In 2022, the Arizona legislature passed several bills affecting community associations, all of which are effective as of September 24, 2022.
House Bill 2158: Political Signs and Assemblies
The legislature amended laws related to political signs and assemblies, Arizona Revised Statutes §§33-1261 and 33-1808. This legislation applies to both planned communities and condominiums.
Association Specific Political Signs: This legislation allows owners to place signs on their property in support of or opposition to 1) candidates in a Board election, 2) a recall effort, or 3) ballot measures, such as amendments to the Governing documents. This will allow owners to become more politically involved in the community. The association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the placement, location, and manner of display of association-specific political signs, except that the association may not:
- Prohibit the display of association-specific political signs between the date that the association provides written or absentee ballots to members and three days after the vote.
- Limit the number of association-specific signs, except that the aggregate total dimensions of all association-specific signs may be limited to no more than nine square feet.
- Require association-specific signs to be commercially produced or professionally manufactured.
- Prohibit using both sides of the sign.
- Regulate the number of candidates supported or opposed in an election, the number of board members supported or opposed in a recall, or the number of ballot measures supported or opposed on an association-specific political sign.
- Regulate the content of an association-specific sign, except that an association may prohibit the use of profanity, discriminatory text, images, or content based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin as prescribed by federal or state fair housing laws.
Unfortunately, the ability to regulate profanity on non-association-specific political signs was not included in this new law. This law firm advises that an association encourage respectful political signs for all elections. This law firm advises that associations adopt the following statement of values regarding political signs:
STATEMENT OF VALUES
The Board values the divergent and different political beliefs and values seeing those beliefs in an atmosphere of mutual respect. To that end the Board asks the Members and Residents to join us in committing to not displaying signs that contain curse words, are intentionally offensive, or are obvious symbols of racial or religious oppression.
Right to Peacefully Assemble: This legislation prevents planned communities and condominiums from restricting a member’s ability to use the common areas of a planned community or the common elements of a condominium to peacefully assemble, if done in compliance with reasonable restrictions. Specifically, it provides that:
- That a member, or group of members, may assemble on the common areas/elements to discuss matters related to the association, including, but not limited to elections, recalls, potential or actual ballot issues, revisions to the governing documents, safety issues, or property maintenance.
- That a member may invite 1 political candidate or 1 non-member guest to speak at an assembly about matters related to the association.
- That the association shall not prohibit a member from posting notices regarding an assembly of members on bulletin boards located within the common areas/elements.
- That an assembly of members does not constitute an official members’ meeting unless it is properly noticed and convened pursuant to Arizona law and the governing documents.
The association may adopt reasonable restrictions that govern the assemblies. These may include permitted hours during which the assemblies may take place, proper security and event insurance, or preapproved locations for the assemblies, such as the clubhouse or pool area. The Brown Law Group is happy to assist with adopting a policy that complies with this new law.
House Bill 2010: First Responder Flags
The legislature amended Arizona Revised Statutes §33-1261 and §33-1808 to add certain first responder flags to the list of flags an association cannot prohibit an owner from displaying.
The Association cannot prohibit an owner from displaying 1) first responder flags, and 2) blue star service flags or gold star service flags. A first responder flag may incorporate the design of one or two other first responder flags to form a combined flag, for example, a flag that honors both the police and fire departments.
“First responder flag” is defined as one that recognizes and honors the services of 1) law enforcement, 2) fire departments, or 3) paramedics or emergency medical technicians. The specific requirements for each are below:
- Law Enforcement: Is limited to the colors blue, black and white, the words “law enforcement”, “police”, “officers”, “first responder”, “honor our”, “support our”, and “department”, and the symbol of a generic police shield in a crest or star shape.
- Fire Department: Is limited to the colors red, gold, black and white, the words “fire”, “fighters”, “F”, “D”, “FD”, “First Responder”, “department”, “honor our”, and “support our”, and the symbol of a generic Maltese cross.
- Paramedics or Emergency Medical Technicians: Is limited to the colors blue, black, and white, the words “first responder”, “paramedic”, “emergency medical”, “service”, “technician”, “honor our”, and “support our”, and the symbol of a generic star of life.
There are many types of first responder flags with varying designs and language. Associations may prohibit all first responder flags that do not conform to the above specifications. If any association is unsure whether a flag a member is displaying complies with the above statute, BLG is happy to evaluate the flag for compliance.
House Bill 2131: Artificial Turf
House Bill 2131 amends the Planned Community Act by adding section 33-1819 to prevent communities from prohibiting owners from installing artificial turf on their property. This section does not apply to condominiums.
This new law will help to preserve water by lowering water usage and costs. The association must allow artificial turf where natural grass is allowed. If natural grass is not permitted within the association, the association is not required to allow artificial turf. The association is permitted to create reasonable rules and regulations that govern the installation and quality of the artificial turf. Specifically, this new law provides that:
- If a planned community allows for natural grass, the association may not prohibit the installation of artificial turf.
- The association may adopt reasonable rules governing the installation and appearance of the artificial turf, but only if those rules do not prevent the installation of artificial turf in the same manner that natural grass would be allowed by the association.
- The association may adopt reasonable rules governing the location and the percentage of the property that may be covered with artificial turf to the same extent as natural grass. The association may also adopt rules governing the quality of the artificial turf.
- The association may require removal of artificial turf if it causes a health or safety issue that the owner fails to correct. The association may require replacement or removal of artificial turf if it is not maintained in accordance with the association’s maintenance standards.
- An association can prohibit the installation of artificial turf if: 1) it is installed in an area that the association maintains or irrigates–for example front yards of Lots– and 2) if an association prohibits the new installation of natural grass on an owner’s property, the association can also prohibit the new installation of artificial turf on an owner’s property, except that, an association may not prohibit a member from converting natural grass to artificial turf.
- If an owner files a lawsuit against the association for violating this new law, and the court finds in favor of the owner, the court will award reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to the owner.
- The law does not apply to associations that have unique vegetation or geologic characteristics that require preservation by the association and the viability of those characteristics is protected, supported, or enhanced as a result of the continued existence of natural landscaping materials.
House Bill 2275: Condominium Termination
This legislation amends Arizona Revised Statutes §33-1228 of the Condominium Act to update the percentage of members that most vote to terminate a condominium. This section does not apply to planned communities.
This legislation provides that an already existing condominium may only be terminated by the approval of 80% of the votes in the association, except:
- In the case of a taking of all of the units by eminent domain.
- If the declaration specifics a smaller percentage, but only if the units are restricted to non-residential uses.
This legislation provides that condominiums created on or after September 24, 2022 may only be terminated if 95% of the members vote in favor of the termination, or any larger percentage specified in the declaration.
Work with an Arizona HOA Law Firm
Following, establishing, and enforcing HOA rules and the law can be tricky. There are many factors to take into account. From keeping tabs on recent legislation that impacts your HOA to complying with state and federal laws to enacting protocols and objective enforcement policies, there are a long list of reasons why your association should be working with experienced HOA attorneys. Halk, Oetinger, and Brown is a leader in HOA representation in Arizona because it is our only practice area. We only represent associations and planned communities in Arizona. Schedule an initial consultation to review your HOA representation needs on our contact us page.