Arizona, renowned for its vibrant planned communities, has seen legislative updates shaping the dynamics between community associations and public infrastructure. Arizona House Bill 2298 and the newly amended Section 33-1818 introduces crucial changes that every homeowner, community association and real estate professional should know.
Whether you’re a resident, part of a homeowners’ association or simply a real estate enthusiast, understanding these changes is pivotal for navigating the evolving landscape of planned communities in the Grand Canyon State.
What Can HOAs Govern in Arizona?
In Arizona, homeowners’ associations (HOAs) possess the authority to govern a wide range of aspects within planned communities. These are described in something called the “governing documents” — referred to as the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R) bylaws.
HOAs typically govern architectural standards, landscaping guidelines and maintenance requirements to ensure a cohesive aesthetic and preserve property values. They may also manage amenities such as parks, swimming pools and/or recreational facilities, regulating their use and upkeep. Financial matters, including the collection of assessments and budgeting for community expenses, fall under the purview of HOAs as well.
Additionally, HOAs often oversee community events and establish rules to maintain peace and harmony within the neighborhood. It’s important for homeowners to familiarize themselves with the specific provisions outlined in their community’s governing documents to understand the extent of the HOA’s authority and the obligations of residents within the planned community.
Overview of the Amendment to A.R.S. 33-1818
State legislature made an amendment to the Arizona Revised Statutes, specifically Section 33-1818, which deals with planned communities. The purpose of this amendment, outlined in House Bill 2298, is to specify the authority of planned community associations over public roadways.
The amendment applies to planned communities where the declaration, a legal document that creates the planned community, is recorded after December 31, 2014. After the period of declarant control (in which the developer or declarant has control over the community), the association of the planned community does not have the authority to regulate any roadway owned by a governmental entity.
For planned communities with declarations recorded before January 1, 2015, and that currently regulate roadways owned by a governmental entity, existing regulations remain in effect until specific conditions are met. The planned community has until June 30, 2025, to call a meeting of its members to decide whether to continue regulating public roadways. If a majority of the owners vote to continue regulating public roadways, the planned community retains the authority to do so. If the vote fails or if the community does not hold the required vote, the community loses the authority to regulate public roadways, and existing regulations expire. This section does not apply to one-way streets or privately owned roadways, regardless of ownership.
In essence, the amendment clarifies the authority of planned community associations regarding the regulation of public roadways, depending on the date of the recorded declaration and ownership status of the roadways.
Significance of the Amendment
This amendment has important implications on planned communities across the state. Its significance lies in bringing much-needed clarity to the governance of public roadways within these communities. Consider the following:
- Resolving Ambiguities: Prior to this amendment, some planned community regulations regarding public roadways lacked precision, leading to potential conflicts and uncertainties. This update aims to resolve these ambiguities, offering a more defined framework for community associations.
- Protecting Homeowners’ Interests: For residents of planned communities, the amendment serves as a safeguard for their interests. By clearly outlining the scope of a homeowners’ association’s authority over public roadways, homeowners can better understand their rights and responsibilities within the community.
- Balancing Community and Government Interests: The amendment strikes a balance between the autonomy of planned communities and the interests of governmental entities overseeing public roadways. It delineates specific scenarios where a homeowners’ association can or cannot regulate these roadways, fostering a harmonious relationship between community governance and public infrastructure management.
- Adaptation to Evolving Real Estate Dynamics: Real estate dynamics are ever-changing, and planned communities are at the forefront of this evolution. The amendment reflects a proactive approach by the Arizona Legislature to adapt regulations to the evolving needs of planned communities, promoting sustainable and well-governed residential developments.
- Community Decision-Making Empowerment: By setting a clear process for planned communities to decide whether to continue regulating public roadways, the amendment empowers community members. This democratic approach ensures that decisions impacting the entire community are made with the involvement and consent of the homeowners.
Navigate HOA Rules with an Experienced Real Estate Attorney
Whether you’re a homeowner who’s part of an association or an investor considering a property under an HOA’s purview, consulting a real estate attorney can provide you with valuable guidance on understanding and navigating governing documents and their changes. The attorneys at Gottlieb Law can help you with matters such as challenging HOA decisions, addressing disputes with neighbors or the association, or seeking assistance during property transactions within the HOA, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of rights and responsibilities within the community. Contact our firm today at 602-899-8188 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment on our contact us page.