AZ GOV committee hears the voice of HOA members

The Arizona GOV committee meeting on HB 2158 yesterday heard the voice ot the HOA homeowners  — the HOA citizens — on the need for HOA regulation and control of rogue boards. The members heard the horror stories, and were made awareof lack of free political speech as enjoyed by non-HOA members.

The bill passed 7 – 0 with 131 owners submitting their support for the bill, using the RTS (Request to Speak) procedure, while just 3 RTS submissions were against the bill.  This procedure allows the public to submit a short statement for or against a bill, with the option of speaking at the meeting.  All submissions become part of the public record and are accessible by the public.

Here is a sample of the FOR submissions at both  the earlier House (195 FOR; 31 Against) and Senate hearings, by the owners themselves and not just board members:

  • This bill is necessary to prevent the abuse of fundamental rights or free speech and assembly. Please support it.(WD)
  • Homeowners should be able to use all the facilities of the HOA to express their concerns and ideas abou8t HOA business.  Please support this bill. (PF)
  • Please protect homeowners rights to voice their opinions without fear of retribution (KHW)
  • This bill seeks to protect homeowner’s ability to participate in the governance of their communities and to express their support or opposition for board candidates or community ballot measures in an attempt to influence the outcome. (D Legere)
  • It is criminal how HOA Boards are allowed to infringe upon one’s right to assemble/speak and impose their beliefs. (LN)
  • HB2158 will allow homeowners to engage each other over concerns for the betterment of their communities. (SP)
  • Please vote to protect the homeowners right to show support or opposition to HOA Board candidates.  The suppressive measures that our board takes is board line criminal.   (RW)
  • This bill will help empower homeowners to fight against overbearing board of directors. (KC)
  • We need to pass this legislation to protect the right of assembly and to redress the government for those who live in HOAs.  Vote yes for this bill.  (JR)
  • HOA’s should not be allowed to restrict a home owner’s freedom to assembly or free speech. Regardless of which side of the ballot the home owner votes on. (LS)
  • Homeowners are handicapped from effective political participation in HOA governance and fair elections will make a difference. (yours truly)
  • It prohibits HOAs from infringing on Constitutional rights of owners during HOA elections.  Two thumbs up!  (CS)

Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head Pretending he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind The answer is blowin’ in the wind

protected speech concerning HOA governance

Last month I urged  all HOA members to support Arizona’s HB 2158,

Many courts have referred to the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) as the HOA constitution.  Arizona’s HB 2158 is a second try (Arizona HB 2052 restores homeowner constitutional speech protections ) to prohibit restrictions on HOA members’ freedom of political speech with respect to HOA governance issues and matters.”

(Do you stand behind the US Constitution or your HOA ‘constitution’?)

The bill addresses the right of members to free political speech on matters affecting the governance of the HOA by specifying such rights and prohibiting HOA interference with these rights.  While the bill refers to “association-specific” signs, it is a giant step toward HOA democracy by creating a fair election and voting process, affecting procedures now dominated by the pro-HOA governing documents.

You can read the itemized “freedoms” here.  Just a few,

  • Defines an association-specific political sign as a sign that supports or opposes a candidate for the board or the recall of a board member or a condominium or planned community ballot measure that requires a vote of the COA or HOA owners.
  • Prohibits a COA or HOA from prohibiting or unreasonably restricting an owner’s ability to peacefully assemble and use common areas of the COA or HOA,
  • [prohibits] making any other regulations regarding the content of an association-specific political sign,
  • Allows an owner to invite one political candidate or guest to speak to an assembly of owners about matters related to the respective condominium or planned community.

The bill passed the House and will be heard all over again, as required by law, in the Senate this Monday, March 14th.  The Senate has always been a “stopper” of HOA reform bils; your continued, loud and clear support is necessary.

Email the Senate Government committee members NOW! 

