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Property Code

Title 3. Public Records.
Chapter 11. Provisions Generally Applicable to Public Records.

Sec. 11.008. Confidential Information in Real Property Records.

Chapter 13. Effects of Recording.
Sec. 13.001. Validity of Unrecorded Instrument.
Sec. 13.002. Effect of Recorded Instrument.

Title 4. Actions and Remedies
Chapter 21. Eminent Domain.

Sec. 21.041. Evidence.
Sec. 21.0421. Assessment of Damages.
Sec. 21.0421. Assessment of Damages: Groundwater Rights.

Chapter 29. Forced Sale of Owner's Interest in Certain Real Property as Reimbursement for Property Taxes Paid by Co-Owner on Owner's Behalf.
Sec. 29.001. Application of Chapter.
Sec. 29.002. Petition for Forced Sale.
Sec. 29.003. Hearing on Petition for Forced Sale.
Sec. 29.0035. Demand to Unknown Defendant.
Sec. 29.004. Court-Ordered Sale.

Title 5. Exempt Property and Liens.
Chapter 41. Interests in Land.

Subchapter A. Exemptions in Land Defined.

Sec. 41.001. Interests in Land Exempt from Seizure.
Sec. 41.002. Definition of Homestead.
Sec. 41.003. Temporary Renting of a Homestead.
Sec. 41.004. Abandonment of a Homestead.
Sec. 41.005. Voluntary Designation of a Homestead.
Sec. 41.0051. Disclaimer and Disclosure Required.
Sec. 41.006. Certain Sales of Homestead.
Sec. 41.007. Home Improvement Contract.
Sec. 41.008. Conflict with Federal Law.

Title 3.
Public Records
Chapter 11. Provisions Generally Applicable to Public Records.

Sec. 11.008. Confidential Information in Real Property Records.

(a) In this section, "instrument" means a deed or deed of trust.

(b) Notwithstanding Section 191.007(c), Local Government Code, an instrument transferring an interest in real property to or from an individual and disclosing that individual's social security number or driver's license number must include a notice appears on the first page of the instrument in 12-point boldfaced type or 12-point uppercase letters and reads substantially as follows:

NOTICE OF CONFIDENTIALITY RIGHTS: IF YOU ARE A NATURAL PERSON, YOU MAY REMOVE OR STRIKE ANY OR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION FROM THIS INSTRUMENT BEFORE IT IS FILED FOR RECORD IN THE PUBLIC RECORDS: YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE NUMBER.

(c) The validity of an instrument as between the parties to the instrument and the notice provided by the instrument are not affected by a party's failure to include the notice required under Subsection (b).

(d) The county clerk may not under any circumstance reject an instrument presented for recording solely because the instrument fails to comply with this section.

(e) The county clerk shall post a notice in the county clerk's office stating that instruments recorded in the real property or official public records or the equivalent of the real property or official public records of the county:

(1) are not required to contain a social security number or driver's license number; and

(2) are public records available for review by the public.

(f) All instruments described by this section are subject to inspection by the public.

(g) Unless this section is cited in a law enacted after September 1, 2003, this section is the exclusive law governing the confidentiality of personal information contained in the real property or official public records or the equivalent of the real property or official public records of a county.

(h) To the extent that federal law conflicts with this section, an instrument must contain the information required by and must be filed in a manner that complies with federal law.

Chapter 13. Effects of Recording.

Sec. 13.001. Validity of Unrecorded Instrument.

(a) A conveyance of real property or an interest in real property or a mortgage or deed of trust is void as to a creditor or to a subsequent purchaser for a valuable consideration without notice unless the instrument has been acknowledged, sworn to, or proved and filed for record as required by law.

(b) The unrecorded instrument is binding on a party to the instrument, on the party's heirs, and on a subsequent purchaser who does not pay a valuable consideration or who has notice of the instrument.

(c) This section does not apply to a financing statement, a security agreement filed as a financing statement, or a continuation statement filed for record under the Business & Commerce Code.

Sec. 13.002. Effect of Recorded Instrument.

An instrument that is properly recorded in the proper county is:

(1) notice to all persons of the existence of the instrument; and

(2) subject to inspection by the public.

