Q: What is Lake Livingston Village?
A: Lake Livingston Village is an ungated, private residential subdivision in rural Polk County, Texas, with about 3,600 individual properties and about 2,800 unique property owners.
Q: What is the population of Lake Livingston Village?
A: As of 2023, approximately 17% of the properties are occupied full time or part time and about 83% are undeveloped and/or unoccupied.
Q: Who provides utility services to Lake Livingston Village?
A. Electricity is provided exclusively by Sam Houston Electric Co-op (SHECO). Water and sewage services are provided exclusively by Aqua America. The Association has no contractual or other relationship with these service providers and no authority to negotiate service rates which are, instead, subject to state laws and regulations.
Residential trash service is provided by Live Oak Sanitation (formerly known as Piney Woods Sanitation). The Association has arranged for preferential pricing through 2026 including limits on rate increases. Any resident who desires curbside trash pickup must contract with Live Oak. Neither the County nor the Association provides trash service and no common trash receptacles are located in the community. Trash may not be disposed of in the community so any resident who does not arrange for trash service is responsible for disposing of her/his trash at a local dump.
Q: Is Lake Livingston Village part of a homeowner’s association or HOA?
A: Lake Livingston Village is a Texas Property Owners Association (POA), sometimes also called an HOA (homeowners association), an LOA (landowners association), or a Civic Club. The Association is a Texas non-profit corporation charged with managing the community’s common areas, maintaining amenities, and enforcing deed restrictions. All property owners are mandatory members of the Association regardless whether they live in the community.
Q: Are there HOA fees?
A: Yes, all property owners pay annual dues known as an Assessment. Assessments funds are used for the maintenance and improvement of the community’s common areas, such as the roads and parks, and amenities, such as the pavilion and boat ramp. Assessments are also used to pay for the day-to-day affairs of the Association, including the community manager, various vendors, and other professional service providers. All members must pay assessments regardless whether they live in the community or use any community amenities. Assessments are secured by a lien on each member’s Lake Livingston Village property. This is not unique to Lake Livingston Village. Almost all homeowners’ associations that require membership by all owners in a community have a “continuing lien” on all owners' property to secure assessment payments. This lien is reflected in the deed restrictions for the association.
Q: What are Deed Restrictions?
A: Lake Livingston Village is a deed restricted community. Deed restrictions are a contract between the Association and each member that sets forth rules governing the use of Lake Livingston Village property and includes things like prohibitions on operating a business in the community, provisions regarding the type and size of structures on community property, and rules about maintaining properties in good condition. Deed Restrictions attach to all Lake Livingston Village land and pass with the land to subsequent buyers. By purchasing property in the community, all owners are subject to the Deed Restrictions. Each of the 14 Sections in the community has its own set of deed restrictions.
Q: Are there other Association rules?
A: In addition to the Deed Restrictions, the Association operates under Bylaws and, through its Board of Directors, is empowered to pass various policies and procedures to enhance and build upon the restrictions and as otherwise required by Texas law. These policies and procedures include things like parking rules, rules governing construction in the community, and restrictions on accessories permitted on community property (e.g., solar panels, flag poles, generators, etc.). The Deed Restrictions, Bylaws, and these policies and procedures comprise the “governing documents” of the Association.
Q: Where can I find the governing documents?
A: The governing documents of the Association are available on the Association website, www.lakelivingstonvillage.org and the members-only community portal, www.payhoa.com. Governing documents are also recorded in the Polk County property records.
Q: What can I put on my LLV Lot?
A: The Deed Restrictions set forth the requirements for structures and other accessory buildings and items permitted on an LLV lot. These differ by section but generally require that there be only one living structure per lot, that the structure be a minimum size (so no “tiny homes”), and that the lots be developed so as not to negatively affect drainage in the community. All improvements must be approved by the Association’s Architectural Control Committee. More information about the ACC and building requirements is available on the Association website.
Please note that Section 14 is particularly unique in that it was designed by the original developer for off-grid living and camping. The Section is not supported by electrical utilities, water, or sewage. Residents must arrange for solar or battery power and tanked water. There are no plans by the Association at this time to install any utilities in Section 14.
Q: How is the Association managed?
A: Day-to-day affairs of the Association are managed by a professional management company, A&D Management, under the supervision of the Board of Directors.
Q: How many employees does the Association have?
A: The Association does not have any employees. Instead, the Association is committed to obtaining services from licensed, insured professionals.
Q: What is the Board of Directors?
A: The Association is led by a group of seven property owners elected by Association members. The Board has decision-making authority over most of the activities of the Association including assessment rates, capital improvement projects, the selection of vendors, and Association events. All Association members have the right to run for the Board unless they have been convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude in the last 20 years. All Association members have the right to vote for directors.
