Texas Real Estate Law

Texas Real Estate Law encompasses many varying factors of which we will briefly touch on in this article. The sale and use of real property has been governed by a variety of laws since time immemorial. Today, states like Texas have a range of laws governing every aspect of real estate transactions. Whether you are a renter looking for a new place to live or someone who wants to become a real estate agent, Texas has laws detailing your rights and obligations.

You may sell your own property in Texas, but only a licensed real estate agent or salesperson may sell it on your behalf. The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) is responsible for licensing all real estate brokers and salespeople in Texas.Of course, if you decide yo sell your property on your own, you have every right to do so.

According to the TREC, all would-be real estate salespersons must be at least 18 years old, residents of Texas and either citizens or lawfully admitted aliens of the United States. Applicants must also meet TREC educational requirements by taking a total of 210 classroom hours of real estate, agency and contract classes. Once these requirements are met, applicants must apply for licenses and pass licensing tests before they can become licensed real estate salespeople.

Adverse possession is a property law concept whereby a person can acquire the title from the true owner of a parcel of land without that owner’s permission, and without having to pay the owner. The Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code sets forth the elements required to obtain title to land via adverse possession in that state.

Texas Real Estate Law requires “actual and visible appropriation” of real property, according to the Texas Supreme Court. This means that a person must actually and visibly use the land as if she owns it outright. Mistaken beliefs are not enough. For example, if a person begins removing timber, building on the land or otherwise improving upon the land in an actual and visible way, those actions might suffice. If a person simply makes claims about the ownership, but does not actually or visibly take any action relating to the ownership of the land, the adverse possession law does not apply.

Adverse possession must involve “a claim or right that is inconsistent and is hostile to the claim of another person.” The person seeking title to a parcel of real property must not have title or a valid claim of right to that parcel. Additionally, the true owner of the land must not have given the potential adverse-possessor permission to use the land. In the case “Tran vs Macha,” a jury found that a shared strip of land passed via adverse possession to one of the parties.

Texas Real Estate Laws

In 2006, the Texas Supreme Court reversed the ruling because the use of the land at issue was permissive between both parties; neither party was claiming a greater claim of right to the land and neither party prevented the other from using the land. The shared use was permissive and thereby not inconsistent or hostile to the original owner’s claim of right. Because there was no inconsistent or hostile claim of right, the party that was awarded title over the land under the adverse possession claim lost title pursuant to the Texas Supreme Court ruling.

The Texas Property Code forms part of the Texas Constitution and Statutes, and contains laws relating to land, real estate and property. Some sections of the law are concerned directly with the issue of real estate boundaries, such as laws that state the legal requirement to register boundaries when designating land as a family homestead and laws defining the boundaries of apartments in condominium complexes.

In Texas, a property owner can designate an area of land that forms part of the property as a rural homestead. If the homestead is on an area of land greater than 200 acres in size, the head of the household may designate up to 200 acres of the property as the family homestead. The homestead owner’s spouse, if the homestead owner is married, may also designate up to 200 acres of the property to be the family homestead. Urban properties may designate up to 10 acres of a larger property to be the family homestead. Homestead designations must be filed with the county clerk of the county that the property is located in,and the registration document must include details of the land and boundaries now designated as the family homestead. Part (d) of section 41.005 of the Texas Property Code states that persons who have the right to change the boundaries of land designated as the family homestead, may do so by filing a document containing details of the boundary change with the county clerk of the county that contains the homestead.

This article is just a brief discussion of varying Texas Real Estate Law of which should not be construed to be legal advice. If you are needing advice, assistance or counsel for any Texas Real Estate Law matter please contact Kelly Legal Group at 512-593-7702.