Arizona HOA Laws

Best Practices for Disaster Preparedness and Response in Arizona HOAs

In Arizona, where natural disasters such as wildfires and floods are not uncommon, an effectively tailored emergency response plan is imperative for Homeowners Associations (HOAs) to safeguard lives, properties, and maintain order amidst chaos. These plans are critical in reducing confusion, preventing unnecessary expenses, and minimizing the risks of fraud during and after a disaster. Specifically for Arizona HOAs, the disaster preparedness and response landscape demands a proactive approach to identify potential threats and establish comprehensive disaster recovery strategies tailored to each identified risk. Optimizing these strategies for disaster preparedness, emergency management, and leveraging community resources are essential steps toward ensuring the safety and security of residents.

Assessing Potential Disasters for Arizona HOAs

As we explore the process of fortifying Arizona’s HOAs for disaster preparedness, it is crucial to first conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the risks involved. This initial phase employs a thorough and varied methodology.

  • Identifying Potential Threats: Begin by creating a prioritized list of all possible emergencies, such as earthquakes, floods, fires, and pandemics, specific to the Arizona environment. For each identified disaster, document a worst-case scenario alongside potential solutions, ensuring a well-rounded preparedness strategy.
  • Infrastructure and Legal Considerations: Given the responsibility of HOAs in maintaining essential infrastructure like drainage systems and landscaping, regular audits are crucial. Moreover, understanding the legal landscape, including the Fair Housing Act and state laws, is vital to navigate potential litigation related to unpaid assessments or violations of CC&Rs and bylaws effectively.
  • Community Engagement and Collaboration: Engaging with residents about risks and preparedness plans is as important as collaborating with local authorities. This dual approach enhances the effectiveness of flood management strategies and provides access to additional resources and funding.

In addition to the above steps, HOAs must focus on several critical areas to fortify their disaster preparedness and response capabilities:

  • Emergency Response Team and Plans: Establish a dedicated team and develop comprehensive plans that include communication, evacuation, shelter-in-place strategies, and resource management.
  • Training, Education, and Continuous Improvement: Regular training sessions and educational programs for residents and the emergency response team are essential. Equally important is the commitment to testing and refining these plans through continuous improvement efforts.
  • Insurance, Financial Planning, and Legal Compliance: Ensure adequate insurance coverage, understand liability in disaster scenarios, and set aside funds through loans or special assessments for emergency responses. Compliance with state laws and regulations, including those specific to emergency response, is non-negotiable to avoid legal consequences and ensure community safety.

Through addressing these areas, Arizona HOAs can build a robust framework for disaster preparedness and response, tailored to their unique community needs and the challenges posed by the local climate and legal environment.

Creating a Comprehensive Disaster Preparedness Plan

Developing a detailed and thorough disaster preparedness strategy for Homeowners Associations (HOAs) in Arizona requires a meticulously structured approach that covers all facets of emergency readiness and response. This plan should integrate a variety of safety measures, risk assessment techniques, and crisis management tools to ensure that residents are well protected in the event of natural disasters or other emergencies.

Key components of this comprehensive strategy include establishing clear communication channels, formulating evacuation procedures, and conducting regular safety drills. Additionally, it is vital to collaborate with local emergency services and to keep all emergency plans updated and relevant to the specific risks associated with the region. This holistic approach to disaster preparedness will not only safeguard the physical infrastructure of the community but also enhance the resilience and security of its residents.

Coordination and Implementation

  • Engage with Experts: Collaborate with professionals experienced in developing disaster plans and managing emergency events. Their expertise can provide invaluable insights into creating a robust preparedness strategy.
  • Formalize the Plan: After finalizing the disaster preparedness plan, it’s crucial to adopt and implement it with formal training at the board level. This ensures that everyone understands their role and the procedures to follow during an emergency.
  • Continuous Review: Regularly review the plan to ensure it remains current and reflective of the community’s immediate needs. This may involve updating contact information, resources, and procedures as the community evolves.

Components of the Disaster Preparedness Plan

  • Comprehensive Documentation: Include critical elements such as a communication plan, emergency contacts, a detailed site plan, evacuation routes, copies of insurance policies, and a clear response or recovery strategy.
  • Customization: Tailor the emergency plan to fit the unique characteristics of the association, considering factors like resident demographics and special features of the property.
  • Community Education: Educate residents on how to respond to various disasters, including natural and man-made emergencies. This can range from earthquakes and floods to active shooter scenarios.

Practical Steps for Preparation and Response

Emergency Action Steps:

  • Construct a site plan highlighting essential infrastructure points like lift stations and shut-off valves.
  • Develop an evacuation plan with clear maps to shelters and list generator-powered gas stations and stores for essential supplies.
  • Establish standard procedures for different emergency situations and provide clear instructions for debris management.
  • Identify a designated meeting place for post-disaster check-ins and ensure all important contact information is easily accessible.

Insurance and Financial Preparedness:

  • Keep updated copies of all insurance policies and understand the process for filing claims.
  • Set aside funds specifically for emergency-related expenses and familiarize the board with the claims process.

Regular Drills and Updates:

  • Conduct regular drills to test the plan, encouraging feedback from residents to refine and improve the procedures.
  • Establish mutual aid agreements and participate in regional emergency coordination to enhance the community’s preparedness and response capabilities.

By adhering to these guidelines, Arizona HOAs can create a disaster preparedness plan that not only minimizes damage and disruption but also provides a clear path to recovery and rebuilding in the aftermath of a disaster.

Implementing Emergency Response Strategies

Implementing emergency response strategies within Arizona Homeowners Associations (HOAs) is a critical aspect of disaster preparedness and response.