Title 4.
Actions and Remedies

Chapter 21. Eminent Domain.
Subchapter C. Damages and Costs

Sec. 21.041. Evidence.

As the basis for assessing actual damages to a property owner from a condemnation, the special commissioners shall admit evidence on:

(1) the value of the property being condemned;

(2) the injury to the property owner;

(3) the benefit to the property owner's remaining property; and

(4) the use of the property for the purpose of the condemnation.

Sec. 21.042. Assessment of Damages.

(a) The special commissioners shall assess damages in a condemnation proceeding according to the evidence presented at the hearing.

(b) If an entire tract or parcel of real property is condemned, the damage to the property owner is the local market value of the property at the time of the special commissioners' hearing.

(c) If a portion of a tract or parcel of real property is condemned, the special commissioners shall determine the damage to the property owner after estimating the extent of the injury and benefit to the property owner, including the effect of the condemnation on the value of the property owner's remaining property.

(d) In estimating injury or benefit under Subsection (c), the special commissioners shall consider an injury or benefit that is peculiar to the property owner and that relates to the property owner's ownership, use, or enjoyment of the particular parcel of real property, but they may not consider an injury or benefit that the property owner experiences in common with the general community.

(e) If a portion of a tract or parcel of real property is condemned for the use, construction, operation, or maintenance of the state highway system or of a county toll project described by Chapter 284, Transportation Code, that is eligible for designation as part of the state highway system, or for the use, construction, development, operation, or maintenance of an improvement or project by a metropolitan rapid transit authority created before January 1, 1980, with a principal municipality having a population of less than 1.9 million and established under Chapter 451, Transportation Code, the special commissioners shall determine the damage to the property owner regardless of whether the property owner makes a claim for damages to the remaining property. In awarding compensation or assessing the damages, the special commissioners shall consider any special and direct benefits that arise from the highway improvement or the transit authority improvement or project that are peculiar to the property owner and that relate to the property owner's ownership, use, or enjoyment of the particular parcel of remaining real property.

(f) In awarding compensation or assessing damages for a condemnation by an institution of higher education, as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code, the special commissioners may not include in the compensation or damages any amount that compensates for, or is based on the present value of, an exemption from ad valorem taxation applicable to the property before its condemnation.

Sec. 21.0421. Assessment of Damages: Groundwater Rights.

(a) In a condemnation proceeding initiated by a political subdivision under this chapter, the special commissioners or court shall admit evidence relating to the market value of groundwater rights as property apart from the land in addition to the local market value of the real property if:

(1) the political subdivision proposes to condemn the fee title of real property; and

(2) the special commissioners or court finds, based on evidence submitted at the hearing, that the real property may be used by the political subdivision to develop or use the rights to groundwater for a public purpose.

(b) The evidence submitted under Subsection (a) on the market value of the groundwater rights as property apart from the land shall be based on generally accepted appraisal methods and techniques, including the methods of appraisal under Subchapter A, Chapter 23, Tax Code.

(c) If the special commissioners or court finds that the real property may be used by the political subdivision to develop or use the rights to groundwater for a public purpose, the special commissioners or court may assess damages to the property owner based on:

(1) the local market value of the real property, excluding the value of the groundwater in place, at the time of the hearing; and

(2) the market value of the groundwater rights as property apart from the land at the time of the hearing.

(d) In assessing damages based on the market value of groundwater rights under Subsection (c)(2), the special commissioners or court shall consider:

(1) the amount of groundwater the political subdivision can reasonably be expected to produce from the property on an annual basis;

(2) the number of years the political subdivision can reasonably be expected to produce groundwater from the property;

(3) the quality of the groundwater;

(4) the location of the real property in relation to the political subdivision for conveyance purposes;

(5) any potential environmental impact of producing groundwater from the real property;

(6) whether or not the real property is located within the boundaries of a political subdivision that can regulate the production of groundwater from the real property;

(7) the cost of alternative water supplies to the political subdivision; and

(8) any other reasonable factor that affects the market value of a groundwater right.

(e) This section does not:

(1) authorize groundwater rights appraised separately from the real property under this section to be appraised separately from real property for property tax appraisal purposes; or

(2) subject real property condemned for the purpose described by Subsection (a) to an additional tax as provided by Section 23.46 or 23.55, Tax Code.

