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Texas Regulatory Waivers and Suspensions Related to Hurricane Harvey Affecting the Apartment Industry

Posted by Will Alfaro on Friday, December 1, 2017

The list below contains some of the major waivers and suspensions of Texas laws and regulations that might affect the apartment industry, as well as some resources and guidance for apartment communities affected by Hurricane Harvey.  The list is not exhaustive, due to the fact that many waivers and suspensions that have been granted were not provided in writing or were granted on an individual case-by-case basis. Please use this as a guide only. Before relying on any particular waiver or suspension, the proclamation or order granting the waiver or suspension should be reviewed.

 

Proclamations from the Office of the Texas Governor

Harris and surrounding counties have been declared a disaster area due to damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.  The declaration of disaster allows the suspension of regulations that would in any way prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with the disaster upon written approval of the Governor’s office.  The disaster declaration was extended for another 30 days on November 19, 2017. 

https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-extends-disaster-proclamation-for-60-texas-counties

Regulations regarding utility connections and property access have been waived to allow for creation of temporary utility connections and ease of access to utility lines to facilitate repair. 

https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-proclaims-utility-companies-to-repair-service-in-wake-of-hu

The attorney general has been instructed to investigate and prosecute claims of price gouging related to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.  Suspected price gouging on the part of vendors helping with remediation efforts should be reported to the Office of the Attorney General.

https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-issues-proclamation-on-price-gouging

 

The Supreme Court of Texas

It was ordered that all courts in Texas should consider disaster-caused delays as good cause for modifying or suspending all deadlines and procedures—whether prescribed by statute, rule, or order—in any case, civil or criminal.  This was extended for all justice court matters through November 25, 2017.  Although the extended deadline has passed, the waiver may still impact pending cases to the extent a rule was not followed prior to November 25, 2017.

http://www.txcourts.gov/media/1438759/179091.pdf; http://www.txcourts.gov/media/1439198/179141.pdf

Statutes of limitations were temporarily suspended, provided that any failure to comply with an applicable limitations period was caused by Hurricane Harvey.  The suspension ended on September 28, 2017.  Although the extended deadline is passed, the suspension may still impact pending cases.

http://www.txcourts.gov/media/1438804/179098.pdf

 

Office of the Texas State Comptroller

The Comptroller’s office is allowing limited temporary extensions of time to file taxes for businesses in Texas counties designated for individual assistance by the Federal Major Disaster Declaration.

https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/resources/disaster-relief.php

 

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations

Mold remediation and assessment regulations have been suspended and altered to facilitate repair efforts related to Hurricane Harvey.  The requirement that a mold remediation project have an assessment is waived for the duration of the governor’s disaster declaration.  Additionally, licensure requirements for out-of-state mold remediation companies have been waived, although they must register with the TDLR.  Mold remediation project notifications are also voluntary for the pendency of the disaster declaration. 

https://www.license.state.tx.us/mld/mldharvey.htm

With regard to elevator and escalator repair and inspection expedited review fees and removed from service fees have been suspended. 

https://www.license.state.tx.us/elevator/ele.htm#harveyhelp

Inspection deadlines for boilers have been extended. 

https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/boilers/memos/2017-05%20Hurricane%20Harvey%20and%20Extensions.pdf

Reciprocal license applications have been fast-tracked so that electricians wanting to assist with the Harvey recovery efforts may quickly coordinate with Texas Electrical Contractors and begin performing electrical work in Texas.  

https://www.license.state.tx.us/electricians/elec.htm#harveyhelp

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