House Bill 14 Springboards New Home Development

House Bill 14 Improves Texas Real Estate Development

Here at the Silberman Law Firm, our attorneys frequently receive calls from potential new clients complaining of and about their new construction (both residential and commercial) taking much longer than they expected to complete. Some of the delay in these new builds can definitely be attributed to lazy developers, but a not-insignificant amount of the hold-up can be the result of administrative impediments in the permit-securing process. In an effort to expedite the construction and development process within the Lone Star State, the Texas Legislature has passed House Bill 14, which went into effect on September 1, 2023. This legislative move introduces a pivotal change in the local development process, allowing for third-party review of building applications if cities and counties fail to issue building permits within 15 days. It appears this development will act as an adrenaline shot for the real estate sector, promising to address delays and streamline the path from planning to construction.

House Bill 14 adds a new chapter to the Texas Local Government Code, granting developers the option to employ third-party reviewers for the inspection of development documents, including plans, plats, permits, and related applications. This legislative solution targets the bottlenecks frequently encountered in the permit approval process, often exacerbated by understaffed or overburdened city and county development and building inspection departments.

The bill specifies that if a regulatory authority fails to issue an approval, conditional approval, or disapproval within 15 days after the required date, developers can opt for a third-party review. This mechanism is designed to ensure that projects do not languish in bureaucratic limbo, facilitating a smoother and more efficient development process.

For developers and investors, the implications of House Bill 14 are profound. The traditional delays associated with the permit review process can stifle development, increase costs, and deter investment in the Texas real estate market. By allowing for third-party review, the bill aims to mitigate these issues, providing a more predictable and streamlined path for development projects.

The expedited process can potentially lead to an increase in housing and commercial developments across the state. This is especially pertinent as Texas continues to experience significant population growth and faces a pressing need for additional housing and infrastructure. By reducing delays, the bill not only supports the real estate sector but also addresses broader economic and social needs.

While House Bill 14 represents a significant step forward, its implementation and impact will depend on various factors, including the availability and capacity of third-party reviewers and the response of local regulatory authorities. Developers will need to carefully select qualified third-party reviewers who can meet the standards and expectations of local regulations.

Additionally, the cost implications of employing third-party reviewers will need to be considered. While the bill could reduce delays and potentially lower overall development costs, the fees associated with third-party review services will be an important factor for developers to consider.

House Bill 14 heralds a new era for real estate development in Texas, offering a promising solution to the longstanding issue of permit approval delays. By embracing third-party review, Texas is positioning itself as a leader in streamlining real estate development processes, thereby fostering growth and innovation in the sector. As we move forward, it will be crucial for all stakeholders to collaborate in ensuring the successful implementation of this legislation, maximizing its benefits for the Texas real estate market and the wider community. If you are a developer interested in learning more about this new option

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