HOA statutes create state actors and actions

[The message of this letter to the Arizona Legislators is valid in regard to the legislation and statutes of many other states. The corporate form of HOA governance needs and relies on its unjust power to deny homeowners their constitutional rights in order to coerce obedience. The special interests, especially CAI, prefer that these valid arguments not be exposed to the public, legislators or the media. This is just what we must do if we are to obtain fair and equitable treatment under the laws].

April 30, 2005

Dear Arizona Senators:

Please do not pass this Homeowner Association bill, HB2154. It will further entangle Homeowner Associations as state actors.

The amendments to ARS 33-1260 & 33-1806 read, in part,

(h) A statement that provides “I hereby acknowledge that the declaration, bylaws and rules of the association constitute a contract between the association and me (the purchaser).

I believe this would be challenged in court as violating other statutes on contract law that require a meeting of the minds and a signature by the homeowner. There is no explicit waiver of constitutional rights. The above wording is suitable for a government agency or some municipal government entity, but not for a private contractual arrangements.

For example, creating or modifying HOA Rules do not require the homeowner’s signature, or even a vote of the members. Adding this paragraph further strengthens the close nexus between the state and the HOA, and further solidifies the status of the HOA as a state actor(1).

The Arizona Constitution, Article II, Section 2, reads (my emphasis):

“All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

The provisions of HB2154, and ARS 33-1256 and 1260; 33-1803, 1806 and 1807; 42-13402 (common area valuation), collectively support the validity of arguments that HOAs are state actors and, thus, subject to the 14th Amendment protections of due process and the equal protections of the laws. Realizing that these statutes will soon be challenged, passing this bill should be carefully reexamined.

A short presentation of supporting constitutional arguments can be found below under Note 2.


George K. Staropoli
Citizens For Constitutional Local Government

1. This appears that this is the only bill out of 22 HOA bills that will be sent to the Governor, Other aspects that interfere with the homeowners rights inlcude: removal of disclosure of loss of homestead exemption (don’t tell the buyer); adds reasonable collection fees to HOA liens (actually, more fees to attorneys since attorney fees are already included); revises board removal procedures; replaces proxy voting with secret ballots without any protections relating to the counting and verification process, and any meeting “new business” leaves homeowner out on the cold.

2. Constitutional arguments, supported by case law, from Nowak & Rotunda, Constitutional Law §§ 12.3, 12.4, (6th Ed., West Group 2000) (my emphasis).

· Cases in which alleged wrongful activity . . . have a connection to state legislation present the widest scope of factual situations.
· When state legislation commands a certain activity, or officially recognizes its legitimacy, there is no question but that state action present whenever someone follows the guidelines of the statute [as demonstrated by the above mentioned statutes].
· Again the reason . . . is that the alleged wrongdoing appears to be connected to activities of the state in such a way that it can be said to be a denial of rights by the state itself.
· When judges command private persons to take specific actions which would violate the Constitution if done by the State, state action will be present in the resulting harm to constitutionally recognized rights [property and liberty rights].

Published in: on May 1, 2005 at 3:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

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