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Real Property Click here for the full text of this decision All real property owners in a community must be individually made parties in a case that affects the substantial rights of all real property owners in that community. FACTS:The Kettering Oaks subdivision in Harris County, when it was created in 1953, drew of restrictions that did not create a homeowners association, but which allowed for the creation of one. Like all amendments to the restrictions, an association could be added during one six-month period every 10 years, with the consent of a majority of the residents. Afton Oaks, consisting of residents within the subdivision, created an informal, voluntary homeowners association in 1955, but then a group of residents moved to create a mandatory association in 1999. As the proscribed 10-year window was not upon them, the group followed the procedures laid out in Texas Property Code Chapter 204 to set one up. The effect of the process was to amend the 1953 restrictions and create the mandatory association. A subdivision resident, John Simpson, challenged the move and sought a declaration that the amendment was null and void. He also sought an injunction against the individuals from collecting assessments, and he asked that the assessments that already had been collected be returned. HOLDING:Dismissed without prejudice. The court points out that under the Declaratory Judgment Act, the Texas Supreme Court cases construing that statute and Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code �37.006(a), the absence of some parties from lawsuit can divest a trial court of its subject matter jurisdiction. The court thus rules that a judgment rendered in the absence of all affected Kettering Oaks residents would clearly prejudice the unjoined property owners’ rights and interests. “Specifically, a declaratory judgment granted in Simpson’s favor would nullify the mandatory property owners’ association, effectively changing the rights and interests of each property owner. Such action would clearly prejudice the nonjoining property owners’ rights and obligations. Because the nonjoining parties’ rights and obligations would be clearly prejudiced, we conclude they are indispensable parties to the suit and their absence divests the trial court of its subject matter jurisdiction.” OPINION:Ross, J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, JJ.

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