A bill recently passed by the Texas Legislature — inspired by problems encountered in contacting the 150 separate owners of Candlelight Trails in northwest Houston — would make it a whole lot easier for the city to demolish decrepit condo complexes. “The bill by Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, applies only to Houston. It requires every condo development to maintain a registered agent to accept service of legal papers; if any development fails to do so, the Texas secretary of state automatically becomes the agent. The law will take effect Sept. 1 if Gov. Rick Perry signs it or allows it to become law without his signature. Perry will review the measure carefully before deciding, spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said. Current law requires each owner to be served either in person or through a legal notice in a newspaper. Defendants served through publication have two years to file a motion for a new trial. ‘It is extremely time-consuming, expensive and allows the substandard and often dangerous conditions to continue while the city struggles to obtain personal service on each owner,’ Ann Travis, Mayor Bill White’s governmental affairs director, said in a background document explaining the bill.” [Houston Chronicle]
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