Arizona HOA Board Members

Tips for Improving HOA Rule Compliance

Homeowners associations play a crucial role in maintaining the visual appeal, functionality, and overall value of the communities they govern. However, it can sometimes be challenging to encourage members to adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the HOA. As an experienced HOA law firm, we understand this challenge and are here to help Arizona HOAs with some simple tips. In this blog, we will cover the best tips to improve HOA rule compliance and foster an environment that encourages all members to contribute to the betterment of the community.

Clear Communication

Ensure that your HOA’s rules and regulations are clearly communicated to all members. Provide them with a copy of the rules upon moving into the community and make it easily accessible online. Moreover, it’s essential to regularly remind members of the rules through newsletters, emails, or community meetings.  Finding simple ways to summarize the most important rules and sharing them with the community in multiple formats will help ensure that all members are aware of the rules.

Keep Rules Reasonable

HOA rules should be reasonable and necessary to maintain community standards. Avoid creating unnecessary or overly restrictive regulations that may lead to resentment among members. Review your rules periodically to ensure they remain relevant and fair.  It is also a good idea to regularly review the community rules and regulations with the community to gauge what rules might be getting pushback from members. For example, in a younger community with many children and families, a rule that prohibits basketball hoops may not fit the demographics of the community.

Foster a Sense of Community

A strong sense of community encourages members to follow the rules out of respect for their neighbors. Organize events, meetings, or social gatherings that allow residents to build relationships and connect with one another. A cohesive community is more likely to adhere to established guidelines.  HOA board members can only do so much.  It is important to encourage members to help other members understand and follow community rules and regulations. 

HOA Board Members Lead by Example

It might seem obvious, but HOA board members need to model the behavior they expect from the community. By adhering to the rules and maintaining a respectful and considerate attitude, board members can set a positive example for the rest of the community.  Board members should take special care to make sure they are adhering to the community rules and providing an example to other members.

Find Ways to Offer Positive Reinforcement

Recognize and acknowledge residents who consistently follow community rules. You may consider organizing an annual award ceremony or sending personal notes of appreciation to those who demonstrate exemplary adherence to the regulations. This will encourage a positive atmosphere where rule-following becomes a point of pride.  Even the simple act of taking the time to thank those active community members that set a good example for others and keep their property in great shape can go a long way towards encouraging the whole community to comply with the rules.

Enforce Rules Fairly and Consistently

One of the most critical aspects of rule enforcement for any HOA is consistency. Members should feel confident that the rules apply equally to everyone, including board members. If violations occur, address them promptly and fairly, following the procedures outlined in your governing documents.  Board members should take special care to address any potential violations or issues with the rules in a fair and consistent manner. 

Implement a Transparent Violation and Appeals Process

A well-defined violation and appeals process ensures fairness and transparency, which are vital to maintaining community trust. Clearly communicate the process to all members and ensure it is easily accessible. This will help members feel more comfortable in raising concerns and resolving issues in a timely manner.  HOA board members should take some time to regularly review the violation and appeals process with its HOA attorney to see if there are simple ways for the process to be improved or changed.

Provide Education and Training

Educate and train new board members on the importance of enforcing community rules and their role in the process. This will ensure that they are well-equipped to handle any situations that may arise during their tenure.  HOAs that leverage new technology can make this process simple and accessible for all members.  It has never been easier to create videos and guides that can be posted online for all members to access whenever they want.  A quick video from board members on why certain rules were created, how they are enforced, and where members can get any questions addressed can help all community members understand their role in making the neighborhood a better place to live.

Board Members Need to Be Open to Feedback

Encourage open dialogue and allow members to voice their concerns or suggestions regarding community rules. This will help you identify potential issues and make necessary adjustments. Being responsive to feedback demonstrates that the board values the input of community members.  When all community members feel included in the process and comfortable with the reasoning behind any rules or regulations, it will be substantially easier to get members to comply with the rules.  HOA board members that are approachable and open to feedback help give community members a true sense of ownership in the process.

Review HOA Rules and Regulations with an HOA Law Firm

Encouraging HOA members to follow community rules is a vital aspect of maintaining a harmonious and well-functioning neighborhood. By implementing these best practices, your HOA can create a positive environment where residents feel a sense of responsibility to adhere to community guidelines. Remember, clear communication, fairness, and fostering a sense of community are essential to achieving this goal.  Regularly reviewing your HOA rules and regulations with an experienced HOA law firm helps to make sure that your community is following local, state and federal laws, while also ensuring the rules are reasonable and enforceable.  Halk, Oetinger, and Brown only represents Arizona associations and planned communities.  Our firm can help make sure your rules and regulations are up to date and assist with a plan to encourage members to follow the HOA rules.  Schedule an initial consultation with our firm today by submitting the contact us form here.

Arizona HOA Laws

Understanding Kalway v. Calabria Ranch HOA

Kalway v. Calabria Ranch HOA LLC arose from a dispute between a homeowner, Maarten Kalway, and his homeowners association, Calabria Ranch HOA LLC.  Kalway is a case that affects all Arizona HOAs. The dispute was over amendments to the governing documents. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the Association did not provide proper notice to, or obtain consent from, Mr. Kalway. Ultimately, the Court ruled those provisions in the amendments that were not “reasonable and foreseeable” are invalid.

The conflict leading to the Kalway was extremely fact specific and unique to Calabria Ranch Estates.  Calabria Ranch Estates consists of only six lots, of which Kalway owned two.  The other four lot owners apparently conspired together to pass multiple amendments disproportionally affecting only Kalway’s much larger property.  Kalway received neither notice nor an opportunity to vote for or against the amendments.   Kalway was not aware that the other owners were making efforts to amend the declaration. 

Kalway argued that the amendments were invalid because he did not receive notice, and that unanimous consent was required for new provisions. The Supreme Court agreed and invalidated some amendments because they contained unreasonable provisions. The Court held that the original declaration must give sufficient notice of the possibility of a future amendment, and that didn’t occur in this case. So, for example, if there are no leasing provisions in the original declaration, the Members can’t amend the Declaration to add short-term leasing provisions without unanimous consent since it wasn’t foreseeable in the original declaration.

It is essential for Associations desiring to amend their declaration to obtain a legal opinion that carefully evaluates the proposed amendment for reasonableness and foreseeability. If, in the attorney’s legal opinion, the amendment is reasonable and foreseeable, the regular amendment provisions in the declaration apply. Those provisions are typically a majority of the Members, 67 percent of the Members, or 75 percent of the Members.

If the proposed amendment is not “reasonable or foreseeable” then a 100 percent vote of the Membership is required to add the amendment. It is clear that this holding puts the Members and the Arizona HOA attorneys in a perilous position. Attorneys will give more conservative advice simply to be safe since the attorney wants to protect the Association from litigation. However, obtaining a 100 percent vote of the Membership in most Associations is impossible.

As a practical matter, a complete amendment and restatement of the declaration in all but the smallest Associations is impossible. Associations may be able to amend their Declaration using the amendment provisions in the Declaration if the amendment is narrowly tailored and refers to existing provisions in the Declaration.

It is more important than ever for HOAs to have experienced legal representation that can assist with review of the current governing documents and help carefully draft proposed amendments that will stand up to a challenge based on the ruling in Kalway v. Calabria Ranch HOA.

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.