Legislative Updates

Legislative Update: CAI Arizona LAC Final Bill Tracking Report

As the end of the 2023 Legislative Session nears its end, Governor Hobbs has signed several pieces of legislation that affect planned communities and condominiums.  On April 18, 2023, Governor Hobbs signed legislation that regulates whether a planned community has the authority to regulate public streets within the community.  Find more details about that new law here.  The additional new laws are as follows:

Flag Display:  This new legislation applies to both planned communities and condominiums.  It provides that associations may not prohibit the display of any historic version of the American Flag, including the Betsey Ross Flag, without regard to how the stars and strips are arranged on the flag.  Under the current law, associations also may not prohibit the display of the American Flag, the POW/MIA flag, the Arizona State Flag, an Arizona Indian Nations Flag, the Gadsden Flag, a first responder flag, and a blue star or gold service flag. This law firm is happy to assist with determining if any flag displayed by an owner is protected by this statute.

Political Activity: This new legislation applies to both planned communities and condominiums.  It provides that, while an association may not prohibit door-to-door political activity, an association may prohibit a person who is not accompanied by a member or resident of the association from entering the association, if the association restricts vehicular or pedestrian access.  This will allow the association to require any person who wishes to conduct door-to-door political activity within a gated or otherwise closed community to be accompanied by a member or resident.  Currently, an association is also permitted to restrict political activity from sunset to sunrise, and to require identification tags for each person engaging in the activities, as well as the prominent display of the candidate or ballot issue.  This law firm is happy to assist with determining if a specific type of door-to-door political activity is permitted by this statute. 

Removal of Directors:  This new legislation applies to both planned communities and condominiums.  It is related to the process by which the members may vote to remove a director from the Board.  Currently, upon receipt of a petition calling for the removal of a director signed by 25% of the members in an association with 1,000 or less members, or by the lesser of 10% or 1,000 members in an association with more than 1,000 members, the Board must call, notice, and hold a special meeting to vote on the removal within 30 days of receipt of the petition.  This new law provides that if a valid petition is received, and the Board fails to call, notice, and hold the special meeting within 30 days of receipt of the petition, the members of the Board shall be deemed to have been removed from office effective at midnight of 31st day.  Under current law, there is no penalty for a failure to hold the meeting within the statutory timeline. This new law will require Boards to act promptly upon receipt of a valid petition.  If any association receives a petition calling for the removal of a director or directors, this law firm is happy to assist with ensuring that the Board conforms to the statutory timeline, as well as preparing the necessary documents for the special meeting.

The Brown Law Group routinely assists Arizona planned communities and condominium associations with reviews of how new legislation could impact their community.  Schedule an initial consultation on our contact us page to meet with one of our experienced HOA attorneys.

Association Legal News Legislative Updates

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Arizona HOAs and Public Streets

On April 18, 2023, Governor Hobbs signed legislation that regulates whether a planned community has the authority to regulate publics streets within the community.  The law does not apply to condominiums. This new law will go into effect 91 days after the legislative session concludes.

Under current law, planned communities have the authority to regulate the public streets within the association if the community’s declaration was recorded before and including December 31, 2014.  Planned communities in which the declaration was recorded after December 31, 2014 may not enforce public street parking, even if allowed by the governing documents. 

This new law provides that, for any planned community for which the declaration was recorded before January 1, 2015, and that currently regulates the public streets, the community may no longer regulate the public streets unless:

  1. The association calls a meeting of the membership no later than June 30, 2025.  The purpose of the meeting is vote on the question of whether to continue to regulate the public streets within the community.  If the number of owners voting at the meeting constitutes a quorum of the membership, and a majority of the votes cast are in favor of continuing to regulate the public streets, the community may continue to regulate and enforce violations on the public streets.  The Board of Directors must then record a notice confirming that the association will continue to regulate the public streets in the county recorder’s office. 
  1. If the vote fails, or the community declines to hold a vote, the association will no longer have the authority to regulate the public streets within the association. 

This law does not apply to public one-way streets.  It also does not apply to any private streets within planned communities. Associations may continue to regulate private roadways and enforce violations of the governing documents. 

