Regulatory agency enforcement of HOA violations

There has always been a secondary mechanism for enforcing civil law violations that homeowners have been told very little about. In fact, the national ‘educational’ business trade organization has fought against this method from time immoral.

The enforcement of civil law can be found in such state (and federal) regulatory agencies as real estate, banking, medical, registers of contractors, bars, hair salons, etc. Except for HOAs.  Why not?

While state legislatures have intentionally avoided explicit delegation of authority to HOAs, their abdication of their constitutional responsibilities by a do nothing, hands-off attitude is an implicit delegation of authority. This failure to protect HOA members has caused much harm and injury to   individual homeowners, and has caused much divisiveness and disharmony within HOA communities. The various state HOA acts are devoid of any effective supervision, control, or oversight and should be declared unconstitutional.  A regulatory HOA agency solves both the constitutional and civil enforcement defects.

Read the complete paper at HOA regulatory enforcement.

See Model AZ regulatory agency bill and AZ Model regulatory HOA agency fact sheet.

AZ Model regulatory HOA agency fact sheet


This proposed bill was adapted from Florida’s SB 1348 (2015) and specifically tailored for Arizona. (It was initially proposed in 2008 by Florida’s Cyber Citizens for Justice,  Its objectives are the creation of a state agency called the Department of Homeowners Associations headed by a Commissioner, and the creation of an HOA advisory board to make recommendations to the Commissioner.  It was modeled along the lines of the AZ Department of Real Estate.

Understand that the bill must specify in detail the powers, authority and procedures to follow in conformance with the law.

The format of the bill follows generally accepted standards for bill drafting.  It uses CAPS for new words and strike-outs for deletes.  These are the important provisions of the bill.  The remainder, in normal formatting, is presented as unchanged wording that must appear as required by bill drafting standards.  Generally, they may be ignored. Each part of the statutes is introduced with “Section n,” not part of the statute, followed by the title of the actual statute being changed, such as “Section 33-1806.” A descriptive, either a “is repealed” or “is added”  in total, or  “is amended” phrase follows. Changes are then presented along with the required unchanged wording of the section.

Adapting to other states. The areas to focus on in order to understand the proposed agency are those, as mentioned above, in CAPS and strike-outs.  They may be incorporated into the statutes of other states as is.  However, no complex bill is without links or references to other statutory sections that relate and bear directly on the validity of the new agency.  These ‘links’ would need to be modified and adjusted, most likely extensively, if the bill is to be introduced outside Arizona.  It requires someone with sufficient understanding of bill formatting and who can work with legislative staff to assist in making these necessary adaptations.

The descriptions given below may contain the advisory, “IGNORE,” which identifies code unique to Arizona and probably needs to be changed if adapting for use in other states.

Understanding the bill, Sec. by Sec.

Note that the bill contains seemingly duplicative changes.  One addresses 33-1200 et seq. (and following) and the other addressing 33-1800 et seq. This is because the 1200 sequence pertains to condos and the 1800 sequence pertains to HOAs (planned units).

Sections 1 and 2 add additional wording to title of existing statutes. IGNORE.

Section 3 adds the Department of Homeowners Associations and establishes the office of an HOA commissioner under Title 41, Chapter 20, 41-2325.  Paragraph (A)(3) defines the duties and powers of the department, including the authority to use the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) for dispute resolution. Subsections (B) and (C) present the intent and purpose of the bill.

Section 4 adds the powers of the Commissioner to enforce the condo and HOA statutes, which under subsection (B) includes training and education requirement.  Subsection (C) grants the Commissioner the power to set rules that have the power of law. Many agencies have been granted his power, including the real estate department.

Sections 5 and 6 detail the procedures to follow and powers of the Commissioner to handle complaints and investigate complaints, respectively.

Section 7 specifies the penalties for violating the proposed bill statutes, a requirement absent from HOA governing documents, but required by public criminal law.  It’s a notice requirement.

Section 8 adds the funding requirement of $4/door to support the agency.

Section 9 adds the establishment of the HOA advisory board. Subsections (A) and (B) specify the breakdown of the homeowner dominated board.  Subsection (E) defines the authority to recommend revisions in the best interest of the public.

