RealPage Inc., a leading global provider of software and data analytics to the real estate industry, announced that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 873 into law. The new law, which modifies the Texas water code, will benefit apartment owners, operators and their residents throughout the state of Texas. The legislation passed both the House and Senate with over a two-thirds supermajority and became effective on June 1, 2017.
RealPage retained Gardere’s government affairs team to work closely with the Texas Apartment Association to draft the legislation, provide testimony at legislative hearings and educate legislators on the benefits of the bill. The Gardere team was led by senior attorney Royce Poinsett and included Andres S. Medrano and John Sepehri.
According to RealPage’s press release, Bill 873 brings the Texas water code into line with other Texas statutes that underwent tort reform over the last two decades. In recent years, Texas apartment owners faced an inundation of lawsuits from lawyers who were twisting well-established definitions and practices in utility billing in an attempt to obtain excessive penalties contained in the former code. The new law eliminates the unjust incentives fueling this rampant lawsuit abuse and moves the regulation of water billing under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Texas Public Utility Commission, which has the authority and experience to issue judicious penalties reasonably related to the level and nature of a violation.
Gardere’s government affairs practice group provides legislative, regulatory and legal representation services to private corporations and public entities that face issues before state governments. The team comprises attorneys with experience working both inside and outside government and who have backgrounds managing major state agencies, as well as holding top litigation, legislative and public policy positions.