In addition to the Board of Directors, there are several committees for which members can volunteer. Committees work with the Board on specific issues and generally make recommendations to the Board on important Association matters. Committees including the Architectural Control Committee, which reviews and approves applications from members seeking to develop or improve their Lake Livingston Village property; the Deed Restriction Violation Committee, which assists with Deed Restriction enforcement by inspecting the community and reporting violations to the community manager; the Roads Committee and Pools Committee, which research maintenance and repair issues to make recommendations to the Board about these amenities; and the Events Committee, which proposes and organizes community events. The Association always needs more volunteers; interested members should contact the community manager to volunteer for a committee.
Q: Do members get to tell the Board how to make decisions?
A: Not really. A POA is like a mini-government in that the primary voting right of the members is to elect their representatives. Members do not get to vote on the day-to-day affairs of the Association such as what projects to prioritize, what vendors to hire, and what events to host. Those matters are decided by the elected Board of Directors. However, the Board welcomes community feedback and encourages members to send questions, comments, and suggestions through the community manager.
Q: How will I know what the Board is doing?
A: The Board holds regular Board meetings which are announced by email and posted on the Association website. These meetings are held by Zoom and are open to the owners to observe the Board at work. If you cannot attend a meeting, meeting minutes are posted to the Association’s members-only portal, PayHOA.com.
The Board also maintains the “Lake Livingston Village POA Announcements” group on Facebook where updates and announcements are frequently posted. However, this page is maintained as a courtesy; PayHOA remains the primary means by which the Board communicates with members and all members should ensure that they have an email address on file with the Association for PayHOA messages. Note that the “Lake Livingston Village POA Board Page” is the only social media page maintained by the Association. All other “Lake Livingston Village” social media pages are maintained by individuals and nothing posted thereon should be construed as a statement of the Association. Nor are those pages monitored by the Association or Board members so members should not expect that anything posted to those pages will ever been seen by the Association.
Q: How long do Board members serve?
A: Board members serve staggered, two-year terms. Thus, three or four members are up for election each year. There are no term limits.
Q: How much are Board members paid?
A: Board members are not paid for their services. They are volunteers who donate their time and effort to the community.
Q: Can Board members be sued for doing a bad job?
A: Yes, but rarely successfully. When homeowners’ associations get sued, board members are often named as defendants. However, viable claims against board members are limited in Texas and board members have protections against financial losses from lawsuits. Texas law provides “volunteer immunity” to people who volunteer for certain non-profit associations such as homeowners’ associations. This immunity protects Board members from legal liability for doing their “job,” even if they make decisions with which other members of the community disagree. Broadly, a board member can only successfully be sued for “intentional torts” (i.e., assault) or breach of fiduciary duty (i.e., theft of Association property). For all other claims, Lake Livingston Village Board members are entitled to “indemnity” from the Association, meaning that the Association is responsible for paying defense costs and damages if a Board member is sued. The Association is also required to carry insurance to cover claims against Board members.
Q: What if no property owners are willing to serve on the Board of Directors?
A: Lake Livingston Village depends on the volunteer efforts of its members to operate. Without a functioning Board, the business of the Association comes to a halt, including all maintenance and improvements. The Association risks going into “receivership,” meaning that it is operated by a person appointed by a court who, unlike Board members, is paid for her/his services out of Association funds. Board membership is an important job but Board members have a lot of support from fellow Board members, committees, the community manager, and the Association’s legal representatives. Association members are strongly encouraged to consider Board membership and join Association leadership.
Q: Are renters members of the Association?
A: No. Only owners of property in Lake Livingston Village are members of the Association. Owners are permitted to lease their Lake Livingston Village property to renters but are obligated to ensure that their tenants comply with all governing documents of the Association. All residents have to follow the same rules regardless whether they rent or own. If a renter violates a restriction, the owner can be subject to enforcement actions.
Because renters are not members of the Association, they are not entitled to attend Board meetings or access meeting minutes, Association financial records, or other records of the Association. Instead, it is an obligation of an owner to share relevant Association announcements with their tenants, such as updates on repair projects in the community or new policies that might affect a resident. Renters are also entitled to join the “Lake Livingston Village POA Board Announcements” group, which is a Facebook page maintained by the Board where announcements are frequently posted.
Q: How are Deed Restrictions enforced?
A: Deed Restrictions and the other governing documents of the Association are enforced in accordance with the governing documents and Texas law. Except in serious or emergency situations, violations are addressed through a process required by the Texas Property Code. Violators are entitled to written notice of their violation(s), an opportunity to cure, and the right to meet with the Board of Directors to discuss their violation(s). If violators fail to voluntarily comply with the governing documents, the Association can file a lawsuit to obtain a court order requiring the violator to comply with the governing documents.