This law firm recommends that any planned community for which the declaration was recorded before January 1, 2015, and that currently regulates public streets within the community begin discussing whether it wishes to continue to regulate the public streets.  Boards may consider sending out a survey to its members to gauge interest in continuing to regulate public streets.  If any community wishes to continue to regulate the public streets it must call a meeting to vote on the matter no later than June 30, 2025.  Associations should keep this deadline in mind.  This law firm is happy to assist with reviewing the governing documents, the voting documents, and if passed, the notice to be recorded with the county recorder.

Schedule an initial consultation with the firm to review how this legislation could impact your association using the form on our contact us page here.

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.  The Brown Law Group 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.  The Brown Law Group 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.

Arizona HOA Laws

Arizona Legislative Update for 2022

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:


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:

  1. In the case of a taking of all of the units by eminent domain.
  2. 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.  The Brown Law Group 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.

Arizona HOA Laws

How To Properly Establish and Enforce Parking Rules in an Arizona HOA

As an HOA you need to ensure that you have provided means by which the cars in your communities are adequately regulated in order to achieve cohesion between homeowners. While many HOAs already have these parking rules in effect, some may not realize that their rules do not comply state and federal law or may not be specific enough to properly oversee the conduct of vehicle owners in the community. This article will outline how to properly establish and enforce parking rules in an Arizona HOA.

Establishing HOA Parking Laws in Arizona

HOAs will find it useful to educate themselves on the HOA parking rules in Arizona. They will be adequately equipped with understanding the kinds of rules they can establish in their communities. Restricting parking conduct will more than likely create a defensive homeowner or two so understanding what you as an HOA Board are allowed to do to handle parking incidents can be the decision that saves you from a lawsuit from disgruntled homeowners.

The first step is for your HOA board understands the local administrative control on public roads as well as the commercial and residential HOA parking rules as the boundaries within which you can establish parking laws. Then your HOA board will need to ensure that the HOA parking policies are conveyed to the community with specific details and clear, concise language.

Using vague language or sentences that can be interpreted in several ways will pose an issue when confronting parking violators. The specific jargon to use when creating policies is usually best handled by a seasoned Arizona HOA law firm to ensure that your policies are airtight and difficult to be misunderstood.

Arizona Residential Parking Laws

There are three main categories of residential parking laws an Arizona HOA board should focus on:

  • Parking Locations
  • Abandoned Vehicles
  • Prohibited Vehicles

Arizona HOA Rules on Parking Locations

The rules governing parking locations will vary depending on the layout of each HOA community. Some communities may have rules which mandate that each homeowner should park in their driveways while others may establish that each homeowner, sometimes their visitors as well, are assigned parking spots. It is important to adopt rules that do not conflict with the CC&Rs.

In addition to establishing where homeowners should park, it needs to specify the areas in the community that they are not allowed to park which may be: a) in front of another homeowner’s house b) in front of communal areas and b) on the streets in the community.

If your HOA community consists of both private and public roads, your authority to establish where HOA homeowners park may be limited to only the private roads in the community according to A.R.S. §33-1818, prohibiting Arizona HOAs in which the CC&Rs were recorded after 2014 from regulating how public roads in the community are used for parking. With the guidance of an HOA law firm, you will be able to understand whether the use of public roads can be legally regulated by the HOA board.

Arizona HOA Rules on Abandoned Vehicles

To ensure that homeowners don’t end up leaving abandoned vehicles parked in the community, HOAs may devise regulations for cars to be parked on the streets at a specified amount of time. extend to any vehicle including motorboats, trailers, or RVs. An HOA may also adopt rules that prevent unregistered or inoperable vehicles from being parked in the streets.

Arizona HOA Rules on Prohibited Vehicles

Your parking policy can also specify the types of cars that are allowed to park in the community. Vehicle attributes that they can specify include, but are not limited to, trailers, boats, un-drivable, junk vehicles, and RVs. Associations have the right to protect their community’s appearance.

All of these restrictions will need to be placed in the CC&R so that the homeowners would have had a chance to look at these rules before agreeing to purchase property in the community.

Enforcing HOA Parking Rules in Arizona

In the same manner that the scope in which HOAs can regulate the use of roads depending on whether these roads are private or public, HOAs’ authority to enforce these parking rules is also contingent on this variable.

On private streets, HOAs are authorized to enforce parking rules by means of fining violators, or in some cases, towing vehicles. 