Key Roles and Communication Channels:

  • The HOA board president typically serves as the initial point of contact in an emergency, streamlining communication and decision-making processes.
  • Essential contacts should include the property manager, attorney, local authorities, and insurance provider, ensuring all bases are covered from legal to logistical concerns.
  • Designating a primary and secondary point of contact for communications is crucial, alongside developing templates for various platforms to expedite message dissemination.

Strategic Coordination and Safety Measures:

  • A management company can provide invaluable training and experience in handling disasters, offering an extra layer of expertise and support.
  • Establishing a safe location for residents to gather for important updates is vital, ensuring everyone knows where to go for information and assistance.
  • Collaboration with local authorities and professional contractors is essential to assess damages and confirm the safety of the area before allowing residents to return home.

Community Education and Financial Preparedness:

  • Educating residents on their roles during different disasters is key to a successful response, ensuring everyone knows what to do and where to go.
  • Maintaining an updated operating budget with an adequate emergency fund is crucial, allowing for immediate access to resources needed for recovery and repair.
  • Regular drills and updates to the emergency plan, based on feedback and evolving community needs, ensure preparedness measures remain effective and comprehensive.

Implementing these strategies not only protects lives and property but also fulfills legal requirements and ensures a coordinated response in times of crisis. Establishing a clear communication chain, maintaining up-to-date contact information, and investing in reliable communication tools are foundational steps towards a resilient community ready to face emergencies head-on.

Recovery and Damage Assessment

In the aftermath of a disaster, Arizona HOAs play a pivotal role in the recovery and damage assessment process.

Pre-Approved Vendors and Community Support:

  • List of Pre-Approved Vendors: Maintain an up-to-date list of pre-approved vendors for immediate mobilization. This ensures quick and reliable service for physical recovery efforts.
  • Community Helpers: Compile a database of residents who can aid those in need, such as the elderly or handicapped, and those with skills beneficial in recovery efforts. This fosters a sense of community and ensures everyone has the support they need.

Essential Documents and Key Contacts:

  • Securely store essential documents and a list of key contacts in an easily accessible, yet secure location. This includes insurance policies, vendor contracts, and emergency contact numbers. Quick access to these documents is crucial for a swift response and recovery process.

Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) and Digital Damage Surveys:

  • Conducting PDAs: Follow a structured approach involving local damage assessment, state or tribal verification, joint PDA planning, conducting the joint PDA, and requesting a disaster declaration. This comprehensive assessment determines the magnitude of damage and impact, guiding the recovery strategy.
  • Digital Damage Surveys: Utilize digital damage surveys available for state, local, tribal, and territorial partners during the Initial Damage Assessment (IDA) process. These tools, including FEMA’s damage assessment survey templates and the Field Assessment and Collection Tools (FACT) System, streamline the assessment process.
  • Damage Assessment Training and Resources: Engage in Preliminary Damage Assessment Training and make use of Public Assistance (PA) and Individual Assistance (IA) Resources. This ensures the HOA is well-prepared to assess and respond to damage accurately.

In addition to this, establishing a Local Damage Assessment Planning Team and outlining a damage assessment plan are initial steps towards effective recovery. This plan should include gathering information, determining plan components and assumptions, identifying damage assessment zones, establishing local standards, and procedures for maintaining the plan. By adhering to these guidelines, Arizona HOAs can ensure a structured and efficient recovery process, minimizing the impact of disasters on their communities and facilitating a quicker return to normalcy.

Budgeting for Disasters and Recovery

In the context of disaster preparedness and response for Arizona HOAs, budgeting for disasters and recovery is a critical component that requires careful planning and strategic financial management.

Establishing an Emergency Fund

  • Initial Funding: Start by allocating a portion of the HOA’s current budget to an emergency fund. This could be a percentage of the monthly fees or a fixed amount set aside each month.
  • Long-term Contributions: Implement a policy for regular contributions to this fund, ensuring it grows over time and is capable of covering unexpected expenses.
  • Investment Strategy: Consider investing a portion of the emergency fund in low-risk financial instruments that offer liquidity and stability, ensuring funds can be accessed quickly when needed.

Insurance Review and Adjustments

  • Comprehensive Coverage: Regularly review insurance policies to ensure they cover all potential disasters specific to Arizona, such as wildfires and floods. This includes property damage, liability, and loss of income insurance.
  • Deductibles and Premiums: Evaluate the trade-off between higher deductibles and lower premiums to optimize coverage while managing costs effectively.
  • Special Assessments Insurance: Investigate the feasibility of obtaining special assessments insurance, which can cover the costs not included in the standard policy, minimizing financial impact on residents.

Financial Planning for Recovery

  • Reserve Study: Conduct a reserve study to identify and anticipate future repairs and replacements, integrating these findings into the disaster recovery budget.
  • Grants and Aid: Explore eligibility for federal and state grants, loans, and aid programs that can provide financial assistance in the aftermath of a disaster.
  • Contract Negotiations: Pre-negotiate contracts with vendors for post-disaster services, securing favorable terms and ensuring swift action when needed.

By implementing these strategies, Arizona HOAs can establish a solid financial foundation that supports comprehensive disaster preparedness and response efforts. This approach not only safeguards the community’s assets but also ensures a quicker and more efficient recovery process, minimizing the financial strain on residents and the association alike.

Training and Drills

HOA board members play a crucial role in ensuring community safety during disasters. They must be well-versed in their responsibilities, the specifics of their insurance coverage, and the steps to take in various emergency scenarios.

Regular Drills and Training Sessions:

  • Conduct drills at least twice a year to simulate different disaster scenarios, such as wildfires, floods, or earthquakes.
  • Involve local emergency services to provide realistic training and feedback.
  • Use these drills to test communication systems, evacuation routes, and the efficiency of the emergency response team.