Chapter 29. Forced Sale of Owner's Interest in Certain Real Property as Reimbursement for Property Taxes Paid by Co-Owner on Owner's Behalf.

Sec. 29.001. Application of Chapter.

This chapter applies only to real property that is not exempt from forced sale under the constitution or laws of this state and is:

(1) received by a person as a result of the death of another person:

(A) by inheritance;

(B) under a will;

(C) by a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship; or

(D) by any other survivorship agreement in which the interest of the decedent passes to a surviving beneficiary other than an agreement between spouses for community property with a right of survivorship; or

(2) owned in part by a nonprofit organization that is exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(a), Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and its subsequent amendments, by being listed as an exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3), Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and its subsequent amendments, that:

(A) has been incorporated in this state for at least one year;

(B) has a corporate purpose to develop affordable housing that is stated in the articles of incorporation or charter;

(C) has at least one-fourth of its board of directors residing in the county in which the property is located; and

(D) engages primarily in the building, repair, rental, or sale of housing for low-income individuals or families.

Sec. 29.002. Petition for Forced Sale.

(a) A person, including a nonprofit organization, that owns an undivided interest in real property to which this chapter applies may file in the district court in a county in which the property is located a petition for a court order to require another owner of an undivided interest in that property to sell the other owner's interest in the property to the person if:

(1) the person has paid the other owner's share of ad valorem taxes imposed on the property for any three years in a five-year period or, in the case of a nonprofit organization, has paid the other owner's share of ad valorem taxes imposed on the property for any two years in a three-year period; and

(2) the other owner has not reimbursed the person for more than half of the total amount paid by the person for the taxes on the owner's behalf.

(b) The petition must contain:

(1) a description of the property;

(2) the name of each known owner of the property;

(3) the interest held by each known owner of the property;

(4) the total amount paid by the petitioner for the defendant's share of ad valorem taxes imposed on the property; and

(5) if applicable, the amount paid by the defendant to the petitioner to reimburse the petitioner for paying the defendant's share of ad valorem taxes imposed on the property.

Sec. 29.003. Hearing on Petition for Forced Sale.

At a hearing on a petition filed under Section 29.002, the petitioner must prove by clear and convincing evidence that:

(1) the petitioner has paid the defendant's share of ad valorem taxes imposed on the property that is the subject of the petition for any three years in a five-year period or, in the case of a nonprofit organization, the petitioner has paid the defendant's share of ad valorem taxes imposed on the property that is the subject of the petition for any two years in a three-year period;

(2) before the date on which the petition was filed the petitioner made a demand that the defendant reimburse the petitioner for the amount of the defendant's share of ad valorem taxes imposed on the property paid by the petitioner; and

(3) the defendant has not reimbursed the petitioner more than half of the amount of money the petitioner paid on the defendant's behalf for the defendant's share of ad valorem taxes imposed on the property.

Sec. 29.0035. Demand to Unknown Defendant.

If the address or identity of the defendant is unknown, the demand of the petitioner for reimbursement from the defendant required by Section 29.003(2) may be met by publication in a newspaper in the county in which the property is located once each week for four consecutive weeks, with the final publication occurring not later than the 30th day before the date on which the petition is filed. The publication must contain the demand for reimbursement and:

(1) a general description of the property involved;

(2) the legal description of the property according to the survey of the property, including the number of the lot and block or any other plat description that may be of record if the property is located in a municipality;

(3) the county in which the property is located;

(4) the interest of the defendant; and

(5) the name and address of the petitioner.

Sec. 29.004. Court-Ordered Sale.

On completion of the hearing on a petition filed under Section 29.002, if the court is satisfied that the petitioner has made the requisite proof under Section 29.003, the court shall enter an order that divests the defendant's interest in the real property that is the subject of the petition and that orders the petitioner to pay to the defendant an amount computed by subtracting the outstanding amount of money the defendant owes to the petitioner for payment of the defendant's share of ad valorem taxes imposed on the property from the fair market value of the defendant's interest in the property as determined by an independent appraiser appointed by the court. The court's order may also direct the defendant to execute and deliver to the petitioner a deed that conveys to the petitioner the defendant's interest in the property.

