Changes to the Law Regarding Religious Displays- 2021 Legislative Session Analysis

Substantial changes were made to Section 202.018 of the Texas Property Code, which governs the display of religious items by an owner or resident within a property owners’ association.  These changes are applicable to owners and residents within both residential subdivisions and condominium associations and take effect on September 1, 2021.    Previously, owners and residents could be restricted to the display of religious items to their door or door frame of their residence, and religious items could be limited to 25 square inches in size.  These changes dispense with both the size limitation as well as the limitation on location.[1]  Now, a resident or owner may display a religious item, motivated by their sincere religious belief, in any location on the resident’s or owner’s property.  Further, such religious items may be of any size.


The limitations that property owners’ associations may expressly place upon the display of religious items has changed as well.  The list of items a property owners’ association may prohibit now includes religious items that: threaten public health or safety; violate a law other than a law prohibiting the display of religious speech, if they contain language, graphics, or any display that is patently offensive to passersby for reasons other than their religious content, if they are installed on a property (A) owned or maintained by the property owners’ association or (B) owned in common by members of the property owners’ association; violate any applicable building line, right-of-way, setback, or easement; or are attached to any traffic control devices, street lamps, fire hydrants, or utility signs, poles, or fixtures.[2]

Should an owner or resident violate any of the above, and the property owners’ association maintain a provision in a restrictive covenant that does not allow the owner to place the religious item in such a manner, then the religious item may no longer be removed by the association.[3]  The association is now required to go through normal procedures set forth under Section 209.006 of the Texas Property Code seeking removal of the religious item.  Furthermore, recent changes to the law remove the prohibition against a property owner or resident making architectural changes to an entry door or door frame that is not authorized by the restrictive covenants.[4]

[1] Texas Property Code § 202.018(b)(5) & (b)(6)

[2] Texas Property Code § 202.018(b)

[3] Texas Property Code § 202.018(c)- Redacted by Section 22 of SB 1588

[4] Texas Property Code § 202.018(d)- Redacted by Section 22 of SB 1588

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