If you listen carefully to the HB 2371 sponsor and committee chair explain her bill you would hear the familiar attitude taken by many legislators. First, you were told that a “meeting of all the stakeholders” to work on combining all the bills into one took place. Oh yeah? All the stakeholders, but no homeowners.
Second, the objective of the bill was to remove “all the contentious issues” and arrive at a bill satisfactory to all. So, those serious violations of homeowner rights will die each time CAI shouts, “HELL NO, WE WON’T GO”! And of course, there ain’t nobody present to object.
So, that would explain what happened to the wording of SB 1333, the “clean elections” in HOAs bill? A bill that, if passed, would severely cripple the political machine HOA boards and reduce HOA attorney influence. A bill that would put an end to HOAs, under attorney guidance, finding ways to deny homeowners a legitimate voice in their governance. But, there were no homeowners invited to the stakeholder meeting!
Advocate Pat Haruff corrected the sponsor on this comment about “stakeholders.” No response from the Senator. That means that your pool guy, AC service man, landscaper, etc. are all stakeholders in your private property interests because they make money from you, the homeowner. And the legislators don’t need to hear from you! Welcome to how state legislatures are creating the New America of HOA-Land.
An argument against unlicensed management companies being granted exceptions to the unauthorized practice of law (UPL) laws was raised. While the bill would allow managers to represent HOAs in small claims court, it says nothing about homeowners being allowed to have their own unlicensed person speak for them. No one against the management company amendment portion brought up the AZ UPL decisions and opinions contained in AZ Supreme Court’s Final Order: HOA management firm engaged in unauthorized practice of law. Well, did you really expect CAI or AACM (manager’s association) to do it? And believe me they know, because the management firm was both a CAI and AACM member.
The CAI paid lobbyist once again falsely proclaims that CAI represents homeowners, failing to mention that CAI does not, and cannot as a business trade group, represent consumers — and HOAs are consumers of CAI member services. No one corrected him.
I also got the feeling from the sponsor’s comments that the legislature was sort of tired of all these HOA bills, again and again, so wrap them into one bill and get it done with. I wonder if the annoyance is because they know that they are doing wrong to the people whom they are supposed to represent, and favoring the special interests. What about protecting the private property rights of the individual, a principle uttered so many times in so many arenas except in the HOA arena?
I can’t recall over the past 5 years many HOAs coming before the committees on behalf of HOA bills. No, it’s just the special interest vendors, the “stakeholders”, who live off HOA income who come before the committees. And nobody seems to notice. Yet, the homeowner who comes and/or writes is given short rift. I’ve told several legislators over the years that we will be coming back year after year until they get it right.
So, there it is! Homeowners are at the bottom of the food chain, with the legislators ignoring the principle that in a democracy citizens rule. To paraphrase a statement in an address to the British prisoners of war by the Japanese commandant in the movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai,
“Be happy in your home”