Local legislators focus on HOA bills



Article Courtesy of The Daily Courier

Published January 10, 2005


Arizona Rep. Lucy Mason plans to introduce several bills this month to rein in homeowners associations, while Rep. Tom O’Halleran plans quite a few bills dealing with natural resource issues.

Legislative District One’s other elected official, Senate President Ken Bennett, R-Prescott, focuses more on the bill process than introducing bills because of his leadership position.

Lucy Mason

Tuesday is the first deadline for House members to drop bills. After that, they can introduce only seven more by Feb. 7. Senate members can introduce as many bills as they want by Jan. 31.

Mason and O’Halleran have not yet introduced their bills, but they have their general plans in place.

Mason plans to introduce four or five bills dealing with homeowners associations (HOAs), each dealing with different parts of the law.

The HOA bills include ones that seek to:

• Require builders and developers to make clear when their HOA takes effect, using a percentage of constructed homes as the gauge.

• Restrict HOA board authority to “fair and reasonable” rules that Mason has not yet defined. For example, one Maricopa County HOA requires residents to wear name badges on the grounds, she said, and that’s not reasonable.

• Require municipalities to hear HOA disputes to keep them out of the costly courts and keep HOA fees down.

• Set up a state HOA resolution board that can hear disputes that municipalities don’t want to hear.

• Add HOA homeowners to the homestead exemption so they get the same protection as other homeowners from losing their properties to liens.

“I’m just trying to surround this issue with some common sense,” Mason said of the increase in HOA disputes around the state.