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New flood disclosure law effective January 1

Synopsis

All residential leases entered into or renewed on or after January 1 must include certain flood disclosure information under a new Texas law.


Key takeaways

  • A new Texas law requires all new residential leases entered into or renewed on or after January 1, 2022 to contain certain flood disclosure information.
  • Effective January 1, a notice that complies with the law will automatically print as part of the TAA Click & Lease program. Members using printed forms must also give this notice.
  • The disclosure must be made at or prior to the time a lease is executed. The disclosure must also be in writing and in a separate document from the lease agreement.
  • A sample notice will be available in the new TAA REBOOK and REDBOOK Online, and through the TAA Click & Lease program. TAA will also publish this notice next month in Viewpoints.

Under a new Texas law, all new residential leases entered into or renewed on or after January 1, 2022 must contain certain flood disclosure information. The disclosure must be in a document that is separate from the lease. Effective January 1, a notice that complies with the law will automatically be generated as part of the TAA Click & Lease process. Members using printed forms must also give this notice.

What needs to be disclosed under the new law?

  • Whether the owner is aware of the dwelling being in a 100-year FEMA-designated floodplain; and
  • If the owner knows that flooding has damaged any portion of the dwelling at least once during the five-year period immediately preceding the lease’s effective date, that must also be disclosed.

How is flooding defined?
Flooding is defined as “partial or complete inundation of a dwelling” caused by: (a) overflow of inland or tidal waters; (b) accumulation or runoff or surface waters from any established water source such as a river, stream or drainage ditch; or (c) excessive rainfall.

Water intrusions caused by situations such as broken pipes, rainfall seeping into a window during a storm and a pond that accumulates due to construction activity are not considered flooding under the definition.

Is specific language required in the disclosure?
The language in the disclosure must be substantially equivalent to language required by the legislation, meaning it needs to be similar and have the same intent but does not have to be the exact language used in the law. TAA’s new notice complies with the requirement. This sample notice will be available in the new TAA REBOOK and REDBOOK Online, and through the TAA Click & Lease program. TAA will also publish this notice next month in Viewpoints.

The language from the law is as follows:

“(Landlord) ( ) is or ( ) is not aware that the dwelling you are renting is located in a 100-year floodplain. If neither box is checked, you should assume the dwelling is in a 100-year floodplain. Even if the dwelling is not in a 100-year floodplain the dwelling may still be susceptible to flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maintains a flood map on its Internet website that is searchable by address, at no cost, to determine if a dwelling is located in a flood hazard area. Most tenant insurance policies do not cover damages or loss incurred in a flood. You should seek insurance coverage that would cover losses caused by a flood.”

“(Landlord) ( ) is or ( ) is not aware that the dwelling you are renting has flooded at least once within the last five years.”

When does the disclosure need to be given?
Either at or prior to the time the lease is executed by the prospective resident.

Can the disclosure be given orally?
No, the disclosure must be in writing.

Can the disclosure be part of the lease?
No, the disclosure must be made in a separate written document.

Does a property have to comply with the new law even if it is not located in the 100-year flood plain or an area that has flooded in the past five years?
Yes, the law applies to all residential leases in Texas entered into or renewed on or after January 1, 2022. It is based on a similar disclosure law for home sales.

What is the penalty for non-compliance?
If an owner fails to comply with the law and if a resident’s personal property is substantially lost or damaged due to flooding, the resident may terminate the lease by giving a written notice of termination not more than 30 days after the date the loss or damage occurred. Substantial loss or damage means that the cost to repair or replace the personal property is at least 50 percent of the property’s market value on the date the flooding occurred.

In addition, the owner must refund all rent or other amounts paid in advance under the lease covering any period after the effective date of the lease termination.

Is the resident still responsible for delinquent rent or other sums owed?
Yes, the law does not affect the resident’s responsibility for delinquent, unpaid rent or other sums owed before the lease was terminated.

How can I get a copy of the new law?
The new law will be part of the REDBOOK and REDBOOK Online. You can also get a copy of the law (HB 531, 87th r.s.) at 87(R) HB 531 – Enrolled version – Bill Text (texas.gov)


Texas Apartment Association REDBOOK

The REDBOOK is the essential source for owning and operating rental property in Texas.  The REDBOOK is updated every other year - the 2020-2021 edition is available two ways - either online or hard copy. 

Purchase a REDBOOK

TAA Click & Lease users
If you use TAA Click & Lease powered by Blue Moon, simply login to your lease forms software application and then access the online REDBOOK.

TAA FORMS/REDBOOK ONLINE

Not a Click & Lease user?  No problem! AAA members can subscribe to the online REDBOOK for an annual fee.  E-mail Glenda Holmes at glenda@taa.org to purchase the online REDBOOK. 


Apartment Community Engagement (ACE) Voter Registration Program

The Office of the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar in conjunction with the League of Women Voters and the Austin Apartment Association has developed the Apartment Community Engagement (ACE) Program to better serve the unique voter registration needs of apartment community residents in Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties.  

When you become an ACE Program participant you will be better equipped to offer a wide range of voter registration activities.  You can choose to include postage-paid a Texas Voter Registration Card and informational pamphlets in your welcome and move-out packets, obtain digital voter registration and engagement PSAs for you to share with your residents on social media, newsletters or e-mail, host on-site voter registration drive, and other voter engagement activities. You decide which services to offer. Engage today!

MORE INFORMATION AND ENGAGE

City of Austin Project Connect

Project Connect is a comprehensive transit plan with a rail system that travels under downtown to improve on-time performance. It would also provide expanded bus service with an all-electric bus fleet.

A ballot measure for the Project Connect Initial Investment will be on the November 2020 ballot. It was a collaborative process between the Capital Metro board and the Austin City Council that resulted in the Initial Investment portion of Project Connect being put before voters this year.

PROJECT CONNECT 

Our Mobility Our Future – the group formed to opposed Project Connect.  

TransitNowATX – the group formed to support Project Connect. 


Austin Energy Multifamily Reqiurements and Rebates

Multifamily properties must conduct a specialized energy audit the year the property turns 10 years old, and you must make Energy Audit results available to potential and current residents. Unless your property is a High Energy Use property, ECAD does not require that you make energy efficiency improvements. However, if you want to make energy efficiency improvements based on your audit results, Austin Energy provides rebates and other incentives to make upgrades.

ECAD AND REBATE INFORMATION


NOT FINDING WHAT YOU NEED?
Let us know if you need assistance finding information from your city government. Contact Paul Cauduro or 512-323-0990