Title 5.
Exempt Property and Liens

Subtitle A. Property Exempt from Creditors' Claims
Chapter 41. Interests in Land.

Subchapter A. Exemptions in Land Defined

Sec. 41.001. Interests in Land Exempt from Seizure.

(a) A homestead and one or more lots used for a place of burial of the dead are exempt from seizure for the claims of creditors except for encumbrances properly fixed on homestead property.

(b) Encumbrances may be properly fixed on homestead property for:

(1) purchase money;

(2) taxes on the property;

(3) work and material used in constructing improvements on the property if contracted for in writing as provided by Sections 53.254(a), (b), and (c);

(4) an owelty of partition imposed against the entirety of the property by a court order or by a written agreement of the parties to the partition, including a debt of one spouse in favor of the other spouse resulting from a division or an award of a family homestead in a divorce proceeding;

(5) the refinance of a lien against a homestead, including a federal tax lien resulting from the tax debt of both spouses, if the homestead is a family homestead, or from the tax debt of the owner;

(6) an extension of credit that meets the requirements of Section 50(a)(6), Article XVI, Texas Constitution; or

(7) a reverse mortgage that meets the requirements of Sections 50(k)-(p), Article XVI, Texas Constitution.

(c) The homestead claimant's proceeds of a sale of a homestead are not subject to seizure for a creditor's claim for six months after the date of sale.

Sec. 41.002. Definition of Homestead.

(a) If used for the purposes of an urban home or as both an urban home and a place to exercise a calling or business, the homestead of a family or a single, adult person, not otherwise entitled to a homestead, shall consist of not more than 10 acres of land which may be in one or more contiguous lots, together with any improvements thereon.

(b) If used for the purposes of a rural home, the homestead shall consist of:

(1) for a family, not more than 200 acres, which may be in one or more parcels, with the improvements thereon; or

(2) for a single, adult person, not otherwise entitled to a homestead, not more than 100 acres, which may be in one or more parcels, with the improvements thereon.

(c) A homestead is considered to be urban if, at the time the designation is made, the property is:

(1) located within the limits of a municipality or its extraterritorial jurisdiction or a platted subdivision; and

(2) served by police protection, paid or volunteer fire protection, and at least three of the following services provided by a municipality or under contract to a municipality:

(A) electric;

(B) natural gas;

(C) sewer;

(D) storm sewer; and

(E) water.

(d) The definition of a homestead as provided in this section applies to all homesteads in this state whenever created.

Sec. 41.003. Temporary Renting of a Homestead.

Temporary renting of a homestead does not change its homestead character if the homestead claimant has not acquired another homestead.

Sec. 41.004. Abandonment of a Homestead.

If a homestead claimant is married, a homestead cannot be abandoned without the consent of the claimant's spouse.

Sec. 41.005. Voluntary Designation of Homestead.

(a) If a rural homestead of a family is part of one or more parcels containing a total of more than 200 acres, the head of the family and, if married, that person's spouse may voluntarily designate not more than 200 acres of the property as the homestead. If a rural homestead of a single adult person, not otherwise entitled to a homestead, is part of one or more parcels containing a total of more than 100 acres, the person may voluntarily designate not more than 100 acres of the property as the homestead.

(b) If an urban homestead of a family, or an urban homestead of a single adult person not otherwise entitled to a homestead, is part of one or more contiguous lots containing a total of more than 10 acres, the head of the family and, if married, that person's spouse or the single adult person, as applicable, may voluntarily designate not more than 10 acres of the property as the homestead.

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (e) or Subchapter B, to designate property as a homestead, a person or persons, as applicable, must make the designation in an instrument that is signed and acknowledged or proved in the manner required for the recording of other instruments. The person or persons must file the designation with the county clerk of the county in which all or part of the property is located. The clerk shall record the designation in the county deed records. The designation must contain:

(1) a description sufficient to identify the property designated;

(2) a statement by the person or persons who executed the instrument that the property is designated as the homestead of the person's family or as the homestead of a single adult person not otherwise entitled to a homestead;

(3) the name of the current record title holder of the property; and

(4) for a rural homestead, the number of acres designated and, if there is more than one survey, the number of acres in each.

