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Board Certified in Property Owner Association (POA) Law in Texas

The Texas Board of Legal Specialization approved the specialty area of "property owners association law" in 2018. At last count, 32 attorneys are certified in Property Owners Association (POA) Law in Texas. 

Property Owner Association (POA) law involves services dealing with common-interest developments such as:

  • condominiums, subdivisions, and mixed-use developments;
  • individual owners of such properties; and
  • their mandatory-membership associations.

Property owners association law has been recognized since 1979, when the State Bar's Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section sponsored its application and appointed a Committee on Condominium and Common Interest Ownership.

The certification standards name POA law as a sub-category of the current real estate law specialty area alongside commercial, residential, and farm and ranch.

More generally, Real Estate Law involves providing advice and services concerning the laws applicable to land and the improvements and appurtenances (including air and subsurface estates) to land.

Real estate law also includes the acquisition, transfer, development, financing and use of land, including knowledge of restrictions.

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More About Specialty Certification in Property Owner Association Law

To become board certified in Property Owner Association (POA) law, the following qualifications must be established:

  • Practice law full-time for at least 5 years as an active member of the State Bar of Texas;
  • At least 3 years of Real Estate Law experience with a yearly minimum 30% substantial involvement in Real Estate Law generally and a yearly minimum 20% focus on Property Owners Association Law in particular;
  • References from judges and lawyers in the area;
  • Complete 60 hours of TBLS approved continuing legal education in Property Owners Association Law;
  • Meet all of the TBLS Standards for Attorney Certification; and
  • Pass a comprehensive 6-hour examination in Property Owners Association Law.

Examination in Property Owner Association Law

The purpose of the certification exam is to require an applicant to demonstrate substantial knowledge of significant legal concepts and corresponding skills in the overall area of real estate law, and specifically, the sub-categories of commercial real estate law, farm and ranch real estate law, residential real estate law, and property owners association law as applicable.

The questions on the Property Owners Association Law examination generally deal with the real property law specific to condominiums, subdivisions, and property owners associations, nonprofit entity law, fair housing law, and debt collection and foreclosure laws including:

  1. Assessment Collection/Foreclosure
    1. Collection Procedures
      (1) Source and scope of authority to impose assessments and related charges
      (2) Creation, scope and priority of assessment liens
      (3) Alternative payment schedules
      (4) Priority of payments received
      (5) Required notices
      (6) Statutory limitations on foreclosure
    2. Judicial Foreclosure
      (1) Elements of proof for suit
      (2) Conducting of judicial foreclosure sale
      (3) Post-foreclosure considerations
      (a) required notices
      (b) redemption period
      (4) Expedited foreclosure procedures
    3. Nonjudicial foreclosure for condominiums
      (1) required notices
      (2) Conducting of nonjudicial foreclosure sale
      (3) Post-foreclosure considerations
      (a) required notices (b) redemption period
  2. Condominiums
    1. Texas Uniform Condominium Act application
    2. Insurance / Casualty Loss Issues
    3. Termination
  3.  Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants
    1. Required Notices
    2. Available Remedies
  4. POA Governance (Non-Profit Corporations)
    1. Voting/proxies
    2. General standards for directors
    3. Directors not trustees
    4. Indemnification
    5. Records retention and inspection
  5. Amendment of Dedicatory Instruments
    1. Sources and scope of authority to amend
      • Common law
      • Statutory requirements and limitations
        1. residential
        2. condominium
    2. Amendment vs. termination
    3. Development/declarant control periods

Task Requirements in Property Owner Association Law

To become board certified in property owner association law, the Standards for Attorney Certification require theattorney to demonstrate a substantial breadth of experience in the practice area by:

  1. serving as counsel to property owners associations, their officers and directors, their members, and their managers on matters pertaining to the common-interest development and its governing association;
  2. drafting, amending, and interpreting documents that create and govern the development and its association;
  3. representing parties in assessment collection actions, enforcement of statutes and governing documents, and other litigation and dispute resolution relating to the common-interest development and its association; and
  4. serving as counsel to real estate developers in the creation of common-interest developments and property owners associations.

To demonstrate a substantial breadth of experience, the attorney must provide a written description of at least 20 substantive tasks or services performed by the attorney in at least three of the categories listed below during each year of the 3 years immediately preceding application.

The written description for each of the 60 or more substantive tasks or services must identify the following: 

  1. the task category from the list below;
  2. when performed; and
  3. the type of client represented by the attorney such as owners, developers, lenders, property owners associations, association officers and directors, association managers, or political subdivisions.


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