January 27, 2021

In This Issue:

  • TLTA Legislative Update
  • Other Advocacy Updates From TLTA Including TREC Option Fee and Contract Form Changes
  • TLTA Judiciary Committee: Have You Ever Wondered Whether an Escrow Relationship Can Be Formed Without a Written Agreement?
  • HUD Declares FHA Once Again Backing DACA Mortgages
  • Straight From the Source: TDI Licensing Requirements and More Featuring TDI Staff – Tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 28

TLTA Legislative Update

TLTA | Jan. 27, 2021

The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature continues this week. The House and Senate met briefly yesterday and today, and both chambers have adjourned again. While the House and Senate will not meet again formally until Feb. 9, legislative work continues as members file new legislation, work with stakeholders on filed legislation, and wait for announcement of House committee assignments.

Governor Abbott will be delivering his State of the State address Feb. 1, and for the first time that we can recall, the address will be held in the evening and broadcast statewide. Here are additional details, including how you can watch.

The Senate Special Redistricting Committee is holding hearings in the Senate chamber this week and will continue to hold hearings into February. While these hearings are organized around particular regions and population centers, the committee will hear redistricting-related testimony about any part of the state at any hearing. You can review a list of their upcoming hearings here. 

TLTA's legislative priorities

Our legislative priorities  for the 87th Legislative Session were approved by TLTA's Board of Directors  as recommended by our Legislative Committee , which is chaired by Steve Streiff.

Bills we are monitoring

We are currently tracking the following bills of interest .
Questions about TLTA's legislative process and how you can get involved?
Learn More About TLTA's Legislative Process and How You Can Get Involved »

Other Advocacy Updates from TLTA

TLTA | Jan. 27, 2021

TLTA continues to monitor TREC's option fee changes - NEW FAQs on timeline and implementation - TLTA Webinar Feb. 4 on recent changes to TREC contract forms

We continue to monitor closely TREC's adoption and implementation of the proposed changes to the termination option and option fee language included in TREC contract form, and the Texas Realtors recently published these FAQs on the timeline and implementation of the revised forms:
What changes are being made to delivery of the option fee?

TREC recently adopted changes to their residential contract forms with respect to the
delivery of option fees. Under the revised forms, which become mandatory April 1,
2021, a buyer is required to deliver the option fee to the title company, not to the seller.
When am I required to use the updated versions of the TREC residential forms?

The updated versions may be used on a voluntary basis a few days after Feb. 16,
2021, when TREC meets to finalize two of the forms that were previously omitted. All
the updated forms are mandatory April 1, 2021.
Read All the FAQs »
In case you missed it, TLTA is hosting a webinar Feb. 4 that reviews the new changes to the TREC contract forms. Register now, or learn more via the link below:
TLTA Webinar: Recent TREC Contract Form Changes »


TLTA Town Hall via Zoom Feb. 2 - Making Sense of the 87th Texas Legislature - RSVP NOW

Next Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m., we’ll welcome very special guest, Evan Smith, CEO of the Texas Tribune and nationally recognized insider on politics and the workings of the Texas Legislature. You won’t want to miss his take on what he calls, Pandemic Politics, and how that affects you, your business and all Texans.

Evan is always a huge hit at our annual conference, but this presentation is special. In a year like no other, tracking politics and policy is tricky business, but no one is better equipped than Evan. He’ll share his insights on the Texas Legislature (which is currently in session) and the state of politics in general, and then we’ll open it up for a rare informal conversation and Q&A period with Evan. 

This special event is available free to all TLTA members, so RSVP now.

TLTA Judiciary Committee: Have You Ever Wondered Whether an Escrow Relationship Can Be Formed Without a Written Agreement?

Sean O'Callaghan, TLTA Judiciary Committee Member | Jan. 27, 2021
Have you ever wondered whether an escrow relationship can be formed without a written agreement? The Third Court of Appeals in Austin was tasked with addressing such an issue when it upheld a trial court’s ruling on summary judgment that a lender’s attorney was not an escrow agent and did not owe the lender’s borrower a fiduciary duty in JTREO, Inc. v. Hightower & Assocs., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 4523, 2020 WL 3468148.  

Like all great stories, this saga begins when a man met a woman and bought real property together. Mr. Jones and his wife held title to a pricey $1.25 million condo and entered a contract to sell the condo to an LLC. The sale called for $157,700 to be paid in cash and a $1,250,000 promissory note from the LLC back to the sellers. After the sale, Mr. Jones sold the promissory note to JTREO, Inc., for $874,627.70 (What a deal!?). JTREO financed the purchase of the note with a loan from Libertad Bank, who retained Hightower & Associates to represent them in the deal.

After closing on the note sale, Hightower wired $874,627,70 to Mr. Jones’ individual bank account. So, what’s the problem?  Well, Mr. Jones allegedly used a forged power of attorney to act on his estranged wife’s behalf so when his wife realized that the funds were transferred to Mr. Jones, individually and without her knowledge, litigation ensued.
Read More »
Editor's Note: This article by Sean O'Callaghan is part of an ongoing, special series on industry-related cases and recent caselaw. TLTA's Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Leslie Johnson, will continue to provide these valuable insights throughout the year. 

HUD Declares FHA Once Again Backing DACA Mortgages

HousingWire | Jan. 20, 2021
In one of former President Donald Trump administration’s last acts, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development declared Wednesday that the Federal Housing Administration will once again back mortgages for immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
HUD said DACA recipients who are legally permitted to work in the U.S. are eligible to apply for mortgages backed by the FHA.
Read More »

Straight From the Source: TDI Licensing Requirements and More Featuring TDI Staff – Tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 28

Randall Evans, TDI Associate Commissioner of Customer Operations, and Arturo Bustamante, TDI Director of Title Examinations, will provide an in-depth look at license compliance for escrow officers and agents in this new TLTA webinar, Straight From the Source: TDI Licensing Requirements and More, which will be presented live tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 28 at 10:30 a.m.
Do you know when your license expires? Do you know if you are appointed or unappointed? Do you know how to change your information with TDI? Want to know the most common audit violations? Get answers to these questions and so much more straight from the source! 
This timely webinar features the latest TDI requirements you need to know:
  • Escrow officer expirations, renewals and applications
  • Escrow officer appointments and correct forms
  • Procedures for changing escrow officer and/or title agent information
  • Exceptions and extensions allowed due to COVID-19
  • How audits are carried out during COVID-19
  • And more
Register Now »

In addition to live webinars held throughout the year, you have access to our library of more than 80 On-Demand webinars and videos  covering the title industry topics you need to earn continuing education credits and stay ahead of the curve on the latest industry trends!