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Editor's clarification: If they choose to...

Governor Greg Abbott signed HB2040 on June 14 thereby resolving the glitch in Texas county building code enforcement authority.

Subchapter F, Chapter 233, Local Government Code, gives counties the authority to mandate that all homes in the unincorporated areas be built to code and get a minimum of three independent third-party code inspections.

Additionally, the county can mandate that the builder provide notice of whether the home complied with the mandated code requirements and inspections.

A gap, however, exists in the county's enforcement of code mandates. This gap occurs in the way the county's enforcement powers read under Section 233.155, Local Government Code. Under that existing statute, counties can obtain injunctive relief to prevent a violation or threatened violation, or refer a builder for prosecution, but only if the builder does not provide proper notice of whether or not the home complied with the mandated code inspections.

Therefore, under the existing statute, a builder can provide proper notice to the county that the home failed to comply with the code inspections and the county cannot use its enforcement powers, due to the fact that the builder provided proper notice under the law.

What this bill does:

  • H.B. 2040 will simply close that gap and allow the county to use its current enforcement authority if a builder does not provide notice that the home shows substantial compliance with the code.
  • H.B. 2040 further provides the builder an affirmative defense if a failure to provide proper notice is due to a failure of the code inspector to provide the builder with proper documentation.

H.B. 2040 amends current law relating to the building code standards for new residential construction in the unincorporated area of certain counties and affects the prosecution of a criminal offense.