Courtesy of The Arizona Republic
Published Feb. 8, 2005
Much of a new batch of pro posed state laws
dealing with neighborhoods and homeowners associations could pack a
heavyweight punch to the power of local HOAs, which are mandated in most
Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, has again decided to take on what he
sees as the imbalance of power between HOAs and homeowners' rights by
introducing a bill that would restore the homestead exemption to protect
homeowners in disputes with their HOAs.
Under the bill, HOAs would not be able to foreclose on someone's home
for unpaid assessments and fees. They would have to wait to collect on a
lien until sale of the home, like most other creditors.
A law Farnsworth sponsored last year stripped HOAs of
the ability to foreclose on a resident's house because of unpaid fines
for code violations. He also fought last year to restore the homestead
exemption to property owners under HOAs on that bill, but it was removed
as part of a compromise.
It's a battle Farnsworth has vowed to wage for homeowners for some time,
saying he wants to limit the power of what have become
"People shouldn't be homeless because they have weeds,"
Farnsworth has argued.
One person thrilled to see Farnsworth begin waging that battle again
this session was Pat Haruff, president of the Coalition of Homeowners
for Rights and Education.
Restoring the homestead exemption to property owners under HOAs is
something Haruff of Mesa has lobbied for with CHORE for years. If it
passes, along with another bill that would create a panel at the state
level to mediate and enforce laws in HOA/homeowner disputes, Haruff said
two primary goals would be achieved.
"We will never go away until we have both," she said.
Last year, several state laws ushered in reforms to Arizona's homeowners
associations. Most of Gilbert's estimated 167,000 residents live in
neighborhoods with HOAs because the town mandates the associations for
all developments with common areas.
Among the bills this year:
• HB 2214 - Homeowners association and planned community
board. Would create a planned community hearing board to enforce state
statutes regarding HOAs.