(d) A person or persons, as applicable, may change the boundaries of a homestead designated under Subsection (c) by executing and recording an instrument in the manner required for a voluntary designation under that subsection. A change under this subsection does not impair rights acquired by a party before the change.

(e) Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, property on which a person receives an exemption from taxation under Section 11.43, Tax Code, is considered to have been designated as the person's homestead for purposes of this subchapter if the property is listed as the person's residence homestead on the most recent appraisal roll for the appraisal district established for the county in which the property is located. If a person designates property as a homestead under Subsection (c) or Subchapter B and a different property is considered to have been designated as the person's homestead under this subsection, the designation under Subsection (c) or Subchapter B, as applicable, prevails for purposes of this chapter.

(f) If a person or persons, as applicable, have not made a voluntary designation of a homestead under this section as of the time a writ of execution is issued against the person, any designation of the person's or persons' homestead must be made in accordance with Subchapter B.

(g) An instrument that made a voluntary designation of a homestead in accordance with prior law and that is on file with the county clerk on September 1, 1987, is considered a voluntary designation of a homestead under this section.

Sec. 41.0051. Disclaimer and Disclosure Required.

(a) A person may not deliver a written advertisement offering, for a fee, to designate property as a homestead as provided by Section 41.005 unless there is a disclaimer on the advertisement that is conspicuous and printed in 14-point boldface type or 14-point uppercase typewritten letters that makes the following statement or a substantially similar statement:

THIS DOCUMENT IS AN ADVERTISEMENT OF SERVICES. IT IS NOT AN OFFICIAL DOCUMENT OF THE STATE OF TEXAS.

(b) A person who solicits solely by mail or by telephone a homeowner to pay a fee for the service of applying for a property tax refund from a tax appraisal district or other governmental body on behalf of the homeowner shall, before accepting money from the homeowner or signing a contract with the homeowner for the person's services, disclose to the homeowner the name of the tax appraisal district or other governmental body that owes the homeowner a refund.

(c) A person's failure to provide a disclaimer on an advertisement as required by Subsection (a) or to provide the disclosure required by Subsection (b) is considered a false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice for purposes of Section 17.46(a), Business & Commerce Code, and is subject to action by the consumer protection division of the attorney general's office as provided by Section 17.46(a), Business & Commerce Code.

Sec. 41.006. Certain Sales of Homestead.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), any sale or purported sale in whole or in part of a homestead at a fixed purchase price that is less than the appraised fair market value of the property at the time of the sale or purported sale, and in connection with which the buyer of the property executes a lease of the property to the seller at lease payments that exceed the fair rental value of the property, is considered to be a loan with all payments made from the seller to the buyer in excess of the sales price considered to be interest subject to Title 4, Finance Code.

(b) The taking of any deed in connection with a transaction described by this section is a deceptive trade practice under Subchapter E, Chapter 17, Business & Commerce Code, and the deed is void and no lien attaches to the homestead property as a result of the purported sale.

(c) This section does not apply to the sale of a family homestead to a parent, stepparent, grandparent, child, stepchild, brother, half brother, sister, half sister, or grandchild of an adult member of the family.

Sec. 41.007. Home Improvement Contract

(a) A contract described by Section 41.001(b)(3) must contain the following warning conspicuously printed, stamped, or typed in a size equal to at least 10-point bold type or computer equivalent, next to the owner's signature line on the contract:

"IMPORTANT NOTICE: You and your contractor are responsible for meeting the terms and conditions of this contract. If you sign this contract and you fail to meet the terms and conditions of this contract, you may lose your legal ownership rights in your home. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AND DUTIES UNDER THE LAW."

(b) A violation of Subsection (a) of this section is a false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice within the meaning of Section 17.46, Business & Commerce Code, and is actionable in a public or private suit brought under the provisions of the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (Subchapter E, Chapter 17, Business & Commerce Code).

Sec. 41.008. Conflict with Federal Law.

To the extent of any conflict between this subchapter and any federal law that imposes an upper limit on the amount, including the monetary amount or acreage amount, of homestead property a person may exempt from seizure, this subchapter prevails to the extent allowed under federal law.