Towing of Vehicles in Arizona

Most states, including Arizona, permit HOAs to tow vehicles that violate the community’s parking policy. For instance, if a homeowner should park in a location that was established in the policy as prohibited, then HOAs will have authority to tow the vehicle out of the community which will also be reported to the local traffic law enforcement.

It is best to speak with an HOA attorney before enforcing parking rules in this way as there may have been steps, including appropriate signage and warnings, that could be taken before ultimately having to tow a homeowner’s property, potentially saving you the hassle of having to deal with disgruntled drivers filing lawsuits against the HOA board.

Work With An Arizona Law Firm That Specializes in Representing HOAs

As you may have noticed, establishing and enforcing parking policies in an HOA may be a bit tricky as there are many factors and federal laws to consider when organizing these rules. In order to ensure that your rules are established within the confines of state and federal laws and that these rules are overall reasonable, you will need the assistance of an experienced Arizona law firm that can guide you through the process. The Brown Law Group is a leader in HOA representation in Arizona because it’s our sole area of practice. Schedule an initial consultation to review your HOA representation needs on our contact us page.

Arizona HOA Board Members

It’s Time to Implement Best Practices for HOA Cyber Security

There is no question that digital solutions and online platforms can save tons of time for homeowners associations.  Every paper process that can be replaced with a digital solution is probably worth exploring.  The only problem with online solutions versus traditional paper document storage is the increased risk for hacks that put member and association information at risk.  For all those HOAs that have moved into the digital age, it is vital to have strategies for keeping all your essential data as secure as possible.  Here are some key details on the best practices for HOA cyber security.

Review All Association Data

Any good cyber security plan needs to include all the key points of data and where exactly it is stored.  If your HOA has not taken a recent inventory of all potentially vulnerable data and platforms utilized by the association, here are a few things to make sure you have all key details summarized:

  • Online bank account(s)
  • Credit card account(s)
  • HOA employment records
  • Payroll management systems
  • HOA management company portal
  • Online document storage
  • Online signature and contract management
  • Contact management system
  • Website host
    • Include list of all administrators
  • Email provider/platform
    • Include any additional access points like phones, IMTP third party programs

Outsource the IT Department

Few, if any, associations can afford to have an in-house IT department and it would be an unnecessary expense in nearly all cases.  There are excellent IT firms that specialize in providing their clients with all the tools and resources to overcome any IT challenges or issues.  These firms can assist with implementing the best practices and provide real-time assistance if anything happens. They are also experienced with stress testing existing systems for any vulnerabilities and monitoring all third-party systems being utilized for any known hacks.  An experienced outside IT team can assist with selecting the best systems to meet your needs and responding quickly to any potential issues.

Draft and Implement a Cyber Security Policy

Every HOA needs a cyber security policy in place to make sure the board of directors and members are aware of the processes and policies being used to protect their private data and association accounts.  A quality cyber security policy should include specific security risks and the process in place to protect against those risks.  This is a good practice for quickly addressing any breaches of security or data.  It also helps protect the association against claims of negligence should any hack or data breach occur.  Start with the assumption that even the most secure systems can be hacked and define the process to mitigate potential issues as quickly as possible.

A forward-looking cyber security policy will address specific data and systems that require protective measures and what kind of liability insurance is required to cover potential risks.  It should detail who has access to which systems and data.  The policy should also cover the process the HOA will take to dispose of any old data or documents.  Working through this process in detail can help identify current systems that need to be updated and data/documents that require additional security measures. 

Utilize Best Security Protocols

One of the aspects of a strong HOA cyber security policy is standardizing the appropriate protocols for all key systems.  This should start with making sure that strong passwords are used for every online system or account.  It should also detail how often these passwords will be updated and how all required parties will get access to the updated passwords.  As more HOAs move most processes online, there is a need to monitor what devices have access to key systems and make sure there are protocols in place to grant or revoke access as needed.  This same process should identify and detail what software systems are used by the association and set reminders for any required updates.  Most software updates address any bugs or security risks that must be performed to keep your data secure.

Consider All Legal Obligations

Associations and planned communities have detailed obligations to represent their members interests, and this includes protecting all their personal information.  Since HOAs will have access to a lot of personal information, like full name, address, phone number, social security number and more, it is vital to make sure that all your cyber security policies, software usage, and online data storage are in line with the legal obligations to your members.  This is an area of your cyber security policies and protocols that should be reviewed with an HOA law firm.