Educating Residents:

  • Host informational sessions to educate residents on what to do during different disasters. This could include how to shut off utilities, evacuation procedures, and how to use emergency supplies.
  • Distribute emergency preparedness guides that detail the actions residents should take during specific disasters.
  • Encourage residents to participate in drills and training sessions to familiarize themselves with the community’s disaster response plan.

Preventative Measures and Maintenance:

  • Regularly inspect and maintain critical infrastructure such as roofs, chimneys, and retaining walls to prevent disaster-related damages.
  • Implement landscaping practices like cutting brush back several feet from property lines and cleaning out gutters and drains to reduce fire hazards and flooding risks.
  • Schedule professional inspections for chimneys and install screens to prevent animals and debris from creating blockages that could lead to fires.

In addition to this, associations should ensure that all preventative maintenance tasks are documented and scheduled regularly. This proactive approach not only aids in disaster prevention but also ensures that the community is always prepared for unexpected events. Engaging residents in these processes fosters a culture of preparedness and resilience, making the community a safer place for everyone.

For HOA board members and community managers seeking to navigate these challenges effectively, the importance of expert guidance cannot be overstated. Addressing these issues proactively can prevent costly disputes and protect the well-being of residents. If your HOA is looking to evaluate or improve its flood management strategies, or if you’re facing legal concerns regarding your current practices, we invite you to schedule an initial consultation with us. Our expertise in HOA law and community management can provide you with the insights and support needed to safeguard your community against the unpredictable and often severe impacts of Arizona’s monsoon season. Visit our Contact Us page to schedule an initial consultation with our experienced HOA attorneys.

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

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The Ultimate HOA Records Retention Guide: What You Need to Know

HOA records retention is not just a procedural formality; it’s essential for effective association management. It’s the cornerstone for continuity, aiding decision-making, and assists in navigating legal processes. Every HOA board member knows the importance of maintaining organized and accessible documents—from board minutes to financial records. What’s more, categorizing these essential records, such as tax returns and maintenance histories, is critical since they hold informational value and are indispensable in legal compliance.

In our Ultimate HOA Records Retention Guide, we will unearth the legal intricacies of which documents need to be kept and for how long, as well as share the golden rules of implementing an efficient record-keeping system.

Our guidance offered in this blog (not to be taken in any form as professional legal advice) encompasses best practices for the safeguarding and organization of these vital records, ensuring they remain in impeccable order. You’ll learn the retention periods for key HOA documents, understand how to securely dispose of outdated records, and ultimately, ensure your association adheres to the legal requirements, thus upholding its integrity. Join us as we navigate the complexities of HOA document management with a professional and expert approach.

Understanding the Legal Requirements

Our expertise in this area is crucial for ensuring that your HOA adheres to the necessary legal standards and avoids potential pitfalls. Here’s what you need to know:

Essential HOA Records and Legal Retention Mandates

  • Permanent Records: Certain documents form the backbone of your HOA’s legal and operational framework. These include:
    • Governing documents such as bylaws and CC&Rs
    • Meeting minutes detailing board and member decisions
    • Legal records that may pertain to litigation or other legal matters
      These records should be kept indefinitely, as they are not only foundational but also provide a historical record that may be crucial for future reference.

State-Specific Retention Requirements

  • Varied Duration by State: It’s important to recognize that retention periods can vary significantly from state to state. Here are a few examples:
    • Arizona: Requires that ballots and related materials, including sign-in sheets be retained for at least one year after an election.
    • Nevada: Requires maintenance of records for a minimum of 10 years, with meeting minutes kept indefinitely.
    • Colorado: Stipulates that HOA meeting minutes are to be retained permanently.
    • California: While there is no specified duration, the recommendation is to keep corporate records, like bylaws and minutes, forever.
  • Create a Policy: If state law does not mandate the retention period for certain documents, your HOA should establish a policy for retention and the secure destruction of documents not legally required to be kept. This policy ensures clarity and consistency in your record-keeping practices.

Record-Keeping for Operational Efficiency and Problem Resolution

  • Types of Records: An HOA handles a wide variety of documents including:
    • Financial records such as budgets and audits
    • Insurance policies and related claims
    • Warranties and contracts for services or maintenance
    • Policies and procedures established by the board
  • Retention for Efficiency: Proper record keeping isn’t just about legal compliance; it’s also about maintaining operational efficiency. Having organized records on hand helps in resolving issues swiftly and effectively, ensuring smooth governance of your association.

While the retention of HOA documents is dictated by legal requirements, it’s also guided by the practical need for operational integrity. By adhering to state-specific laws and creating robust retention policies, your HOA can ensure it’s both compliant and well-equipped to manage its affairs with competence and diligence. What’s more, this approach underpins the trust and confidence that your members place in the board’s ability to govern effectively.

Categorizing HOA Records

In organizing HOA records, it’s essential to establish a system that not only meets legal requirements but also serves the informational value of the documents. This ensures that when board turnover occurs, the incoming members can easily access and understand the records, thereby maintaining continuity and efficiency. Here’s what you need to know about categorizing your HOA records:

Legal and Permanent Records

  • Board Minutes and Tax Returns: These are the cornerstones of your HOA’s documentation. Board minutes are to be kept indefinitely, capturing all decisions made by the board and the membership. Tax returns, while not permanent, should be retained for a minimum of four years.
  • Legal Documents: Include governing documents like bylaws and CC&Rs, as well as any litigation records. These are to be stored indefinitely for historical reference and potential future legal scrutiny.

