repair the building at the expense of the municipality and assess the expenses on the land on which the building stands or to which it is attached and may provide for that assessment, the mode and manner of giving notice, and the means of recovering the repair expenses; or
assess a civil penalty against the property owner for failure to repair, remove, or demolish the building and provide for that assessment, the mode and manner of giving notice, and the means of recovering the assessment.
The municipality may repair a building under Subsection (b) only to the extent necessary to bring the building into compliance with the minimum standards and only if the building is a residential building with 10 or fewer dwelling units. The repairs may not improve the building to the extent that the building exceeds minimum housing standards.
The municipality shall impose a lien against the land on which the building stands or stood, unless it is a homestead as protected by the Texas Constitution, to secure the payment of the repair, removal, or demolition expenses or the civil penalty. Promptly after the imposition of the lien, the municipality must file for record, in recordable form in the office of the county clerk of the county in which the land is located, a written notice of the imposition of the lien. The notice must contain a legal description of the land.
Except as provided by Section 214.001 (Authority Regarding Substandard Building), the municipality’s lien to secure the payment of a civil penalty or the costs of repairs, removal, or demolition is inferior to any previously recorded bona fide mortgage lien attached to the real property to which the municipality’s lien attaches if the mortgage lien was filed for record in the office of the county clerk of the county in which the real property is located before the date the civil penalty is assessed or the repair, removal, or demolition is begun by the municipality. The municipality’s lien is superior to all other previously recorded judgment liens.
Any civil penalty or other assessment imposed under this section accrues interest at the rate of 10 percent a year from the date of the assessment until paid in full.
The municipality’s right to the assessment lien may not be transferred to third parties.
In any judicial proceeding regarding enforcement of municipal rights under this section, the prevailing party is entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees from the nonprevailing party.
A lien acquired under this section by a municipality for repair expenses may not be foreclosed if the property on which the repairs were made is occupied as a residential homestead by a person 65 years of age or older.
The municipality by order may assess and recover a civil penalty against a property owner at the time of an administrative hearing on violations of an ordinance, in an amount not to exceed $1,000 a day for each violation or, if the owner shows that the property is the owner’s lawful homestead, in an amount not to exceed $10 a day for each violation, if the municipality proves:
the property owner was notified of the requirements of the ordinance and the owner’s need to comply with the requirements; and
after notification, the property owner committed an act in violation of the ordinance or failed to take an action necessary for compliance with the ordinance.
An assessment of a civil penalty under Subsection (j) is final and binding and constitutes prima facie evidence of the penalty in any suit brought by a municipality in a court of competent jurisdiction for a final judgment in accordance with the assessed penalty.
To enforce a civil penalty under this subchapter, the clerk or secretary of the municipality must file with the district clerk of the county in which the municipality is located a certified copy of an order issued under Subsection (j) stating the amount and duration of the penalty. No other proof is required for a district court to enter a final judgment on the penalty.Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1, Sec. 49(a), eff. Aug. 28, 1989. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 743, Sec. 2, 3, eff. Aug. 28, 1989; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 359, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 28, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 12.105, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.