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Arizona Homeowners Coalition
Legislative Update
Legislative Update # 14
4/14/2022
 
            Arizona finally has a law protecting homeowners right to participate in the governance of their communities and affirming their fundamental rights of free speech and freedom to assemble peacefully. HB-2158 was signed into law late yesterday by the Governor. See Bill text here with a summary of the bill Here . The greatest power you have in your community is the power to vote, but often you are asked to do that without much time to consider the ramification of that vote or are only provided the association’s or the association’s attorney’s side of the issue. This bill will insure that opposing views or perspectives from informed homeowners will be allowed to be aired and exposed so that homeowners get the full picture of what is being asked and can provide informed votes on the issue.
            This bill empowers you to get involved in the decisions of your communities to be part of the solution, but does not mandate that involvement. The associations cannot suppress that involvement, but you can be assured that the community managers and attorneys are very creative, and they will continue to try and find ways to silence opposition. One particular danger in the language of this bill, that you all have to be on the look-out for, are the limits on when signs can be posted. I used the application of when ballots are mailed to homeowners as the trigger event. Under current law that is between 50 and 10 days prior to the election. I did this to address the approach used by some association for written ballots without a meeting or written consent without a meeting, where the ballots are sent out months before the required response date and no specific meeting is called, especially for governing document type votes. A specific number of days such as 30 days before the election would be too late in those situations as there would have been significant number of votes submitted prior to the first sign being allowed to be posted. The downside is that for a regular meeting the association could chose to delay sending out ballots to the 10 day limit in order to limit when signs could be posted. Clearly any association that does this is demonstrating their total disregard for the homeowners and should be looked on as that. But you still have the power of the vote and any board member that is a part of such an abuse of the law does not deserve to be on a board REPRESENTING YOU AND HOPEFULLY YOUR VOTES WILL REFLECT YOUR REJECTION OF SUCH TACTICS.
            The most contentious part of this legislation was the issue of who could be invited to an informal meeting of members to discuss community issues. Hours were spent arguing the difference between “a” or “one” with our side wanting “a” and CAI and AACM and the builders insisting on “one”. This went on and on without resolution, because in legislation the singular also implies the plural so “a” as a singular would also imply “many” where as “one” only allows one, but the use of “one” is applied to a single member not to a meeting, so each member of the community at a meeting could each invite “one” outside speaker. Both CAI and AACM were arguing that it would be bad for one member of the community to be allowed to invite three outside quest speakers, but it would be OK for three members of the community to each invite “one” guest to the same meeting. That is when it became clear as to what they were trying to do. They believed that they can get associations to believe that “one” applies to the total outside members allowed to be invited to a meeting and that they can limit invited guest to only “one”. While I asked each of the groups to commit to training their community managers and members  the true meaning of the language, they committed to that with the comment that they cannot control rouge boards, which was more crap. Because of that I specifically included in my testimony on this bill on the official record of the committee hearing that the intent of this bill is to allow each homeowner the right to each invite “one” guest speaker to the informal meetings. Do not allow any association to limit the number of invited quest speakers at these informal meetings to only one person. If any do, then write me immediately and explain to the board the true and clearly stated language of the law.
            We also have a new law relative to preventing association for restricting the application of artificial turf. HB-2131 was signed into law on March 30th. I was able to get a floor amendments introduced in both the House and the Senate that eliminated CAI’s intentional escape clause that would have allowed associations to totally circumvent the bill but could not convince the sponsor or the legislative counsel on the need to address the meaningless and inaccurate policy statement placed in the bill by CAI. What impact that will have on rules unrelated to artificial turf is yet to be seen.
            HB-2010 originally on first responder flags has been modified in the Senate to include “Uniformed services” flags and “blue Star and Gold Star” flags but is still waiting final vote in the Senate floor and while expected shortly will then have to go back to the house for reconsideration of the Senate amendments before moving on to the Governor. While I do not expect any substantial opposition to passage the question is, can it be accomplished prior to the session ending. The important thing to remember on this bill and the entire issue or protected flags is that the association has no right to restrict any flag unless the CC&R’s specifically restricts flags, and that restrictions on signs do not apply to flags. The only thing the statutes do is protect the right to fly specific flags irrespective of any restriction on flags in the governing documents. IT IS NOT A LISTING OF THE ONLY ALLOWED FLAGS.

Dennis

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Disclaimer
We are not attorneys and any advice provided in this correspondence is not provided as a legal opinion, and cannot be used as such. We offer this advice based solely on our research and experience in dealing with HOA issues, in an effort to inform and communicate the literal written statutes and case decisions available to the public.

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