Operational and Informational Records

  • Maintenance and Repair Records: Items such as roof replacement specifications and maintenance history hold significant informational value. They guide future board decisions regarding repairs and upgrades.
  • Financial Records: Budgets, audits, and other financial documents are crucial for financial transparency and should be kept for at least four years.
  • Insurance Documents: Policies and claims should be retained as per the advice of your insurance provider, usually until superseded or for a specified time after settlement.

Storage and Organization

  • On-Site vs. Management Company: It is advised that secure storage is used for HOA records. Alternatively, a professional document management and storage company can be considered.
  • Fireproof Protection: Permanent records such as board minutes deserve extra protection. A fireproof cabinet is recommended for these invaluable documents.
  • Uniform Storage Boxes: Utilize uniform size record storage boxes, clearly numbered, and maintain a separate listing of the contents for each box. This aids in quick retrieval and efficient management.

Categorization and Maintenance Schedule

  • Categorize by Type: Organize records into categories like Legal, Financial, Maintenance/Facilities, Correspondence, and Other. This simplifies the search process.
  • Group by Retention Period:
    • Permanent records (e.g., board minutes)
    • Retain for four years (e.g., tax returns)
    • Retain till superseded (e.g., insurance policies)
    • Retain one year (e.g., general correspondence)
  • Annual Review: Conduct an annual cleaning to index new records, review stored records for those that have met their retention period, and securely dispose of expired documents.

By meticulously categorizing your HOA documents and adhering to a structured retention policy, you’re not only ensuring legal compliance but also paving the way for a well-managed and efficient HOA. This proactive approach is a testament to the board’s commitment to transparency and responsible governance.

Implementing an Efficient Record-Keeping System

In our commitment to guide you through the essentials of an HOA Records Retention Guide, we now turn our attention to implementing an efficient record-keeping system.

Designation and Filing:

  • Appoint a Record Keeper: Assign a dedicated individual or team responsible for managing HOA records. This role requires meticulous attention to detail and an understanding of both legal mandates and the association’s specific needs.
  • Logical Filing System: Develop a categorization scheme that reflects the types of documents handled by the HOA. This could be by date, document type, or relevance to particular HOA functions, ensuring ease of retrieval.

Physical and Digital Storage Solutions:

  • Secure Storage: Utilize water and fireproof cabinets to protect physical records from damage. This is where you store original documents that are critical to the HOA’s operations.
  • Standardized Boxes: Adopt a consistent method for physical storage. Use boxes of uniform size, clearly label them, and keep an inventory list to avoid misplacement and facilitate easy access.
  • Digital Storage Systems: Embrace digital solutions such as Google Drive or Dropbox for increased efficiency. These platforms allow for remote access, easy sharing, and editing of documents.
  • Specialized Software: Consider investing in HOA-specific software like Neigbrs by Vinteum, which offers tools for centralized communication, maintenance request management, and community website administration.

Backup and Policies:

  • Regular Backups: Ensure electronic records are backed up routinely using reliable third-party services. This step is vital for data security and provides a safety net in case of technological failures.
  • Retention and Destruction Policies: Ensure that there is an established definition of all record keeping and its timeline. Establish protocols for the secure destruction of records that are no longer needed, involving board pre-approval and maintaining a detailed record of destroyed files.
  • Custody-and-Control Policy: Implement a policy that outlines who can access various documents, under what circumstances, and the process for transferring custody of records when necessary.

By meticulously following these steps, your HOA can create a record-keeping system that isn’t just compliant with legal standards but also serves as a cornerstone for effective governance. This proactive approach ensures that records are not only safeguarded but are also organized in a way that supports the board’s responsibilities and the community’s trust in its management.

Retention Periods for Key HOA Documents

In our role as stewards of your HOA’s documentation, it’s our duty to ensure that each document is retained for the appropriate amount of time, as mandated by legal requirements and best practices. Let’s delve into the retention periods for key HOA documents, providing you with a clear roadmap for maintaining your records with precision and care.

Permanent Records

Our first priority is to safeguard the documents that are the bedrock of your association. These include:

  • Board minutes and notices of meetings: The official records of decisions made by the board and membership, which are to be kept indefinitely.
  • Executive session meeting minutes: Confidential records detailing closed-session board discussions, also to be kept indefinitely.
  • Membership meeting minutes and notices: These records of general membership meetings are crucial and should be retained permanently.
  • Original enabling documents: You must never destroy any of the founding documents, which include but may not be limited to: declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs); these documents must never be discarded.
  • Legal settlement agreements and attorney-client privileged information: These documents are vital for historical reference and potential future legal matters.
  • Property deeds and title insurance policies: Indefinite retention is necessary to establish and protect property ownership.

Retain for Four Years

The following records should be kept for a minimum of four years, ensuring compliance with IRS guidelines and allowing for thorough financial review:

  • Membership meeting ballots, proxies, and check-in sheets: These are important meeting and proxy documents that must be retained for at least four years.
  • Bank statements and canceled checks: Essential for financial tracking and audits.
  • Paid bills and payroll tax returns: These records support financial transactions and tax filings.
  • Monthly general ledgers and accounts receivable listings: Key financial documents for monitoring the HOA’s fiscal health.
  • Dues billing and collection documents: Important for tracking member dues and managing delinquencies.
  • Insurance claims history: Provides a record of past claims, which can inform future insurance decisions.

Retain Until Superseded

Certain documents are important but can be replaced with updated documents. Here are a few good examples:

  • Contracts (management & vendor services, loan documents): Retain for the life of the contract, plus an additional period as determined by the association’s bylaws.
  • Rules and their interpretations: Keep until new rules or interpretations are adopted.
  • Non-architectural enforcement matters: Hold on to these until the issue is resolved and no longer relevant.
  • Warranties and guarantees: Store for the duration of the warranty period.
  • Funding studies and equipment specifications: Essential for planning and budgeting, retain until updated versions are produced.
  • Insurance policies: Keep until a new policy supersedes the old one.

