HB 1964

85(R) - 2017
House Natural Resources
House Natural Resources

Companion Bill

SB 873

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral


Jim Murphy

Bill Caption

Relating to the authority and liability of owners and managers of apartment houses, manufactured home rental communities, condominiums, and multiple use facilities in charging tenants for submetered and nonsubmetered master metered water and wastewater services.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

Under current law, a tenant is entitled to recover three times the amount of any overcharge, a civil penalty equal to one month's rent, reasonable attorney's fees, and court costs from a facility owner or condominium manager of a multiple use facility if there is a rule violation regarding submetering of utility service (such as overcharging a tenant for water utilities).

HB 1964 would revoke this tenant authorization and would instead authorize the claimant to file a complaint with the Public Utility Commission regarding a violation. If the commission determines the owner or manager overcharged the claimant for water or wastewater service, the commission would be able to require repayment equal to the amount overcharged. This bill would also remove an existing exemption from civil liability for an owner of a multiple use facility or condominium manager who proves that a violation was a good faith, unintentional mistake.

Vote Recommendation Notes

This bill enhances our limited government and private property rights principles by requiring a water billing dispute between a tenant and owner to be handled through the Public Utility Commission's complaint process rather than using costly lawsuits to settle these disputes. This protects the property rights of the owner and the tenant while also preventing the courts from unnecessarily being clogged up by frivolous lawsuits. We support HB 1964.

Organizations Supporting

Texans for Lawsuit Reform
Texas Association of Builders
Texas Manufactured Housing Association

Organizations Opposed

Austin Tenants Council
Texas Low Income Housing Information Service
Texas Watch