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6/7/2013 11:58:00 AM
Bill bans cities from requiring HOA rules

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX -- State senators voted Wednesday to ensure that if you like to hang your clothes out on the line you have a choice of new homes to buy.

Ditto parking your car on the street all night -- or even painting your house chartreuse.

The legislation prohibits cities and counties from requiring home builders to establish "planned communities' as a condition of getting the requisite permits and zoning for a new development. Instead, that would be an option decided solely by the developer.

Nothing would preclude a requirement to ensure that residents in a subdivision contribute to maintaining common areas, walls or even privately owned streets.

But it would bar any mandate to set up homeowners associations with all of their rules about everything from parking to the size of flagpoles. More to the point, it means no one getting cited for putting the trash out too soon or leaving the garage door open all night.

The issue, according to Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, is choice -- a choice she said does not exist in some rapidly growing cities.

Nothing in what is now HB 2518 would preclude a developer from establishing a planned community, complete with an HOA board -- and all of the rules and regulations -- for buyers who want that kind of structure.

But Griffin said there have been complaints from would-be home buyers that many new developments have HOAs. That, she said, means those who want a new home in some communities have to accept the HOA or instead purchase an existing home in a development which does not have one.

"They just want the choice to live in an area without an HOA and live under those rules,' she said.

Griffin said she and other lawmakers get complaints from those who have purchased a new home in a development with an HMO.

She said there are many people "who are not fully aware of what HOAs do, or can do.' And they are surprised to find out when suddenly they're being cited for violating some rule.

"Some people have called and said, 'We have too many people that have too much time on their hands,' ' Griffin said, writing up citations and imposing fines.

"We've had complaints about people parking along the street or even in their driveways,' she said, as some HOAs don't allow vehicles to be parked outside a garage.

"Some get tickets when they leave their garbage can out too long or they put it out too early,' Griffin continued. "Or they have clothes hanging on a clothesline out in the backyard that other people can see.'

Griffin said if individuals have choices to buy homes in developments without HOAs that could eliminate what has been a pretty much perennial need of lawmakers to get involved in the fights between HOA boards and their members.

For example, it took state legislation more than a decade ago to rule that individual homeowners can fly the U.S. flag even if HOA rules preclude flagpoles. Then in 2006 the list was expanded to also permit flying a flag representing a branch of the military service, the state flag, a POW/MIA flag and the flag of any Arizona tribe.

And two years ago they added the Gadsden flag, the 18th century black-on-yellow flag with a coiled rattlesnake with the words "Don't Tread on Me,' which has become a favorite tea party symbol.

Lawmakers also have been asked to wade in to other restrictions on everything from "for sale' and political signs to whether a resident who works for a utility can leave his or her truck parked outside.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: Mitchell Uberstine

Does this apply to single family homes? I live in Flagstaff, AZ

Posted: Sunday, June 9, 2013
Article comment by: David Russell

What Senator Gail Griffin is not telling you about this bill and her floor amendment. A large portion of the Griffin floor amendment is nothing more than failed HB 2513 which was vetoed by Governor Brewer in 2012 and the failure of HB 2371 and HB 2135 which did not move this year because of strong opposition.

This bill has nothing to do with homeowner rights, choice or trashcans. The Griffin amendment would prevent future HOA's from requiring tenant screenings and photo identification on prospective tenants and will disallow HOA's and Planned Communities from setting restrictions on rental units such as No sex offenders, convicted felons and drug dealers in rental units.

Further, this bill and the Griffin floor amendment will affect FHA approval for many communities across the state. By allowing all homeowners to rent their units, without restrictions and regardless of the associations rules or rental caps many HOA's and Planned Communities will fall short of the 51% owner to rental ratio required by FHA/HUD. This will most defiantly disenfranchise the first time home buyer and has the potential to turn condominium communities into nothing more than crime-ridden apartment complexes.

Attaching this floor amendment to a seemingly harmless bill is simply another sneaky trick which our legislators are well noted for. Every sponsor of these failed bills are either Realtors and/or have ties to National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). After the housing market crash many Realtors are now managing rental units to fill in the gaps.

So what is the motive for this bill and the Griffin amendment? Its certainly not about choice or trashcans! Simply put NARPM and the Arizona Association of Realtors are using their friends in the House (Michelle Ugenti) and Senate (Gail Griffin) to make their work easy and profitable at the cost of homeowners across the state. They simply want to rent units to anyone regardless of their criminal history or any association rules.

Myself, and my constituents strongly believe that if this bill and the Griffin amendment passes, it will simply pave the way to include existing HOA's and Planned Communities next year. This bill will no doubt eliminate crime prevention programs in many existing and future HOA's and Planned Communities.

Potential homeowners have choices. If you don't like HOA's don't move into one. Senator Griffin would like you to believe that there is some sort of shortage in homes without an HOA attached ( Not true). Potential homeowners have the choice to contact the HOA and ask for their rules and regulations before they purchase. They also have the choice to ask residents in the community how they get along with their HOA.

The Griffin amendment is dangerous and will disenfranchise the potential first time homeowners applying for FHA/HUD Loans for decades. If your are in doubt that any information in this post is incorrect....please match the facts to the bill and the Griffin amendment.

Posted: Saturday, June 8, 2013
Article comment by: Jerry Bassett

Better legislation would be to prohibit HOA's unless proposed by the developer and accepted by a majority of home owners when at least 75% of the units are sold. And should also have a legal cap on any dues increases.

Or at least a prohibition on HOA's authority to foreclose or initiate any legal action against a non-compliant homeowner other than a property lien for unpaid dues that can be collected from the sales proceeds when the property in sold. HOA's here in Arizona have way to much power and to many of them are abusive and unreasonable. I was uninformed back in the 1970's when I bought a house with an HOA.... NEVER again!

Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013
Article comment by: Brian Carlson

There are good and bad HOAs. An HOA can cite you for a violation of the CC&Rs and you are guilty with no recourse. Then there are the residents that feel they need to help enforce the CC&Rs. They lurk day and night waiting for a CC&R violation so they can get on the phone and call the HOA to make a complaint. We even had one guy who carried a gun as he patrolled the housing area in search of violators. He told everyone that he was working undercover for the Yavapai Sheriff Department.

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