Retain for One Year

Some of the HOA documents do not require retention for long than a one year period of time:

  • Meeting agendas: These outline the topics discussed and are typically only relevant until the minutes are approved.
  • Monthly financial statements: While important, detailed annual statements often supersede these.
  • Light correspondence: General communication that doesn’t have a lasting impact can be discarded after one year.

Secure Destruction of Records

Once the fiscal year concludes, we gather the current year’s records, cross-reference them with our stored record listing sheets, and securely destroy those that have reached the end of their retention period. Our method of choice is shredding or incineration, ensuring that sensitive information is completely and irreversibly destroyed.

Consistency and Compliance

To maintain consistency and uphold legal compliance, we establish a records retention and destruction policy. This policy serves as the guiding framework for our meticulous record-keeping, ensuring that no document is misplaced or prematurely discarded. Our policy not only outlines the retention periods but also the protocols for secure destruction, involving board pre-approval and detailed records of destroyed files.

By adhering to these retention guidelines, we affirm our commitment to the integrity and effective management of your HOA. It’s a testament to our dedication to transparency, accountability, and the safeguarding of your association’s historical records.

Securely Disposing of HOA Records

In the conscientious management of an HOA, the secure disposal of obsolete records is as critical as the meticulous retention of current ones. Here’s what you need to know to ensure the integrity of the process and the privacy of your members:

Methods of Disposal

  • Shredding: Physical documents that are no longer necessary should be shredded. Consider contracting with a professional shredding service that can provide a certificate of destruction as proof of the secure disposal.
  • Digital Purging: For electronic records, utilize software that can permanently delete files. It’s not enough to simply hit ‘delete’—you must ensure the data is unrecoverable. Specialized services can overwrite data multiple times, making it irretrievable.
  • Archiving: In some cases, it may be prudent to archive documents digitally, especially those that could have future relevance but are not actively needed. Use encrypted digital storage with restricted access for these archives.

Record of Destruction

  • Log Keeping: Maintain a destruction log detailing what was disposed of and when. This log should include the method of destruction, the date, and a signature of the authorized individual who oversaw the process. It serves as a record of compliance and due diligence in the event of future audits or inquiries.

Special Considerations

  • Operational Records: Be cautious not to discard records prematurely that may be needed for operational consistency. For instance, if an owner contests a parking violation, the HOA needs to provide historical enforcement records to demonstrate equal treatment of all residents.
  • Legal Requirements: In Utah, as an example, certain documents like declarations, bylaws, and meeting minutes must be kept indefinitely, while others like annual reports are required for three years. Always refer to your state’s specific regulations to ensure compliance.

By adhering to these guidelines, your HOA board responsibilities and disclosures are fulfilled with an unwavering commitment to both legal compliance and operational integrity. The HOA Records Retention Guide is not just a set of instructions; it’s a testament to the trust vested in us by our community. Our approach to record disposal reflects our dedication to safeguarding the HOA’s historical legacy and the privacy of its members, ensuring we continue to set the standard for excellence in HOA governance.

Final Thoughts

Thoroughly managing the retention and disposal of HOA records is a critical element in maintaining the trust and efficiency within your community association. By adhering to the retention guidelines and arranging for the secure destruction of outdated documents, your HOA stands as a paragon of responsible governance. What’s more, this practice safeguards your association against legal risks and strengthens the continuity and operational efficiency which are vital for a thriving community.

In providing members with peace of mind and upholding the integrity of the HOA, this guide serves as an invaluable resource, highlighting the balance between legal compliance and practical necessity. Ultimately, a sound records management strategy is indispensable, reinforcing the diligent undertakings of the association and fostering a tradition of transparency and excellence for future board administrations.

Contact Experienced HOA Attorneys

At Halk, Oetinger, and Brown, 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.

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


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Guiding Arizona Homeowners Associations Through the Federal Corporate Transparency Act Compliance and Reporting

In the ever-evolving legal landscape, homeowners associations (HOAs) and planned communities in Arizona find themselves with some new reporting requirements from the Federal Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”). This new piece of legislation, aimed at curbing illicit financial activities, necessitates meticulous attention from associations to ensure compliance. As directors, board members, and community managers grapple with these new directives, it becomes imperative to understand the implications of the CTA and embrace a proactive approach to compliance.

This article breaks down the Federal Corporate Transparency Act, tells you exactly what info you need for the beneficial owners report, and highlights why getting legal help is key to making sure your Arizona HOA is ready for the new reporting rules.

Defining the Federal Corporate Transparency Act

The Federal Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), part of the National Defense Authorization Act, became law in January 2021. It introduces reporting requirements for a broad range of entities,  with the intent of providing clearer visibility into corporate ownership. The law mandates that detailed information about the beneficial owners must be provided to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an agency operating under the authority of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The CTA’s inception is rooted in a long-standing initiative to combat financial crimes such as money laundering and terrorist financing. By compelling entities to disclose information about their beneficial owners, the act seeks to peel back layers of anonymity that could potentially shield illicit financial activities. The database maintained by FinCEN, bolstered by the data collected through the CTA, is intended to be a resource for law enforcement in their investigative efforts.

The Community Association Institute (“CAI”) is lobbying for exemptions for HOAs. However, for now, homeowners associations in Arizona now find themselves within the scope of the CTA, necessitating a familiarity with its reporting requirements and a commitment to adherence. As this law takes effect, these associations are called upon to contribute to the broader initiative of financial transparency and accountability.