Sections 10 – 16 specify the procedures regarding HOA disputes and OAH hearings since the existing agency is set to expire in 2019. It just moves current law into a new section of code, Chapter 20.  IGNORE.

Sections 17 and 18 revise linked statutes to the addition of Chapter 20 above.  IGNORE.

Section 19.  Omitted in error.

Section 20 repeals the existing OAH funding.

model HOA regulatory agency bill

shockingThe attached was submitted to AZ legislators.  The model bill should be tailored to your state’s laws.  The sections under 41-2000 et seq. are the amendments that should be included as part of any similar effort to create a level playing field for homeowners.

 From: George

Sent: Monday, January 26, 2015 6:11 PM

Subject: department of HOA is desperately needed as DFBLS is doomed

Dear Arizona Legislators,

I quickly put together a solid bill (attached) based on a Florida bill and adapted to Arizona to help relieve continued legislative involvement in what should be handed by a bona fide regulatory agency.   I took pains to write a good bill in conformity with the drafting requirements and I hope it will ease your review.

I well understand the current atmosphere of no government interference, but the gross and shameful treatment of HOA members by the HOA stakeholders demands justice.  It is not a question of misplaced dogma, but of treating all the people equally under just and fair laws.

The proposed bill summary reads:

Summary.   This bill establishes a department of homeowners associations with full direct regulatory authority over Ch.9 and Ch. 16 associations under the direction of a commissioner. It provides for receiving complaints, investigations, filing legal actions, issuing civil penalties, rulemaking, and establishing an Advisory Board to provide recommendations to the commissioner.  Funding is provided by a $4 per unit fee per year.  The processing of HOA disputes by DFBLS is stricken.

My proposal brings a more level playing field in that the proposed Advisory Board will be balanced in favor of the members, and does not consist of any HOA stakeholder vendor lawyers or managers.  It’s the people’s vehicle for justice.

I urge you to stand behind the effort and sponsor the bill, and campaign for its passage.  I will be happy to meet with any legislator to explain the bill and answer any concerns.


George K. Staropoli

HOA boards cannot escape wrongful acts by their managers

Given the fact that the HOA manager and/or firm acts “in place” or “on behalf of” the board under a contractual relationship that explicitly identifies the manager as an “agent” or “management agent,” the HOA can be held liable for the acts of its manager. (See study of Arizona management contracts).

Under tort law (the common law of wrongful acts) of vicarious liability (the tort doctrine that imposes responsibility upon one person for the failure of another) and respondeat superior, the board cannot ignore, walk away or refuse to take corrective action action against the manager without incurring liabilities.

First, from the HOA’s obligations, under the officers and directors duties to act in good faith and as a prudent man, the board is obligated to act against its manager where state laws and the governing documents have been violated, or when the manager is clearly committing wrongful acts, like making false statements, harassing a homeowner, etc.

Second, let’s look at what the Restatement (3rd) of Agency (2006) has to say about the liabilities of the agent and principal (manager – board). (Of course, one would not expect to see this material covered in any government sponsored seminar, or manager licensing education, like at the Leadership Centre in Phoenix, which is supported by the towns of Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Apache Junction). “Direct liability” refers to suing the party as such. The main points are summarized below:

¶ 7.01 An agent is subject to liability to a third party (homeowner) harmed by the agent’s tortious conduct.

¶ 7.03 (1) A principal is subject to direct liability to a third party harmed by an agent’s conduct when . . .

(a)(ii) the agent’s conduct, if that of the principal, would subject the principal to tort liability; or . . .
(b) the principal is negligent in selecting, supervising, or otherwise controlling the agent;
(2) A principal is subject to vicarious liability to a third party harmed by an agent’s conduct when . . . the agent commits a tort when acting with apparent authority in dealing with a third party on or purportedly on behalf of the principal.

¶ 7.05 (2) When a principal has a special relationship with another person [as the board with a homeowner], the principal owes that person a duty of reasonable care with regard to risks arising out of the relationship, including the risk that agents of the principal will harm the person with whom the principal has such a special relationship.

¶ 7.06 A principal required by contract or otherwise by law to protect another cannot avoid liability by delegating performance of the duty, whether or not the delegate is an agent.