Creation of an Architectural Review Authority- 2021 Legislative Session Analysis

Section 209.00505 of the Texas Property Code was created and governs the Architectural Review Authority for a residential subdivision or townhome. Most associations currently refer to these authorities as “Architectural Review Committees” or “Architectural Control Committees.”  The Texas Legislature provides a common name for these in calling them “Architectural Review Authorities” (hereinafter “ARAs”).  The law specifically defines Architectural Review Authority as “the governing authority for the review or approval of improvements within a subdivision.”[1]


The changes related to Architectural Review Authorities are not applicable to condominium associations.  The changes also do not apply if a property owners association is less than 39 lots and do not apply during the developmental period or any period during which the declarant appoints a majority of the members of the ARA or has the right to veto or modify a decision of the ARA.[2] The changes related to Architectural Review Authorities take effect on September 1, 2021.


Next, the law tells us who may not serve on the ARA.  A member of the ARA may not be a current board member, a board member’s spouse, or a person residing in a board member’s household.[3]  We anticipate that this provision will cause a number of difficulties for our clients.  While this law does not go into effect until September 1, 2021, we highly recommend you ensure that all members of your ARA are comprised of members who are not board members, their spouses, or members of their households.  This may be a difficult undertaking, so we recommend you begin the search for members who are qualified and willing to serve on the ARA as soon as possible.


Further, the law provides that all denials of architectural changes be sent to owners via certified mail, hand delivery, or electronic mail.  Denial notices must include the basis for the denial, changes the owner may make, if any, as a condition for approval, and the right of the owner to appeal the denial to the board within 30 days of the mailing or delivery of the notice.[4]  The law does not include a time period in which this denial must be sent to the owner.


Lastly, Section 209.00505 provides for hearing procedures before the board for ARA denials and timelines associated with these procedures.  These procedures and timelines are very similar to those found under Section 209.007 of the Texas Property Code as related to hearings for fines.  Every owner’s request for a hearing before the board as related to the denial of the owner’s request for an architectural change must be granted.  Both the owner and the association may be represented by designated representatives at the hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to discuss the request, verify facts, and resolve the denial of the owner’s application or request for the construction of improvements, and the changes, if any, requested by the ARA in the notice provided to the owner under TPC 209.00505(d).  The hearing must be held within 30 days of the owner’s request.  The association must tell the owner of the date, time, and place of the hearing at least 10 days prior to the hearing; however, either the board or the owner may request a 10-day postponement.  Upon agreement, the parties may mutually decide upon later postponement. Either the owner or the association may record the meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting, the board may affirm, modify, or reverse, in whole or in part, any decision of the ARA based on the decision’s consistency with the subdivision’s declaration.[5]


[1] Texas Property Code § 209.00505(a)

[2] Texas Property Code § 209.00505(b)

[3] Texas Property Code § 209.00505c)

[4] Texas Property Code § 209.00505(d)

[5] Texas Property Code § 209.00505(e),(f),(g),(h),(i)

Richardson, TexasDallas, Texas