Understanding Beneficial Owners and Reporting Requirements under the Federal Corporate Transparency Act

The Federal Corporate Transparency Act brings forth specific guidelines for entities, including homeowners associations in Arizona, outlining who qualifies as a beneficial owner and what information needs to be reported. Under the Act, a beneficial owner is defined as someone who:

  • Holds significant control over the entity, or
  • Possesses at least a 25 percent stake in the entity’s ownership interests.

Board members of an HOA ‘exercise substantial control’ over the community, and therefore fall into the CTA reporting requirements. Any homeowner or investor, regardless of their status as a board member, may also need to report if they own multiple units in a community totaling 25% or more of the homes.

To comply with the CTA, these individuals with the association are required to submit a detailed report on their beneficial owners, which encompasses the following key pieces of information:

  • Full Legal Name: The beneficial owner(s) must include their complete and formal name as recognized legally.
  • Date of Birth: The beneficial owner(s) must include their full date of birth, which helps confirm their identity and determine their age.
  • Current Residential or Business Street Address: The present address of the beneficial owner, providing a point of contact and verification.
  • Unique Identifying Number: A number obtained from an acceptable identification document, ensuring a unique and secure method of identifying the beneficial owner. Driver’s license or passport number are typically used here.
  • Copy of Legal Identification: An image of the identification document that provides the unique identifying number adds an extra level of confirmation.

Ensuring accurate and complete reporting is essential to comply with federal regulations and safeguard the association from potential legal consequences.

Limited Exemptions

The majority of Arizona HOAs are subject to BOI reporting. The CTA does provide limited exclusions from reporting if the corporation employs more than twenty full-time employees or has gross sales over $5,000,000.00. There may also be an exemption if your HOA is registered with the IRS as a 501(c) charitable organization. If you believe any of these exemptions may apply, consult your accountants and attorney.

Important Deadlines and Penalties

The CTA imposes strict deadlines for reporting. Existing non-profit HOA corporations have until January 1, 2025 to comply by submitting their BOI reports to FinCEN. New non-profit HOA corporations formed after January 1, 2024 must report at the time of formation or within 90 days during 2024, and within 30 days in 2025.

Failing to adhere to the CTA’s guidelines could lead to significant consequences. Providing false or fraudulent information, or failure to report complete or updated information, may attract civil penalties of up to $500 per day and criminal fines up to a maximum of $10,000.00, as well as imprisonment for up to two years, or both.

We strongly encourage your community to discuss this emerging topic with your attorney for details on how to achieve compliance and create systems to avoid these penalties.

Navigating the CTA Compliance Requirements with Expert Legal Assistance

As homeowners associations and planned communities in Arizona grapple with the implications of the Corporate Transparency Act, it remains paramount to stay updated with developments in the new law. In March 2024, an Alabama Federal Court found the Corporate Transparency Act unconstitutional. There will likely be an appeal and a final decision could be some months away. What is certain is there will be changes ahead of the January 1, 2025 reporting date.

Our legal team brings a wealth of expertise to bear for Arizona associations and planned communities, positioning us as invaluable partners for your association in these times of change. Collaborating with our attorneys ensures that your community not only comprehends the complexities of the law but also adheres to its mandates with accuracy and diligence.

  • Accurate Reporting and Compliance: We assist you in gathering and submitting all required information, ensuring your association remains in good standing.
  • Protection of Community Interests: Our commitment extends to safeguarding the integrity of your community, fostering a culture of transparency and accountability.

Take a proactive stance and connect with our law firm to help steer your community through the demands of the CTA. In doing so, you fortify the integrity and reputation of your association, paving the way for a secure and prosperous future for all residents. Schedule an initial consultation with our firm using the contact us page of our website.

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

Arizona HOA Laws

What’s the Difference Between a Condo and a Planned Community in Arizona?

From an outside perspective, there are a lot of similarities between many condominiums and planned communities.  Both have many individual homeowners in a planned development with common areas and amenities available to the community.  The main difference between a planned community and a condominium is that the association in a planned community owns the common areas. In condominiums, the individual owners share ownership of the common elements. Each owner owns an undivided interest in the common elements. To help define the key details that define both, here is what you need to know about the difference between a condominium and a planned community.

What Is A Condominium?

A condominium (condo) is a housing complex with separate units owned by individuals and those individual owners each have an undivided ownership interest in the common elements  The condominium association maintains the common elements, insurance, and upkeep.  The association elects a board of directors to run the association and represent the interests of the individual owners.  Condominiums can sometimes be tricky to spot. Sometimes they look like townhouse-style buildings. For example, each unit can consist of one, two, or three floors without a basement and attics. Their appearance is similar to a townhouse, but they are condominiums.

There are still other styles of condominiums. There’s the apartment-style, detached condominium, and anything in between. The community documents and plat define what each unit owner owns, making matters even more complicated. In some condominiums, the owner will own from the walls-in of the unit, and in others the owner will only own the airspace of the unit. Understanding these details is important for individual members and the board to set proper expectations and obligations for everyone in the community.

What is A Planned Community?

A planned community is a housing development that includes detailed space for individual homes and common area amenities. 

Owners own their homes and often the lots, and the association owns the common areas in a planned community. These communities can sometimes look like condominium buildings but can also consist of single-family and townhome communities. Planned communities typically offer multiple amenities and can include residential and commercial units. In a planned community, the homeowner owns the land and has the flexibility to do what they want with their land, as long as they abide by the HOA rules and guidelines.

The most significant upside of living in a planned community is convenience. Many planned communities offer private amenities beyond the usual pool, gym, and parks. Some planned communities include privately owned roads, security around the clock, and access to a grocery store or drug store in the community. Additionally, all common area maintenance is typically managed for the members. Occasionally, in townhouse communities, they even include exterior and yard maintenance.

