Arizona HOA Laws

Arizona HOAs 101: What Everyone Needs to Know About Arizona HOA Laws and Rules

Everyone we know that buys a home in a planned community or homeowners association wants a neighborhood that will be a good, safe place to live and that their home will not lose value from neighbors that do not maintain their property.  Board members should keep these goals in mind when making decisions for the community.  Board members, and regular members, should have a general understanding of their AZ HOA laws and rules. They must also recognize that some issues require consulting with expert legal representation.  Here are the key elements that everyone should know about Arizona HOA laws and rules.

What is the Purpose of an HOA?

A homeowners association (“HOA”) is a non-governmental organization that is tasked with maintaining and enforcing the rules and regulations that govern the community. These rules and regulations are called “equitable servitudes” and are set forth in the Declaration and other community documents. Arizona HOAs are authorized by statute, and often their Declaration, to collect association dues and to levy fines against members that violate the rules.

Each HOA is unique according to its location and community documents, but they are all governed and operated by a Board of Directors. The Board consists of volunteer community members that are elected by the HOA membership to operate the association and make decisions in the best interest of the community.

Many HOAs are tasked with maintaining aesthetic standards and property values. How do they accomplish this? Through a reasonable exercise of their discretionary powers!

Keeping the neighborhood clean and well maintained. Adopting and enforcing policies governing operating procedures, enforcement policies, landscaping guidelines, and collection policies. Collaborating with local and state government. Entering into maintenance and service contracts for community assets. Maintaining and tendering claims to insurance. These are all reasonable exercises of discretionary powers. It takes a lot of work to build and maintain a great community, but once accomplished property values and member enjoyment generally follow closely along. 

How Can an AZ HOA Establish Effective Rules and Regulations?

The CC&Rs immediately go into effect against applicable property when they are recorded. Recorded documents are public records. When an individual buys a property subject to CC&Rs, that individual is contractually obligated to follow the CC&Rs upon accepting a deed to the property. You do not need to sign or accept the CC&Rs to be bound by them! You are automatically responsible upon accepting a deed to property controlled by CC&Rs.

Most CC&Rs even let the Board adopt extra rules they can make you follow! Those rules must be adopted and noticed according to the process in your community documents!

Can an AZ HOA Limit Which Members Can Join the Board?

Generally, no.  Every owner in the community automatically becomes a member upon accepting the deed to their property. Each member is entitled to the rights and bound by the obligations set forth in the CC&Rs. This includes the right to run for the Board, subject to existing restrictions set forth in the CC&Rs or Bylaws.  Some HOAs will require that a member be in good standing to run for the Board. All policies and processes to elect the board and govern the community need to take this into consideration.

Required Disclosures for AZ HOAs

Understanding disclosures and notifications is an important part of operating any planned community or HOA. These include but are not limited to providing adequate notice of all board meetings and disclose the meeting minutes, providing adequate notice before imposing fines, providing notice of adjusted assessment rates, responding to disclosure requests from its members, and providing an annual disclosure of the association budget and any changes to rules and regulations.  It is important that HOAs are transparent and keep the members updated.  

HOA Financial Responsibilities

Associations are often responsible for maintaining community property.  Board members are responsible for making decisions and giving direction on the management, allocation and accounting of community resources and assets. 

Understanding AZ HOA Laws and Rules

Every HOA board member should be willing to learn about the rules and laws that apply to planned communities and associations in their state.  We posted a recent article on the key details that every HOA board member in Arizona needs to know to do their job effectively and represent the community.

In Arizona, the Planned Communities Act, Arizona Condominium Act and the Nonprofit Corporations Act are the main governing statutes for HOAs.  These are important laws for every HOA board member to understand and make sure their board and community are staying in compliance.

Can an HOA in AZ be Represented by an HOA Law Firm?

Yes, HOAs as a whole can and should seek the representation of an experienced law firm to represent their collective interests.  HOAs routinely run into legal issues that will require the expertise of an experienced law firm to resolve.  Utilizing the services of an experienced law firm that specializes in representing associations and planned communities can help avoid exposure to many legal risks and an HOA law firm can address any claims that arise appropriately and expeditiously.

