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New Arizona law intends to crack down on 'oppressive' HOA rules

Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a bill prohibiting homeowner associations from regulating political signs that may be critical of the HOA.

PHOENIX — Homeowner associations in Arizona will now have a more difficult time regulating residents attempting to organize against the HOA after lawmakers have successfully passed a new set of guidelines. 

House Bill 2158 intends to protect the rights of residents who choose to speak out against their HOA managers by barring associations from controlling certain forms of expression and activism.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill into law this week after it passed through the Arizona Legislature.

Supporters of the bill told legislators that "oppressive" HOAs have gotten out of control with how they attempt to silence critics who may attempt to voice objections during community meetings. 

"They cut us off when they don't like what we're saying," one Arizona resident said during a Senate committee meeting last month. 

State Rep. John Kavanaugh, R-Scottsdale, said the law is intended to rein in a small minority of HOAs that have implemented "unreasonable" rules.  

"We have to move in and prevent them from stepping on people's rights," Kavanaugh said.

The bill specifically protects a resident's right to participate in HOA elections by posting association-related political signs or holding community events. 

HOAs also can't restrict the posting of notices for informal member meetings on physical or electronic bulletin boards used by the association.

HB 2158 additionally allows residents to freely assemble and discuss HOA business involving:

  • Board of Director elections or recalls
  • Potential or actual ballot issues 
  • Revisions to the community documents 
  • Property maintenance or safety issues
  • Any other community business or actions 

David Hill advocated for the passage of HB 2158 and claimed the legislation was needed to allow HOA residents to speak freely without the threat of fines or citations from their associations. 

Hill told state legislators he's seen political flyers be removed because they were critical of his HOA board members.

"Some people have likened living in an HOA to Cold War-era Berlin, where the sign reads 'Warning: Leaving the American Zone,'" Hill said.

Some local HOAs have earned negative reputations in recent years regarding how they've attempted to control conflicts within their communities. 

A Gilbert association allegedly threatened to issue fines to residents for posting unflattering remarks on a community Facebook page. 

The resident of a Maricopa HOA received a cease-and-desist letter in 2019 from his association after making public complaints about the neighborhood's sidewalks.  

RELATED: HOA 'turf war' shines a light on Arizona water crisis and leads to new state bill

RELATED: A Gilbert battle over a flagpole resolves just in time for an important date

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