At the Brown Law Group, we only represent Arizona associations and planned communities.  We can assist with drafting a cyber security policy and security protocols to make sure they address all legal obligations to your members.  Schedule an initial consultation with our team of experienced attorneys today by submitting a message on our contact us page.

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

Arizona HOA Laws

Arizona Prop 209: The Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act and How It Impacts Arizona HOAs

Arizona Proposition 209, otherwise known as the “Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act,” will directly impact homeowners associations and planned communities.  Prop 209 states that an HOA will be limited in its ability to garnish a delinquent owners’ earnings or bank account. This is especially important for board members to understand as garnishment can be a useful tool in collecting delinquent assessments. To help Arizona HOAs understand the implications of Prop 209, we put together this simple guide to the new legislation.

Arizona Proposition 209 Details

As a result of Arizona Prop 209 passing, HOAs will need to understand the following key points:

  • Creditors can no longer garnish the wages or bank accounts of almost half of the population of Arizona.
  • As a result, more HOAs will foreclose on its liens, causing members to pay more to resolve the debt, or to potentially lose their homes
  • With HOAs filing more often for assessment lien foreclosures to make up for their increased collection-related expenses and the risk that the HOA may not recover all of its delinquent assessments, HOAs will likely need to increase the annual assessments.

Wage Garnishments

Arizona law previously allowed 25% of disposable earnings to be garnished in order to satisfy judgments. With the passage of Prop 209, only 10% of disposable income can be garnished for debt collection. If anyone currently earns $51,000 or less per year, their wages cannot be garnished. This will limit Arizona HOAs’ ability to garnish wages because, according to a recent study by Phoenix Community and Economic Development, 41% of Arizonans make $50,000 or less annually.

Bank Garnishments

Arizona law previously provided that each individual can protect $300 per bank account from bank garnishments. If two people own the same bank account, they can protect $600. With Prop 209 going into effect, under the new law, each bank account holder can protect $5,000 per bank account from bank garnishments. If two people own the account, then they would be able to hold onto $10,000.

Homestead Exemption

Arizona law previously provided that $250,000 is protected from general creditors as a homestead exemption. Prop 209 increases that to $400,000. When an owner sells their house, judgments for fines will not be paid from escrow unless there is more than $400,000 in equity in the home.

Personal Property Exemptions

In accordance with the current law, $6,000 of personal items/household goods are shielded from debt collection. Prop 209 provides that $15,000 of personal items/household goods are protected from debt collection.

Keeping up with new and updated laws is a time-consuming and frustrating process. You can create legal issues for your HOA and put it in a vulnerable position by not being prepared for these new laws. Being proactive and working with a law firm specializing in Arizona HOA representation is essential. With solid planning and simple adjustments to internal procedures, most associations and planned communities can avoid common legal pitfalls.

The Brown Law Group represents planned communities and associations in Arizona and helps them to avoid as many of these common issues as possible. Our experienced attorneys routinely help associations with all their legal needs, including explaining new laws and how they can affect your HOA. Our firm can help your association make the necessary adjustments for Arizona Prop 209 and any other new legislation that might impact normal operations.  Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation on our contact us page.

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

Arizona HOA Board Members

How to Effectively Handle and Avoid Most Negative News Coverage as an Arizona HOA

Whenever you see a story on the news about an HOA, the odds of it being positive are low. As a board member of an HOA in Arizona, your instinct kicks in, and you want to know what they are doing wrong. So, you jump on your laptop, conduct research on HOA Arizona bylaws or PR strategies for board members, but immediately hit a brick wall because you don’t know where to start.  We put together this article to help any HOA define a strategy to avoid negative press coverage and respond to any unforeseen issues that might arise.  Here is how to effectively handle and avoid most negative new coverage as an Arizona HOA. 

Crafting a PR Strategy for an HOA

Setting up a system to keep HOAs out of the news in Arizona is not easy. It is important to work with an HOA law firm in Arizona that can assist in crafting enforceable and equitable rules and regulations and policies adhering to Arizona law.  This should be a priority for any HOA that has not reviewed their rules and regulations or policies in a while.  Routine reviews with an HOA attorney of your governing documents and future plans for the community can help avoid most bad press coverage for your HOA.

