Why isn’t your HOA board supporting AZ HB 2052?

HB 2052 is a big step forward for HOA homeowners in AZ as it restores lost constitutional rights. Why then, isn’t your board supporting this important bill that is unquestionably in the best interests of the members?  If you read your CC&Rs, almost all but not everyone contain a statement of intent and purpose directed toward the members, you will find wording similar to: “shall inure [take effect] to the benefit of the member and be mutually beneficial.” 

Upholding constitutional protections provided by the US Constitution would seem to fit a board’s obligation. However,

“The political and social changes in our society brought about by the adoption and acceptance of the HOA legal scheme has created a new America of authoritarian, private governments known as HOAs. They function as independent principalities.  The values, beliefs, principles, ethics, and morality of today’s America would shock the Founding Fathers.”[1] 

HB 2052 follows in the footsteps of California’s SB 323 and several court opinions upholding HOAs as public forums that provide for protective free public speech on HOA governing matters.[2]  

AZ Senate Rules committee must place  HB 2052 on the COW agenda. This important bill extends constitutional protections to HOA members.  It is awaiting a hearing by the Senate Rules Committee; time is running out! It was not heard on the 15th and today, the 17th. Bills have been killed by being held by Rules, which is a mandatory committee for all bills.

The public in general does not understand the functioning of their state legislature when it comes to its lawmaking powers under our democracy.  Our Declaration of Independence, our ‘social contract’ between the government and the people,  states quite clearly

That to secure these rights [‘among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness] governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

However, in many ways your legislature operates as the sovereign that can do no wrong. Take, for instance, the question of passing laws that are of questioned constitutionality.  Long standing legal doctrine holds that all laws passed by Congress or your state legislature are presumed constitutional.  This doctrine makes the primary function of legislative Rules Committees for checking constitutionality, among a minor formality issue, perfunctory and meaningless.

With the assistance of the Rules attorneys, the committees review the proposed legislation’s consistency with the United States and Arizona Constitutions and Arizona and federal law”[3]

In all my 20+ years I cannot recall any HOA bill being found unconstitutional by a Rules committee, even for one in 2013— by the same sponsor of HB 2052 — that was challenged in court and found unconstitutional.[4]

Members should be urging their boards to speak out.  Members would be protected and enjoy such constitutional freedoms to openly discuss issues of public HOA governance with their fellow members if  HB 2052  becomes law.  Make it a law – write the rules Committee and demand passing on the bill for a debate and a final vote by all Senators.

References


[1] George K. Staropoli, HOA Common Sense: rejecting private government, StarMan Press, 2013.

[2] See Substantive HOA member rights advances in Arizona.

[3] As an example, from the Arizona Legislative Manual.

[4] See AZ Attorney General admits SB 1454 HOA to be invalid and without effect.

Lessons from Impeachment trial for HOA-Land

If you wondered why I have posted about the dysfunctional Washington and President, here are some lessons for HOA-Land.

1.  Words spoken and conduct before and earlier in any event or situation can be held against you, or the BOD, HOA attorney, or manager.

2.  Conduct and words over time can demonstrate a pattern of wrongful behavior by HOA and its advisors.

3.  The national pro-HOA lobbying firm has focused homeowner attention on events as isolated events of no major consequence.  In other words, they directed members to look at the trees and not see the repeated pattern of wrongful behavior — forest thru the trees.

RICO is based on a repeated pattern of wrongful behavior.

class action against HOA? not really

For those wondering about class action suits, they are only possible within an HOA IF 40 plus members sign-on. Here’s a summary of requirements:

The Georgia Federal District Court held that the Plaintiff met the four requirements for class certification under Federal Rule 23(a), specifically:

  1. Numerosity – Plaintiffs allege more than 100 class members and 40 is generally sufficient;
  2. Commonality – the excess interest rate charges is common and can be “uniformly determined” and the excess sums charges is a close decision, but for now the Plaintiffs meet this “low burden”;
  3. Typicality – The claims of Plaintiffs are typical of the claims of the class; and
  4. Adequate Representation – the Plaintiffs can adequately protect the interests of those they purport to represent, and the Court did not find any conflict of interest as argued by Defendant.

As for CAI, it’s possible for a RICO again, IF, the above criteria are met. Given the lack of involvement by HOA groups across the country, this is not going to happen.

HOA bankruptcy and member liabilities

This Foxwood Hills HOA (SC)  bankruptcy event is every important for all to understand what’s going on.  I am offering my views based on the article and my knowledge of the bankruptcy procedure, which I have some familiarity.  The article also shows first-hand the liability attached to your HOA membership that comes under the heading of “joint and several liability” (J&S), mentioned several times in my materials.

Basically, the phrase applies to all members of a sued party in  a lawsuit whereby the total monetary damages can be collected from any one or all the members of the party. It’s like  a partnership where the debt can be collected from the partners who can pay to pay for all total debt when others cannot make the payment. 

Here, as I read the article,  we have the HOA unable to collect assessments from its members to cover its budgeted expenses, and so decided to apply a J&S policy and “tax” only the members who have not abandoned  or disowned their property — those who could pay. The plaintiff, Busbee, filed suit and said this isn’t right. Foxwood didn’t amend its CC&Rs to permit such unequal treatment of its members. There is no covenant for the HOA to do this.  In HOA-Land it would require a court order or member approval – yeah, right!

A bankruptcy is usually filed because revenues are less than monetary payouts and the prospect is dim in making the finances balance.  Under Chapter 11, as Foxwood filed, it submits a plan to make payments on its debt and is obviously a give and take negotiations between the creditors and Foxwood as the debtor. Detailed financials are submitted including who are the creditors and what money is owed the HOA, which is essentially the assessments not being paid by the members.

Here, as I see it, the HOA filed bankruptcy in anticipation of the outstanding lawsuit which could require not the payments from the members, but for Foxwood to pay back the alleged excessive dues collected by Foxwood.  The decision by the bankruptcy court rests on the outcome of the lawsuit as it needs a precise and legal statement of Foxwood’s financial status.

See restoring HOA Constitution Plan FAQ

The existing legal structure and state laws need to be dramatically altered to remove 40-plus years of problems. His long-term plan is to apply organizational development (OD) principles and methodology to correct this long standing affront to the US Constitution.

Go here to learn more about the Plan to restore constitutional protections. http://starman.com/mgmt