The complexities of the Planned Communities Act, Condominium Act and laws pertaining to non-profits are another important reason to rely on the legal expertise of a law firm that specializes in HOA representation.  While board members should understand these laws in Arizona, an HOA should not pretend like members will be legal experts because they read the statutes a few times.

The Brown Law Group only represents planned communities and associations in Arizona.  Our attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable on all things related to HOA governance and operation.  We assist HOAs with everything from assessment collection to covenant enforcement to litigation.  Our team can assist with every detail of operating a successful homeowners association in Arizona while avoiding many common legal pitfalls.  Contact us today at 602-952-6925 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment on our website here.

The Brown Law Group shares this article for informational purposes only and it does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Arizona HOA Laws

HOA Board Members Beware: How Can Arizona HOAs Deal with Problematic Homeowners

Even seasoned board members can be daunted by the most difficult part of their volunteerism, managing the owners. Many a meeting has fallen to chaos when the Board did not take management initiative. What started as an opportunity to share opinions and ideas became nothing more than an embittered imbroglio of discontent.

How is one to manage when there are those difficult people who make it their mission to complain at every turn? Who ruin any and every gathering by being persistently critical and oblivious no matter how many times you try to explain things patiently?

Not easily! We advise preemptive management that nips problems in the bud before they escalate. Here are a few management techniques we have tested and found true. We hope you find them true as well!

How Can an HOA in AZ Manage Difficult Owners:

  • Announce and rely on the same meeting procedures at every board session. Uniformity ensures that all members know what to expect and helps avoid confusion about how things will go.
  • Enforce all meeting procedures fairly and equally. It might feel easier to accommodate an aggressive member that insists the rules don’t apply to them, but stick by your guns!

  • Start each meeting with an owner forum and set a strict time limit. Any member wishing to speak may do so for up to a few minutes. Time each speaker and enforce the time limit. Don’t let arguments and debates derail your forum. Stay on schedule and then move on with your agenda. Stick by your guns!

  • Listen more, talk less (or not at all!). Ask the disgruntled member to explain their issue. Ask the member questions that demonstrate your critical listening skills. You will show that you’re genuinely interested in hearing what they have to say instead of just arguing against their thoughts. Most people simply want their concerns to be heard and to feel like the board is working towards a fair and informed solution.

  • Understand that HOA law and your community are complex, intricate, and detailed. Mistakes will be made. They are unavoidable. When they are discovered, take them by the horns and meet with whatever professional is needed to address and fix the mistake.

  • Adopt positive, assertive body language and attitude. Don’t be afraid to tell a joke if it will lighten the mood, but don’t expect witty banter to get you out of serious, and necessary, debates. Remember that confrontational arguments are expected be held without insults, threats, or aggression.

  • When calm courtesy and professionalism are of no impact, take bold action. Table that motion, postpone the vote, or adjourn the meeting. Reconvene when you are better able to manage the situation.

How Can an HOA in AZ Deal with More Serious Issues

Not all problems can be handled through deft management and administrative calendaring. Sometimes extraordinary action is necessary. Do you know your nearest police station? Fire department? Hospital? Do you have an accessible community manager or general counsel? Take time to locate nearby emergency resources and prepare general emergency plans and keep your community manager and general counsel in the loop. They have likely seen the problem you have, and may have an easy and ready solution for you.

Get the Assistance of an Arizona HOA Law Firm

If a confrontational member is consistently disrupting board meetings or general operations, then it is best to work with an experienced Arizona HOA law firm on your options.  Individual members that have unpaid association dues or continue to violate community rules are more straightforward to handle.  Those members that pay their dues and do not clearly violate CC&Rs present more difficult challenges for a board that simply wants to keep the association operating smoothly.  The Brown Law Group is exclusively an Arizona HOA law firm.  Our experienced attorneys only work with Arizona HOAs and condo associations.  We have worked with many HOAs to make sure that a few disgruntled members do not disrupt the community operations.  Contact us today at 602-952-6925 to make an appointment or schedule a meeting on our contact us page.

The Brown Law Group shares this article for informational purposes only and it does not create an attorney-client relationship.