Legislative Shenanigans in Arizona

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guest blog by Dave Russell

Here’s more background to the enactment of Arizona’s SB 1482 which will profoundly impact homeowners across the state.

You need to look no further than the “stakeholders” of the bill: The Arizona Association of Realtors, CAI and the Arizona Association of Community Managers, all of which have formed an alliance here in Arizona.

This was a bunch of individual bills all log-rolled into one. Individually, each one of these groups would never have let most of this pass.

The CAI convinced the Arizona Association of Realtors “that if we all work together, everyone can get what they want.” You know, except for the homeowners living in HOAs.

After the housing market crash, most Realtors are now managing rental properties to subsidize their dwindling incomes. Unfortunately, the Realtors ran into a snafu when it came to renting units in HOAs. It was those pesky, city sponsored, crime prevention programs, requiring criminal background checks and photo identification on tenants.

 Probably one of the only useful things an HOA does is, preventing those convicted sex offenders and drug dealers from living next door to you and your children. Well the Realtors somehow decided that these programs were interfering with profit, and wanted the Arizona Legislature to eliminate them.

No surprise here, the Realtors worked their mojo with Rep. Michelle Ugenti (Realtor) and Sen. Gail Griffin (Realtor) to sponsor their unconstitutional legislation.

The Realtors can now rent to any criminal they want, as SB 1482 has abolished the basic requirements of every statewide HOA crime prevention program. The only good thing an HOA has done, so we toss that out the window.

The Arizona Association of Community Managers (offshoot of the CAI) can now have their property managers take the homeowner to small-claims court, and self represent. Of course the legislation doesn’t address how much the management companies and their HOA managers can charge the HOA for “legal fees” performed by non-attorneys. I’m sure those “legal fees” will exceed what a real attorney would have charged.

Now let’s not forego the unfair disadvantage to Mr. & Mrs. Homeowner, who probably never set foot into a courtroom. That’s right, it’s the inexperienced homeowner vs. the HOA gurus. Sounds fair? Not.

Arizona HOA legislation is almost like the hit show “Survivor” where the teams build secret alliances, while competing in challenges to earn either a reward, or an immunity from expulsion from the game in the next of the successive votes for elimination.

Ward’s note: Dave Russell will be featured on Shu Bartholomew’s OnTheCommons.net radio show August 30th. It should be fascinating.
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About Ward Lucas

Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, “Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association,” is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation’s legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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