Understanding Common Causes of Bad Press Coverage for an HOA

It’s obviously better if your HOA can be proactive and locate any rules, regulations, policies, or maintenance or financial plans that could create issues or controversies down the road.  Avoiding those issues starts with a clear understanding of what types of practices are leading to the news coverage.  Typically, they involve unfair or unreasonable rules, lack of understanding, petty rule implementation, and discrimination.

Reviewing bad coverage of other HOAs in your state and around the country is useful for board members and anyone that lives in a planned community or association.  Many of these common issues can be avoided with clear, concise communication from the board to all members that demonstrates the value of the HOA and plans for the community.

Ten Steps for Effective HOA Strategies That Help Avoid Bad Press Coverage

1) Consistency is Key

From a practical sense, keeping your interactions with all members consistent should lead to better outcomes and happier members.  For a legal sense, policies need to be practiced and implemented fairly and on a nonselective basis. No one gets a free pass. Enforce  rules and policies without exception fairly and consistently and your HOA will avoid many common legal issues and bad press coverage.

2) Clearly Define the Master Plan and Steps to Get There

HOAs can add lots of value for all the members if they get the majority of members on the same page. Board members have an easier job if they get members on the same page as much as possible.  Ultimately, an HOA is tasked with making sure residents have access to a clean and well-maintained community that increases in value year over year.  Setting targets and goals for the community and getting members behind the plan will make everyone’s experience better.

3) Communication, Communication and More Communication

An HOA has a duty to keep their members informed of all major decisions and plans. This includes any updates the annual budget or any service provider changes. Furthermore, any disciplinary actions should be followed with clear and concise communication.

4) Be Accountable to Members

HOAs run by board members that try to make changes, big and small, on their own without significant backing of their members are a common source of news coverage and contentious legal issues.  Rules, regulations, and strategic plans that promote fairness and receive majority support of the members is always advisable.  Adding significant accountability and measures to detail responsibilities will always help avoid ever getting to a place where your HOA is on the local news.

5) Utilize Creative and Professional Expertise

Finding ways to leverage the knowledge and experience of professionals with knowledge of best business practices and accounting expertise helps put your HOA in a place where it is financially secure by the end of the year.  This can also help avoid the common trap of always raising fees to address shortfalls.  Creative professionals can typically find practical ways to cut costs or improve outcomes with the existing costs.

6) Handling Inevitable Conflicts

Conflicts and arguments will naturally happen in any HOA.  People will genuinely disagree on the best way to solve a problem or improve the community.  Encouraging regular discourse and airing of these issues is important for the long-term success of any community.  It will also help get in front of many common issues before they rise to a level that might get some bad press coverage.  Hosting regular transparent association meetings and community events that involve all members is both practical and essential to this goal.

7) Lead by Example

Effective HOA board members set a good example by collaborating with the residents in a respectful and civil manner.  They encourage open and clear communication that addresses real issues, challenges, and risks directly.  Many common issues could have been handled with direct communication and an open process to decide resolutions before they rose to a level that presented real risks to the members.

8) Proactively Defusing Potentially Bad Situations

There will be times when things will get out of hand and having to defuse the situation may be the only plan. In that case, do not dismiss or belittle any of the concerns or objections coming from the people. Respect is shown when you give people an opportunity to express their opinions. It might seem like common sense, but it’s important to remember that allowing each member to have their voice heard will likely help craft a better short-term solution and long term sense of community.

9) Stay Focused on the Main Goal of an HOA

The main purpose of an HOA is to protect the property value of its homes. It’s not there to protect a government body or a place to solve political problems. Board members typically have the most success when they make their best effort to be unbiased, talk openly, and hone their knowledge of their duties.

10) Being Tech Savvy Can Help

Social media is a must in today’s environment. It can improve communication and simplify keeping all members informed and involved.  While you can’t control what your residents are posting on social media, you can certainly define some guidelines as to how social media would be used to communicate information pertaining to the HOA’s meetings, events, parties, and gatherings.  This does not have to involve a lot of effort or work to keep some online channels for community engagement.  Simple and practical sharing of key information is a great place to start moving into the digital age.