Importantly, the Association only has “civil” authority meaning that it has to file a civil lawsuit when a member refuses to comply with the governing documents. The Board of Directors has no power or authority to prosecute crimes, ticket drivers for traffic violations, or seize animals on behalf of animal control. Nor does the Association and its Board of Directors act as a general arbiter of etiquette and behavior in the community. It is always the hope of the Board of Directors that residents who choose to live in Lake Livingston Village will choose to be good neighbors and enhance properties values by taking care of their property but the Board does not confront owners to try to force them to comply with governing documents; the Association must comply with the law and seek court orders when bad behavior by residents rises to the level of a violation.
Q: How can I find out if the Association has sent a notice to my neighbor about his violations?
A: Under Texas law, the Association is prohibited from publicly disclosing the assessment payment or deed restriction violation history of its members. Thus, it cannot discuss particulars of an enforcement action with anyone except the Board of Directors and the owner(s) of the lot at issue. Members are welcome and, indeed, invited to report violations to the Association manager or through PayHOA; every violation is investigated and handled in accordance with the Association’s enforcement procedures based on when the violation was reported, whether it implicates a serious health or safety issue, and the Association’s resources. There is nothing a member can do to accelerate enforcement. You may notice that some violations are cured more quickly than others; that is likely because the violator voluntarily cooperated with the Association and addressed the violation.
Q: There is an abandoned car on my street. Tree branches have fallen. Why hasn't anyone done anything about it?
A: The community manager inspects the community regularly but does not have the ability to drive every street every day. The Association can only address issues of which it is aware. If you see a problem in the community, it should be reported directly to the manager via phone or email. Keep in mind that there are legal limits on what the Association can do about various issues. For example, towing cars is subject to various legal restrictions that, if not followed, can create liabilities for the Association and/or its members. Only under certain circumstances can the Association simply "tow a car." Instead, it must give the owner an opportunity to retrieve her/his vehicle. With respect to tree limbs, the Association endeavors to remove debris from roadways and common areas as quickly as possible. However, it cannot simply go onto private property and take down trees. The Association can send a notice to an owner if a tree is creating a risk to Association property but the Association does not get involved in neighbor disputes. If you are concerned about a condition in the community, you should not assume that the Board is aware of it; a quick call or email will go a long way toward enabling the Board to respond to issues.
Q: Who owns the roads in Lake Livingston Village?
A: The roads in Lake Livingston Village are owned by the Association for the exclusive use of Association members and their tenants and guests. Maintenance and repairs are funded collectively by the members via assessments.
Q: Will Polk County ever annex the roads into the County road system?
A: Polk County has no obligation to annex any private roads anywhere in Polk County into the County road system. The County will only consider annexation of roads that meet “County” engineering and materials standards. The full cost of bringing any private roads up to County standards for annexation is the responsibility of the homeowner’s association seeking annexation. Bringing the Association’s roads up to County standards would cost millions of dollars which the Association does not have and cannot raise due to limits on the amount by which assessments can be raised each year.
Q: What is the status of road repairs and maintenance in the community?
A: Following years of poor maintenance and neglect, the board began road improvements in January 2023 utilizing a professional and insured vendor. Improvements will require several years to complete at which time the expectation is that the Roads program will shift from rebuilding to maintenance. The Roads Committee makes recommendations to the Board prioritized by safety, traffic volume, and the condition of the roads. The Board approves recommendations based upon available funds. The most effective actions that property owners can take to reduce delays in completing road work are to faithfully pay the assessments and drive safely and slowly on all of the roads as reckless driving and speeding reduces the lifespan of our roads. The Board thanks everyone for their patience during this multi-year project.
Q: What can be done about the reckless drivers in the community?
A: As a private subdivision, Lake Livingston Village’s roads are not patrolled by law enforcement. The Association does not have law enforcement authority. The Association has policies in place prohibiting speeding and reckless driving and expects residents to voluntarily comply with those policies. When they do not, the Association can pursue civil remedies just like any other violation of the governing documents but that can be a slow process. The Board continually investigates and installs speed control solutions and welcomes feedback from the community about areas of particular concern.
Q: What about security?
A: Lake Livingston Village does not have private security. As a rural subdivision, all criminal matters are under the jurisdiction of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Q: As a property owner in Lake Livingston Village how can I help my community?
A: There are a lot of things you can do to support your community. Broadly, you can help by being community-minded and a good neighbor. This means familiarizing yourself with the governing documents, paying assessments timely, and performing regular maintenance on your Lake Livingston Village property to stay compliant with the governing documents. It means being patient and understanding as the volunteer members of the Board of Directors and committees work to improve the community and implement long-term maintenance and repair projects. And members are strongly encouraged to run for the Board, join committees, and attend community events.
Q: What if I have more questions?
A: You can reach out to the Association’s community manager: