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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:This is a declaratory judgment action involving eight property owners’ challenge to their homeowners association’s attempt to increase and accumulate annual assessments and impose late fees. The trial court held that Chapter 204 of the Texas Property Code authorized the board to raise assessments unilaterally. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment in part and reversed in part. Both parties petitioned this court for review. HOLDING:The court 1. affirms the court of appeals’ judgment as to the increased assessments in sections (Harris county subdivisions) one and two, the assessment of late fees, and foreclosure; 2. reverse the court of appeals’ judgment and render judgment as to accumulation of fee increases under sections four and five; 3. vacate the trial court’s and the court of appeals’ judgments as to sections three and six and dismiss for want of jurisdiction Brooks’s claim as to those sections; and 4. affirm the court of appeals’ judgment regarding attorney’s fees. The court addresses whether the trial court should have refused to enter a judgment when a subset of the homeowners was not joined in the suit. Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 39, like the Declaratory Judgment Act, mandates joinder of persons whose interests would be affected by the judgment. The court appreciates the risk that, unless each homeowner is joined in one suit, Northglen may be subject to inconsistent judgments. Northglen’s dilemma, however, is the product of its own inaction, the court decides. Northglen could have sought relief at trial by urging the court, among other things, to abate the case, join absent homeowners, or grant special exceptions. Because there are no plaintiffs from sections three and six, there is no person in those sections for whom rights could be declared in this declaratory judgment action. The trial court was without jurisdiction to issue a judgment with respect to those sections, and any opinion interpreting those sections would be purely advisory. Accordingly, the court vacates those portions of the lower courts’ judgments relating to Sections Three and Six and dismiss those claims for want of jurisdiction. The court decides whether the deed restrictions for sections one and two, which are identical, allow Northglen to assess additional maintenance fees above the restrictive covenant’s express limitation. The court holds that the court of appeals correctly concluded that Northglen cannot increase assessments beyond the $120 limitation set forth in the deed restrictions. Northglen argues � and the court of appeals held � that the deed restrictions permit accumulation of unassessed increases in maintenance fees for sections four and five. Northglen contends, specifically, that Property Code �204.010 allows it to accumulate and assess a $430 single-year increase � raising the assessment from $120 to $550. The statute operates only where the deed restrictions do not “otherwise provide.” The court held that this statutory language granted Northglen authority to assess the late charge in the absence of specific language to the contrary. Because the deed restrictions do not mention late charges specifically, the court held that silence could not mean “otherwise provide.” The court agrees that nothing in the Northglen deed restrictions could be considered “otherwise providing.” Section 204.010 does not substantially impair Northglen’s deed restrictions. It does not serve to withdraw or remove any contractual obligation. If the statute required the assessment of late fees where late fees were expressly prohibited by the deed restrictions, this would likely be a different case, the court states. The court is not faced with that circumstance here. Thus, applying the statute to authorize a late fee is not unconstitutional. The restrictions did not provide any notice that a late fee would be imposed in addition to the interest charge. As a result, the property owners did not have notice of the late charge. Therefore, in light of Inwood Homeowners’ Ass’n v. Harris, 736 S.W.2d 632 (Tex. 1987), notice requirement, foreclosure is not an appropriate remedy for a failure to pay the late charge. OPINION:Jefferson, J., delivered the court’s opinion.

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