Work with a Law Firm That Specializes in HOA Representation

Any kind of controversial media coverage for an HOA can become time-consuming and frustrating as you attempt to deal with it.  It can also create legal issues for some types of coverage that will require a measured and professional response.  One of the main reasons to be proactive and work with a law firm that specializes in Arizona HOA representation is many serious legal pitfalls and common issues can be avoided with better planning and execution of key initiatives.  The Brown Law Group only works with planned communities and associations in Arizona.  Our experienced attorneys routinely help associations with all their legal needs, including controversial media coverage.  We assist our clients with planning and strategies to avoid most of these types of issues whenever possible as well.  Contact our team today at 602-952-6925 or schedule an initial consultation 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.

Arizona HOA Board Members

6 Essential Tips for HOA Directors to Consider When Selecting a Management Company

Finding the right HOA management company is one of the most important things the Board of directors can do to make sure their community is well run.  An HOA management company takes on many of the day-to-day responsibilities of running the association. Directors serving on the Board are volunteers, and often have their own careers. An HOA management company allows the Board to delegate the day-to-day operations and focus on what really matters. This typically covers helping the Board enforce the community’s covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) and assisting with communications between the Board and homeowners.  Before the HOA Board hires a new company or replaces your current one, here are the seven essential tips for HOA directors to consider when selecting an HOA management company in Arizona.

  • Establish Bid and Review Criteria

First, the Board should establish the criteria that will be used for the bidding and review process.  The Board should all the responsibilities and jobs that will be delegated to the HOA management company.  Will they be complementing existing enforcement and communication efforts by the Board?  Or will they take over as much of those day-to-day tasks as possible?  Creating a detailed proposal and needs assessment will help ensure your bid request is accurate and assess which companies are worth contacting.

The second thing to consider before creating your request for a quote is how you will review and judge the received bids.  There are some situations where budget limitations will make pricing most important.  In other cases, their level of service and current client testimonials will hold the most weight.

  • Create the Request for Proposal (RFP)

Take the criteria established by the Board and turn it into a simple template that includes all the most important points that need to be addressed by any potential HOA management company.  This invites them to submit a complete breakdown of their services and address the specific needs of your community in their proposal.  This can be viewed as an initial test of the company’s responsiveness and attention to detail.  If they fail to address some of the specific questions or needs outlined in the RFP, that is likely a sign they will not be able to provide the level of service required.

Creating an RFP also makes it easy to send out to any management companies that might be a fit, instead of forcing an individual Board member or two to reach out to these companies one by one.  It also provides an opportunity for the Board to get on the same page about expected services, key pain points, and proposed budgeting.

  • Track and Review All Proposal Submissions

Once the Board has sent off RFPs to any potential HOA management companies, you should give them a few weeks to follow up with any additional questions and draft their proposal.  The Board should then meet to review the RFPs. This is an opportunity to review the criteria established for selecting the best option and narrow down the best few proposals to schedule follow up interviews.

  • Interview Management Companies with Best Proposals

If your HOA has followed these steps and taken time to determine your needs, there should be just a few companies that stand out based on your priorities.  These HOA management companies that submitted proposals will expect a short interview to be a part of the process.  It can be helpful to do these interviews over the phone or virtually to save time for everyone involved.  Before conducting the interviews, the Board should establish a list of questions that must be addressed by each potential management company.  There are likely to be general questions for all interviews and specific questions from certain proposals.

  • Review HOA Management Contracts

Ask any of the management companies that you have included in your final potential selections to submit their contract for services.  The contract can be vital to the final decisions.  It is not uncommon to find some surprises or restrictive language in a particular contract that makes the final decision much easier for the Board.  Once you have received the proposed contracts, have a law firm that specializes in HOAs review each of them and highlight any potential areas of concern.  An experienced HOA attorney will likely be able to find parts of the contract that will be more or less favorable to your community needs.  They can also help spot contracts that could include unexpected costs.

  • Final Assessments Before Selecting an HOA Management Company 

After all interviews have taken place, the Board should review what was learned during the interviews.  This is a good opportunity to establish whether there is a clear favorite or a few potentials still left.  If there are multiple companies being considered, it can be a good time to request an opportunity to speak with a current client or two from each potential management company.  A company not willing to provide some access to a current client or detail some testimonials of their expertise and client care might point to some potential problems down the road.

At the Brown Law Group, we specialize in representing Arizona homeowners associations and planned communities.  We routinely work closely with HOA management companies throughout the state and have helped many of our clients find the best fit for their needs.  Our firm can assist with every step of the process in finding the right HOA management company.  Call us today at 602-952-6925 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment on the contact us page of our site.

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