the same to any potential buyer.

The bill makes changes to regulations governing advertising for brokers or sales agents, eliminating the current requirement that the advertiser be identified as a broker or agent in all advertising.  However, it clarifies that an advertisement is misleading if it fails to include the name of the broker or implies that a sales agent is responsible for the operation of the brokerage. The bill also restricts any requirement for use of the term broker, agent, a reference to the Commission, or a license number in advertisements.

This bill has an effective date of September 1, 2017. It is awaiting final action by the Governor. 

HB 890 (Geren)

This bill amends the Seller’s Disclosure to add a general notice that properties located near a military installation and may be affected by high noise or installation compatible use zones or other operations. The notice also directs the buyer to a local area study to provide more information.

This bill was signed by the Governor and takes effect on September 1, 2017.

Residential Service Companies (Home Warranties) 

HB 2279 (Goldman)

This bill amends Chapter 1303 of the Occupations Code which governs the regulation of RSCs (aka home warranty companies). The bill amends the definition of a residential service contact to reflect current industry practices (such as partial indemnification under certain circumstances) and to provide additional clarity regarding the scope of TREC’s regulatory authority over these contracts.  The bill acknowledges the distinction between those RSCs which insure ALL of their outstanding risk through a third party insurance company and those that maintain a funded reserve. The bill simplifies certain regulatory requirements for fully insured RSCs and streamlines the contract and rate filing requirements for RSCs that are already licensed in Texas. The bill also enhances confidentiality provisions currently in statute and increases certain consumer protections.

This bill has an effective date of January 1, 2018. It is awaiting final action by the Governor. 

Appraisal Managment Companies (AMCs) 

SB 1516 (Hancock)

This is the AMC housekeeping bill. This bill amends Chapter 1104 of the Occupations Code to address recent changes in federal law regarding the regulation of AMCs, to provide consistency in terminology, and repeal certain outdated provisions. The bill also makes conforming changes to align Chapter 1104 with amendments made last session to Chapter 1103 of the Occupations Code. 

This bill was signed by the Governor and takes effect on September 1, 2017.