Find a Law Firm for HOAs, Planned Communities and Condo Associations

Halk, Oetinger, and Brown only represents planned communities and associations in Arizona. Our attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable about all things related to HOA governance and operation. We assist condo associations and planned communities with everything from assessment collection to covenant enforcement to litigation. Our team can help with every detail of operating a successful homeowners association in Arizona while avoiding many common legal pitfalls. Schedule an initial consultation with our experienced attorneys for HOAs using the contact us page of our site here.

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

Arizona HOA Laws

Keeping Your HOA Community in Compliance with General Counsel Advice from an Arizona HOA Law Firm

HOA law involves many local, state, and federal laws. To remain compliant with these rules throughout changes in the law and changing needs within your community, having a law firm on retainer to guide your community ensures continued compliance and better protects your HOA from legal claims. At Halk, Oetinger, And Brown, we assist clients with these issues each day and have some common questions and benefits in this article about how general counsel representation can assist your HOA.

General Counsel Representation

Is our fine policy in compliance with Arizona law? Our neighbor put up a flag in their yard, is that allowed? Can renters vote at our annual meeting? There are many questions that come up in community association law. Having an Arizona law firm represent your HOA for these general counsel questions is crucial for staying in compliance with the many rules and laws that apply to your community.

Governing Documents and Enforcing the Rules.

It is often difficult to enforce all the rules and regulations detailed in the governing documents. Often the HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) were written many years ago and changes in statutes and case law can render certain provisions unenforceable or require modifications.  Periodic review of all governing documents and making sure your Board understands the impact of all new legislation can help to make sure the association has a clear understanding regarding enforcing rules and regulations. 

Protection During Legal Action.

Whether your association runs into internal disputes or legal action with a member, any association that already works closely with a dedicated HOA law firm will not need to get an attorney up to speed on the matter.  The law firm will have a complete understanding of your governing documents and the steps that were taken to address the matter before the legal claim. The HOA will also be in a better position to defend against claims when it has a law firm working to ensure ongoing compliance with new laws.  This can make a substantial difference when it comes to handling any legal issue as quickly as possible. 

Ongoing Legal Counsel

Many HOAs hire a law firm that specializes in association representation for their legal counsel on an ongoing basis. The HOA legal counsel can give legal advice on a variety of issues, including changing state laws and how they impact the association, problem members and violations of governing documents, community affairs, injuries on community property, and more.

The Halk, Oetinger, And Brown Difference For Your Association

Our firm offers general counsel representation for a flat monthly rate to ask your questions and improve your community. If your association or planned community is looking for ways to improve your assessment collections, the best next step is hiring an HOA law firm to review and revamp your entire process.  It might sound like a time-consuming and expensive process, but it does not have to be.  Halk, Oetinger And Brown only represent Arizona associations and planned communities.  Our firm focuses on providing unique HOA solutions, not on racking up billable hours.  We have industry-leading monthly plans available that are cost-effective and we can make an immediate impact on your assessment collections process.  Schedule an initial consultation our contact us page.

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

Arizona HOA Laws

A Comprehensive Guide to Navigating HOA Foreclosures Responsibly

Homeownership in planned communities and condominiums often comes with the responsibility of being a part of the broader association. While HOAs play a crucial role in maintaining the aesthetics and functionality of these communities, they also have the authority to enforce rules and collect assessments from residents. In cases where homeowners fall behind on their assessments, the HOA has the right to pursue foreclosure as a last resort. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricate process of HOA foreclosures, shedding light on the regulations and steps involved.

The Basics of HOA Foreclosures

Before an HOA can initiate a foreclosure, certain conditions must be met. According to Arizona Revised Statutes (“A.R.S.”) 33-1807(A), for planned communities, and A.R.S. 33-1256(A) for condominiums, an HOA cannot proceed with a foreclosure unless there is a year of unpaid assessments or if the amount owed exceeds $1,200.00, excluding late fees and additional charges. These requirements provide Arizona homeowners with an opportunity to address their outstanding assessments and avoid the severe consequences of foreclosure.

Understanding the Impact of HOA Foreclosure

HOA foreclosures can have far-reaching consequences, affecting not only the homeowner but also the community as a whole. When a property falls into foreclosure, it can lead to a decline in property values for neighboring homes, as well as potential maintenance and upkeep challenges. Homeowners should be aware that addressing their assessment obligations in a timely manner is not only crucial for their individual property but also for the overall well-being of the community.

Considering Alternative Solutions

Prior to filing foreclosures, HOAs can file breach of contract lawsuits to encourage homeowners to pay. HOAs can then explore collection options through garnishment, however those powers were severely restricted in 2022. As a law firm specializing in HOA matters, we can provide expert guidance on negotiation and resolution strategies for resolving assessment delinquencies. Homeowners may also seek assistance from various public and private organizations that may offer assistance. These alternatives can offer homeowners the necessary respite to resolve their financial challenges while maintaining their property ownership.

The Crucial Role of Open Communication

Homeowners struggling to fulfill their assessment obligations should proactively engage with the HOA to discuss their circumstances prior to collections. Associations also need to have processes in place to make sure they are providing clear communication to any homeowners that have fallen behind on their obligations and make all reasonable attempts to work with those homeowners to get caught up on any past due obligations. Establishing a communication channel can lead to mutually advantageous agreements and avert the progression of foreclosure proceedings, which is generally best case for all parties. 

Navigating the Foreclosure Process

Foreclosure is a multifaceted process to ensure legal compliance. As a law firm specializing in HOA matters, we have the expertise to guide associations and planned communities through each step of the foreclosure process.

