My wife and I moved into a HOA community in 2016. We reside on the Colorado river, which has an abundance of wildlife, including feral and stray cats. When we moved in there was no restriction on feeding cats, however, in April 2018 a new rule was created by the HOA. There was no public comment or warning, just a letter telling us we were now in violation.
We agreed the cat problem was getting out of hand, however the HOA had publicly admitted their previous solutions were to trap and dump the cats in the adjacent desert (a felony violation of AZ State law). We had a meeting with the HOA President and came to a verbal understanding we would take steps to remove the growing colony, and in July 2018, we captured 6 adults and 9 kittens. For those interested, the adults were fixed, vaccinated and placed into a County wide farm working cat program. The kittens were fostered and made forever pets with local families.
Status reports were made at a yearly board meeting acknowledging the removal and another letter from the management company was also sent to us in January 2019 seeking an update. I responded to the management company with the update and also informed them were were going to stop trapping and the HOA should seek other methods.
In March we received a notice of violation indicating we had violated the no feeding rule, which we denied. The letter only provided 10 days to respond, failed to provide the date/time of the violation and how to correct, other than to pay a $100 fine.
A letter was sent to the HOA and the management company demanding the date of the violation and the first and last name of the person or persons who observed the violation, pursuant to ARS 33-1803 D. Also noted was the error in times. ARS 33-1803 C provides a member who has been notified of a violation has 21 days to respond. Once a response has been made, the HOA then has 10 days to respond with the requested information.
My question is can this type of action be contested in small claims court instead of the State Real Estate Department? We do not have a real estate board office locally.