Sonny BorrelliVice-Chairman
Sally Ann GonzalesMember
Theresa HatathlieMember
J.D. MesnardMember
Martin QuezadaMember
Wendy RogersMember
Kelly TownsendChairman

If familiar with the Legislature’s RTS procedure, sign on and make your voice via RTS, which is read by the committee members and made part of the record. Instructions on how to set up your RTS account can be found here.  It may look complicated but it simple, just fill in the boxes.  Your RTS can be used for any bill by just entering the bill number. 

Unfortunately, you must set up your account at a kiosk at the state capitol, after which youc can access your account from your home.

Support CO 22-1137 for HOA due process justice

Another HOA enlightenment bill has been proposed in Colorado, 22-1137, joining California’s and Arizona’s legislation to restore homeowner fundamental rights and freedoms.  Reading the bill as introduced, it addresses a number of issues designed to provide meaningful due process, to good extent, allowing for small claims adjudication and restrictions, limitations on the HOA’s right to fine, interest charges, late payments, work-out plan before foreclosure, and limits on the amount of collection to just 3 times amount owed (avoids unusual and cruel punishment charges). 

What more can a homeowner ask for to obtain justice and fairness within the HOA government? Go for the bill! Support it!  Get what you can before the evil empire strikes back and whittles the bill down!  Yet, to my disappointment, a homeowner advocacy group has found problems with this bill, all relating to how it would cost the HOA more money. 

What is needed, as I’ve repeatedly argued, is strong support for the sponsor, Rep. Naquetta Ricks, and an outpouring of emails to the legislators, especially to the committee members who will hear the bill.  If there is a Request To Speak option at the legislature, sign up and use it!

Related issues

In a broader view of HOAs as private, separate local governments keep in mind what has been ignored and bypassed by state legislatures across the country, including Colorado. Why are there private HOA governments when there are public home rule, charter governments?   

All the states have a version of home rule that varies in the degree of independence granted to a local governments and under what terms.   Given this existing legal mechanism for strong, independent  local control, why was there a need for the creation and approval of, and the support for, private government HOAs?

 (See America’s homeland: HOA law vs. Home rule law; Colorado Constitution, Art. XX, §6, Home rule for cities and towns).

Do you stand behind the US Constitution or your HOA ‘constitution’?

Many courts have referred to the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) as the HOA constitution.

Arizona’s HB 2158 is a second try (Arizona HB 2052 restores homeowner constitutional speech protections ) to prohibit restrictions on HOA members’ freedom of political speech with respect to HOA governance issues and matters.  It has passed put of committee and Caucus.

This important bill has been sitting for an extended 2 week time awaiting the House leadership to schedule it for a full House vote of all the members. NOT A GOOD SIGN!  My years of experience lead me to believe it does not have the support of the leadershp that has the right, under House Rules,  to withhold bills from further votes.

HB 2158 (2022). You can read the bill at the legislature’s website. Read the important amendments below. This is your chance to stand up for constitutional protections against the CAI lobbyists, many whose members have been or are SCG directors – conflict of interest!

L. Notwithstanding any provision in the community documents, an associociation [sic] may not prohibit or unreasonably restrict a member’s ability to peacefully assemble and use private or common areas of the planned community . . . . An individual member or group of members may organize to discuss or address planned community business, including board elections or recalls, potential or actual ballot issues or revisions to the community documents . . . . The association shall not restrict posting notices of these informal member meetings on physical or electronic bulletin boards used by the association for posting notices for the association’s or board of director’s official meetings.”

This bill has support from the Nevada Supreme Court opinion in Kosor (NV supreme court upholds HOAs as public forums (re: Kosor 2021)) that contained several California opinions serving as legal precedent.

 “[A] unit owner’s association or a planned community association (association) may not prohibit a unit owner or member (member) from peacefully assembling and using private or common elements of the community . . . legitimate and valid criticisms of your HOA and its president and board are protected from HOA lawsuits of defamation and libel.”

“Nextdoor.com post qualifies as a public forum for the purposes of anti-SLAPP protections. . . .these steps [Kosor’s statements] do not seem to differ significantly from that which might be required to view posts on Facebook; that is, a post on Nextdoor.com is as compatible with expressive activity as one on the other platform, which we have already held can support a public forum.”