  • Initiation: The process commences when a homeowner fails to fulfill their assessment obligations, prompting the HOA to initiate collection actions. If the Association meets the statutory requirements, the HOA may file for foreclosure.

  • Foreclosure Judgment: Following successful legal proceedings, a foreclosure judgment is rendered. This judgment authorizes the HOA to proceed with the foreclosure sale.

  • Sheriff’s Sale: The HOA, in conjunction with the County Sheriff’s Office, schedules a Sheriff’s Sale, during which the property is auctioned to the highest bidder.

  • Redemption Period: Subsequent to the property being auctioned, the homeowner is afforded an additional six months to redeem the HOAs assessment lien and reclaim ownership of the property. This period allows the homeowner to resolve their debts and avert the transfer of property ownership.

  • Sheriff’s Deed and Ownership: If the homeowner fails to redeem the lien within the redemption period, the Sheriff’s Office issues a Sheriff’s Deed to the highest bidder, transferring ownership and the obligation to pay assessments.

The foreclosure process is intricate and demands a thorough understanding of each phase, from initiation to potential outcomes. It is imperative for HOAs to act with diligence, maintain open communication with homeowners, and explore all available options before resorting to foreclosure, ensuring a fair and equitable approach for all parties involved.

Guiding Principles for Navigating HOA Foreclosures

HOA foreclosures are intricate procedures that necessitate legal proceedings, meticulous compliance with regulations, and a comprehensive understanding of homeowners’ rights and responsibilities. Our firm has established itself as a leader in assisting Arizona’s planned communities and condominiums through the complex maze of assessment collections and HOA foreclosures. With our expertise and dedication to fair and transparent practices, both homeowners and HOAs can traverse the challenging landscape of foreclosure while aiming for fair resolutions. It is crucial to remember that foreclosure is a measure of last resort, and homeowners are urged to actively communicate with their HOA and seek legal counsel to explore alternative solutions and avert such severe repercussions.

At Halk, Oetinger, and Brown, we only represent associations and planned communities so we can assist HOAs with improvising assessment collections, considering alternative solutions for past due payments, and pursuing HOA foreclosure, if necessary. Schedule an initial consultation with our firm using the contact us page of our website here.

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


Arizona HOA Laws

Final Demand Letters: A Comprehensive Guide to A.R.S. 33-1807(K) Compliance

Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) and condominium associations play a vital role in maintaining the harmony and integrity of planned communities. To ensure timely payment of assessments, these associations may need to resort to a collections process when homeowners become delinquent. It is vital for board members to understand and follow the legal procedures outlined in Arizona statutes when sending a final demand letter. This article will discuss the main issues surrounding the requirements for a final demand letter and the importance of documentation in this process.  Here is what your HOA or condo association needs to know about final demand letter requirements in Arizona.

HOA Collections: Final Demand Letter Requirements Pursuant to A.R.S. 33-1807(K)

1) Statutory Disclaimer: The final demand letter must include the statutory disclaimer in ALL CAPS or in boldface type:


2) Certified Mail with Tracking: The letter must be sent by certified mail with tracking to provide proof the final demand letter was mailed.

3) Return Receipt Requested: The letter must also be sent return receipt requested to request the homeowner’s signature as proof of receipt. The statute does not require the homeowner’s signature, only that the final demand letter is sent return receipt requested.

4) HOA Contact Person: The letter must provide the name and contact information the homeowner can reach to resolve the assessment delinquency.

5) 30-day Waiting Period: After the letter is mailed, the HOA must wait for a minimum of 30 days to allow the homeowner an opportunity to make the necessary payment.

  • Contents of the Demand Letter
    The final demand letter should clearly state the amount of delinquent assessments owed, including any interest, late fees, and other charges applicable under the association’s governing documents and state law.

The Importance of Proper HOA Documentation

Documentation is the backbone of any legal process, including the collections procedure. Accurate and well-organized records can safeguard the HOA’s interests and provide evidence of compliance with the law. Important documents include:

  • Copies of the final demand letter, properly formatted with the statutory disclaimer.
  • Certified mail receipts and tracking information.
  • Return receipt documentation, including the United States Postal Service’s green card or electronic mailing.
  • Records of any payment receipts, communication, or agreements made with the homeowner during the process.

Condo Association Collections: Final Demand Letter Requirements under A.R.S. 33-1256(K)

Just like in planned communities, a condominium association must follow the same, specific requirements for sending a final demand letter. The association may not initiate collections until 30 days after they have provided written notice with the statutory language, as required in A.R.S. 33-1256(K).

  • Form and Delivery
    Similar to A.R.S. 33-1807(K), the final demand letter for condominium associations must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to provide evidence of mailing. This ensures that the HOA provides notice of the association’s intent to pursue collections.
  • Opportunity to Cure
    The final demand letter must include the HOAs contact person to discuss payment of the delinquency within that 30 day period. The HOA may send the account to collections if the assessment debt is not resolved timely.

Navigating Collections with Confidence: How Our HOA Law Firm Supports Associations

Complying with the legal requirements for final demand letters is essential for both HOAs and condo associations when initiating collections proceedings. By following the specific statutes, including A.R.S. 33-1807(K) for HOAs and A.R.S. 33-1256(K) for condo associations, and maintaining comprehensive documentation, associations can protect their interests, minimize disputes, and pursue collections in a legally compliant manner. Seeking guidance from experienced HOA attorneys can provide valuable assistance in navigating complex situations and ensuring full compliance with the law.  Contact the attorneys at Halk, Oetinger, and Brown for an initial consultation using the form on our contact us page today.

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

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.

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.  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.

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. Halk, Oetinger, and Brown 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.