In 2008 the 1994 UCIOA (Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act) was modified to accommodate the outcry from homeowner rights advocates. This shortened version is known as the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Bill of Rights Act (UCIOBORA), and is a political maneuver to co-opt the real meaning and intent of a “bill of rights.” Here’s an explanatory excerpt from UCIOBORA:
Further, ULC [Uniform Law Commissioners] acknowledges that it will often not be feasible to enact UCIOA 3.0, in part because of the difficulty drafters in the States may encounter in integrating any new adoption of the existing Uniform Acts with the laws that may already exist in a particular state. For these reasons, ULC promulgated a free-standing and relatively short Uniform Act that addresses all of the ‘association versus unit owner’ issues touched on during the drafting of the 2008 UCIOA amendments. The free-standing Act is known as the Uniform Common Interest Owners Bill Of Rights Act or “UCIOBORA”. While not all sections of UCIOBORA are identical to UCIOA 3.0, the concepts underlying each Act are the same, and are adjusted simply to recognize the simplified nature of UCIOBORA.
In short, UCIOA wasn’t selling. It seems that UCIOBORA is the sad result of the political motives to get UCIOA selling again. It’s a document that does not at all read like the US Bill of Rights, or any state constitution’s Declaration of Rights (state constitution equivalent of the Bill of Rights), or even the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (France, 1793). Far from it. Rather it reads like your current CC&Rs and UCIOA with a number of concessions to reality. However, it lacks substantive protections of homeowner rights, such as: a fair and just due process by means of an independent tribunal; fair elections procedures with equal and fair access to membership lists, and equal opportunity appearances in the HOA newsletter/website; restrictions on the right to foreclose, since the HOA is not in the same position as a lender who had advanced hard cash; and enforcement by means of penalties against board violations of the governing documents, otherwise all such laws are just recommendations dependent on the goodwill of the affected persons.
A homeowners bill of rights is necessary because the Constitution with its Bill of Rights amendments does not apply to private HOA governments. HOA governments operate outside the Constitution, which is greatly desired and defended by HOA supporters as they would not be able to act in ways that a civil government cannot act. A statement in a declaration that says that the HOA is subject to the Constitution is meaningless, since the Constitution does not apply to private entities. What is necessary is a statement that the HOA acknowledges the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and irrevocably agrees to be subject to it as if it were indeed a government entity.
In 1997, Elizabeth McMahon of AHRC filed a Homeowners Bill of Rights with the California Law Review Commission looking into revising California’s HOA statutes. In 2000, George K. Staropoli submitted a statement to the Arizona Interim HOA Committee, Homeowner’s Declaration of Independence from the HOA system of government. In 2006, AARP produced a public policy statement, A Bill of Rights for Homeowners in Associations, written by Houston attorney David Kahne. In 2006 the legal-academic aristocrats (lawyers for the real estate interests) at a Texas senate hearing proposed a Texas Uniform Planned Community Act (TUPCA). Responding to Texas homeowner rights advocates, the committee was told that UCIOA (the model act for TUPCA) was being modified to include a bill of rights section. In 2008, George K. Staropoli informed the California Law Review Commission of a proper Members Bill of Rights section to the Davis-Stirling Act (This section was later dropped from the revision).
5 thoughts on “co-opting the HOA “homeowners bill of rights””
George, I am a Homeowner the Trilogy at Power Ranch Community.
I know you state you are not handling any further cases at this time however, I would appreciate very much if you would recommend someone who is as knowledgeable as you to assist me.
Thanks so much.
Wishing you warm regards,
Allen J. Finn