AZHOC - Arizona Homeowners Coalition
Voice for homeowner rights and justice.

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Sketchy Vote

Hello,

This is my first post to AZHOC. My HOA just voted on proceeding with a project that will cost approximately $100K dollars and negatively affect our community in other ways. Our community is small (<30 units), so this is a substantial hit on our financials. The members were notified of the meeting, but the meeting notice did not indicate that the Board was going to vote on the project. In fact, the Board President even admitted in a subsequent email that going into the meeting there was no intention to vote on the project. In reading ARS 33-1248, I question the legality of this vote. Has anyone else experienced this or have any thoughts to contribute. Thank you very much in advance for any advice or experience the forum can share with me.

3 Responses

  1. Dennis Legere

    Shawn;
    Unfortunately Arizona statutes only require that meeting of the board be noticed. I’ve been trying for years and have an additional proposal to require that the board post the agenda of the meeting along with the notice of the meeting so that members have a chance to see that such an issue is to be discussed and then they can decide to go to the meeting to voice their input into that decision making. As I’ve always said The board advisors, attorneys and community managers tell the board what they can do but never advise them of what they should do. Even if the board has the sole authority to approve such an expenditure they should as part of their responsibility to treat members fairly provide for a public question and answer session to at the very least let the community know that they are even considering such a move.

    What makes these issue even more egregious is the fact that for most association these decisions are not support with resources available in the capital reserve fund or worse yet money is available but all dedicated to other long term maintenance, other than the project being considered. This is nothing short of total breach of the fiduciary duty of the board to the community members. They take money from you for use on some projects in the future but then divert that money to do something altogether different leaving the communities long term needs under funded.

    The only real issue before you is whether you community documents allow the board to make such expenditures with community input and vote. If you documents require this then they violated those documents even though they did not violate the law. If you have the community documents in an electronic format you could send them to me and I’ll look them over for you. Send it to help@azhoc.org.

    What you and your community can do right now is join our coalition and help me and us fight for better laws that protect our fundamental rights as homeowners and help board make decisions based on what is right for their communities and not just on what they can and cannot do,

    Thanks
    Dennis

  2. Shawn

    Thank you, Dennis. I appreciate your time and your insight.

    I was hoping that ARS 33-1248 (E)(1) would help, when combined with the policy statement in subsection (F).

    (E)(1) “The agenda shall be available to all unit owners attending.”

    (F) “It is the policy of this state as reflected in this section that all meetings of a condominium, whether meetings of the unit owners’ association or meetings of the board of directors of the association, be conducted openly and that notices and agendas be provided for those meetings that contain the information that is reasonably necessary to inform the unit owners of the matters to be discussed or decided and to ensure that unit owners have the ability to speak after discussion of agenda items, but before a vote of the board of directors or members is taken. Toward this end, any person or entity that is charged with the interpretation of these provisions, including members of the board or directors and any community manager, shall take into account this declaration of policy and shall construe any provision of this section in favor of open meetings.”

    However, it looks like there is plenty of weasel room for the unscrupulous Board. The real kicker is that the Board is basically a lame-duck Board. They are going to lay waste to our finances and then leave. Frustrating, but I assume that I am preaching to the choir on this one!

    I am glad that I encountered your web site. I will pass the word around my community, and hopefully we can increase your numbers.

    Thanks again,
    Shawn

  3. Dennis Legere

    Shawn
    You are absolutely correct. There is a clear disconnect between the policy statement and the actual language in the statute. This is the classic example of attorneys interpreting the law in a fashion that it was never intended to be used because they can. And they know that even if someone challenges the board based on their advice that they simply make more money even if they lose and they are proven wrong. That is why I’ve been trying to close those loop holes for so long. For homeowners to have a chance of knowing what the board is doing they must get the agenda before the meeting and not simply at the meeting. People have families to raise and cannot go to every board meeting in case they discuss something important to the community. This has all been a plan to keep homeowner in the dark about what the board is doing or planning. This is coupled with the practice of not allowing homeowners to speak during the meetings or worse yet badgering any homeowner who dares to ask a question or to question the actions of the board.

    We have a long way to go to get truly open and participatory board meeting, but that has and will continue to be our primary objectives. But if we can get the homeowners in this state to unite with us we can get our laws changed to work for the homeowners paying all the bills instead of for the HOA industry that makes incredible profits based on their influence with the legislators and the Governor.

    Dennis

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