The HOA apathy affliction: a political dynamic

Everyone is unhappy with the pronounced apathy among those living in HOA-Land, where the lack of homeowner protections works for the power-elite, the board and its attorney.  CAI has complained many times about apathy when homeowners complain about the conduct of their boards.  CAI also complains how it can’t make “necessary” changes to the CC&Rs to bring them current with the laws.

Because of this apathy, homeowner advocates who are aware of the inequities of their HOA predicament cannot get their good neighbors — those who pay their dues and obey the rules — to support them in their efforts to obtain justice for all members. 

A recent approach being used by CAI in Arizona is to call for the complete rewrite of the CC&Rs to make the HOA a better place, the ostentatious reason, while including even more oppressive covenants and covenants that are highly favorable to the HOA attorney and its income stream.  In order to accomplish this, recourse is made to playing loosey-goosey with the strict Arizona laws for amending the CC&Rs. 

The law requires a written explanation of each and every change being made, which can be cumbersome, but the law is there to protect the homeowners. It’s a cost of making sweeping amendments all at once.  But the homeowners say and do nothing except to sign away their rights as good team players.

The political impact of these sweeping changes is made real by the apathy of the majority of the homeowners to agree to whatever the board proposes with the blessings of the HOA attorney, who wrote the revised CC&RS.  They can affect your pocketbook, your property rights, and your already weak voting rights.

A common change, minority control, was defeated in the 2011 legislative session that permitted minority control of the amendment process, thereby giving the political machine in power basically complete control of the HOA and over its apathetic members.  This political tactic relies on homeowner apathy to succeed.  It removes a vote of all the members and the long held doctrine of a supermajority vote, usually 67%, and replaces it with a majority vote of only those voting. 

Even with a 50% quorum as little as a 25% approval can affect the rights of ALL members, whether they agree or not.  And with the pro-HOA laws and unconscionable adhesion CC&Rs contract, the members will be just pawns in the hands of the board – just pay your dues and shut up, or else!

Homeowner apathy is a serious affliction in HOA-Land.  Under the current environment, it is the homeowner who must stand up and fight for his rights, in the HOA and at the legislature to change the laws.

Read about the Fourth Amendment to the Apache Wells CC&Rs, one real example. Just scroll down.

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Published in: on August 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] it be a malaise, a general apathy as described in The HOA apathy affliction: a political dynamic and The role of the HOA apathy affliction in circumventing public policy on how the HOA lawyers […]

  2. […] HOAs create an unhealthy climate.  See, Why do people harm others in HOAs?,  The HOA apathy affliction: a political dynamic […]

  3. A system of volunteer governance that lacks willing volunteers is facing a de facto systemic crisis. My (often misunderstood) explanation is it’s because private HOA governance isn’t accepted. Hence, there’s little interest in ensuring it functions successfully.

  4. […] my prior Commentary, See The HOA apathy affliction: a political dynamic, I wrote about the HOA attorney driven recourse to complete rewrites of the CC&Rs that works […]

  5. George,

    I am pretty well read on ARS but am unaware of where you got “The law requires a written explanation of each and every change being made, which can be cumbersome, but the law is there to protect the homeowners.” I believe you and would love to be able to quote it because our HOA makes a yearly ritual of trying to change our CC&Rs

    • ARS 33-1812(A)(1) states, The absentee ballot shall set forth each proposed action.


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