Many New Laws Taking Effect September 1st

There are many new laws taking effect September 1st.  Many of them will effect you, especially if you have children.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • All passengers of a vehicle are required to wear a seat belt, even if in the backseat.
  • Any child younger than 8 years of age must be in a child passenger safety seat unless the child is at least 4 feet, 9 inches in height.
  • It will be illegal to talk on a cell phone in a school zone unless you are stopped or are using a hands-free device.  This one will be optionally enforced by the city or county.

For more information regarding these and many other new laws, read the press release from the Texas DPS

Disclaimer: This does not constitute legal advice.  I’m not a lawyer.  yada, yada, yada.

Proposed Ordinance by City of Austin Could Slow Home Sales

The City of Austin is proposing an ordinance that could have a major effect on the sale of homes within the city.  They are proposing that each home sold must have a certificate of compliance stating that the home meets certain energy efficiency requirements.  The home would have to get an inspection by the city to receive this certificate.  This means a longer process as well as increased costs of selling.

This seems a bit extreme to me.  Most home purchases already go through an inspection process even though it is not required.  Any good Realtor would recommend you get one before making your purchase.  Then both parties negotiate on what is fixed or not fixed, not the city.  Any delays caused by this new process could wreak havoc on getting loans done in timely fashion.  Your rates could change or the loan could go away completely while the parties wait for the certificate.

ABOR is having a forum tomorrow to discuss the issue with City Council candidates.  Hopefully, the candidates will see that will just produce more bureacracy than good.

Here is an excerpt I received in email from the Austin Board of Realtors:

The City of Austin is introducing an ordinance to mandate energy efficiency retrofits for all types of properties in Austin, including single family owner-occupied homes. This is ordinance is being looked at as part of Mayor Will Wynn’s Climate Protection Plan.

They intend to enforce it at the point of sale. In other words, prior to the sale of any single family owner-occupied home, a certificate of compliance proving the required efficiency retrofits have been done must be done prior to closing.


  • Without a Certificate of Compliance filed of record prior to closing or at point of sale, a single family home cannot be legally sold in Austin.
  • Delays in the time from escrow of a purchase agreement to closing due to the compliance and inspection process could exceed, by days or weeks, the typical 30 to 45 day time frame in a sales transaction today.
  • Immediately upon the effective date of the ordinance, the city will have to implement methods and processes to meet the demand created by the sale of some 25,000 homes per year. That’s 25,000 inspections, assuming the first inspection results in the issuance of a certificate of compliance. City inspectors say that at least 50% of all inspections result in a subsequent inspection to correct problems found. That’s an additional 12,500 inspections, at a minimum, or some 37,500 new inspections in a typical year to determine if single family owner-occupied properties comply with the new proposed ordinance. Who will pay?
  • Homeowners will bear the expense of retrofits to obtain the certificate of compliance. These expenses will vary from home to home, but the range could be anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 per home.
  • Expect delays in acquiring another home as homeowners scramble to comply with the new ordinance, especially if that homeowner needs to sell his or her existing home prior to closing on a new one.