“The HOA here is no less of ‘a quasi-government entity’

* * * *

The following is an excerpt from a lengthy email sent to me by a long time AZ homeowner rights advocate, Dennis Legere. It and his email are made public with Dennis’ permisssion.  It  reveals the obstacles an hostiity he faces trying the get HOA reform legislation to restore lost rights and freedoms. It contains his comments on the heavy opposition  from CAI and AACM (AZ managers association, CAI trained).

The ridiculous nature and hidden motivation of the HOA trade groups [CAI and AACM] is what makes any HOA meaningful legislation so difficult to get introduced or protected from demands from the trade groups for provisions that benefit them only.”

Take back controll of your HOA!  Write your Representative in support of this bill. Also write the sponsor, Jack Kavanagh (jkavanagh@azleg.gov) and the House leaders in support of this bill urging that it be submitted for a hearing by all the House members. Do it today!

House leaders:

Rbowers@azleg.gov – Speaker (R)

tgrantham@azleg.gov – Speaker Pro Temp (R)

btoma@azleg.gov – Majority Leader (R)

lbiasiucci@azleg.gov – Majority Whip (R)

rbolding@azleg.gov – Minority Leader (D)

ddegrazia@azleg.gov – Minority Whip (D)

jlongdon@azleg.gov – Asst Minortiy Whip (D)

proposed HOA constitutionality bill

“Now is the time for all good homeowner advocate leaders to come to the aid of member-owners”

 living in HOAs and suffering abuse, financial and emotional distress as a result of BODs being  protected by Arizona laws. These abuses are easy to understand and support! (See HOA Common Sense: rejecting private government and The HOA-Land Nation Within America).

A quick and simple — but highly effective — bill that was proposed in March 2011 and will bring relief to homeowners being treated a second-class citizens by state laws in support of the HOA legal scheme. It was ignored by Arizona advocates and dismissed by the Legislature.

“No provision of any contract or any declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions . . . is enforceable in this state unless the party seeking to enforce the provision proves by clear and convincing evidence that 1) the provision being enforced was knowingly and voluntarily agreed to by all parties . . . . Any representation or statement offered as clear and convincing evidence . . . shall include a signed statement containing the following, beginning with “I understand that I can ask that the following be read and explained to my satisfaction.”

So reads an excerpt from my proposed “Truth in HOAs” statute that should be made law in each and every state. That is, if indeed the legislature stands by the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, which we are hearing so much about in the media nowadays.”

The “The Truth in HOAs Act,” as I called  it,  allows each state to modify the proposal in accordance with its state HOA/condo acts — shown in square brackets [].  Also, subsection (3) contains a list of acknowledgements  that can be tailored to each state’s advocate lobbying efforts.  See Arizona Truth in HOAs statute (pvtgov.org).  The essential bill section is contained in subparagraph (4).

Therefore, in reference to subsection 3(d) above, the CC&Rs or Declaration for any planned community, condominium association or homeowners association shall state that, “The association hereby waivers and surrenders any rights or claims it may have, and herewith unconditionally and irrevocably agrees to be bound by the US and State Constitutions and laws of the State as if it were a local public government entity.

 The real estate subdivision or condominium will not be affected by requiring HOAs to join with other forms of local government and be subject to the Constitution as a home rule entity.  See HOAs violate local home rule doctrine and are outlaw governments.

This 2022 legislative session offers a unique, one-time opportunity to get the message across and to educate the legislators. Remaining silent on the issues only plays into the pro-HOA hands of CAI and offers excuses by the media not to cover HOA abuse.  Not only will you find “ammunition” in support of your arguments as contained in the 2 above publications, but also in my Arizona Supreme Court  amicus brief filed and accepted in Tarter v. Bendt (see note (vi) in Can HOA members expect justice in Arizona courts?).

My arguments are summarized in the Commentary.  As is my approach, my arguments are supported by legal authority and hard evidence documents, which CAI ignores and YOU lose!  They must be exposed if the legislators are to be fully informed on the reality of HOA-Land.  As leaders who are internet publishers,  actions speak louder than words!