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

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Audit

I asked my HOA for a copy of the audited financial statement. They said they do not need to do one, but did send me a copy of the Tax Compilation. Our CCRs state 14.4...
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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...
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  • From dennisl on HOA Account

    P Veldt;
    I’m not exactly sure what you are talking about? Arizona has management companies that are based here only as well as national or multistate companies who also work in Arizona. If you are talking about banking account, I’m not aware of any out of state Common Interest Community that does it’s banking in Arizona. That simply does not make sense to anyone. Again there are multistate banks that have branches in many if not all states, but that does not mean that out of state money is deposited in Arizona banks.
    If you could be a little clearer about what you are looking for maybe I can answer your question?
    Thank You
    Dennis

    Go to comment
    2019/10/21 at 9:14 pm
  • From joyced on Selective enforcement

    We basically have the same thing where we live. Myself and another homeowner went to a meeting in September and brought up the fact that our CCR‘s state that there is no commercial vehicles to be parked here, after much discussion they said they would table it and vote on it at the next meeting, well for the month of October the meeting was canceled meanwhile the homeowners board and management company are trying to figure out what a commercial vehicle is. So until they decide what a commercial vehicle is we are getting more
    Commercial vehicles here. No one is made aware of any homeowners meetings, the only way we knew that October’s meeting was canceled was because the two of us showed up at Septembers meeting and received an email. We need a whole new board but what can you do with only two people that bother to show up at the meetings? Neither the board nor the management company enforce any rules.

    Go to comment
    2019/10/16 at 12:50 pm
    • From dennisl on Selective enforcement

      Joyced;

      I understand your frustration, but if it is of any solace you are not alone and your community is no different than most. Clearly the first issue to address is to continue to attend meeting and continue to ask friends and neighbors to also attend and provide your comments to the board on how they should go about using discretion in defining “commercial vehicles” based on what exactly they want to achieve for the community. There is a big difference between a normal car with a commercial decal on it and a 20 ton truck. State laws also protect public service vehicles that need to respond to emergencies. Somewhere in there is a line that will make sense for your community. Help your board find that line and everyone will be better off for it.

      Dennis

      Go to comment
      2019/10/16 at 4:14 pm
  • From Dennis Legere on CCR’s

    Joseph;

    For the CC&R’s to be binding and enforceable they must be recorded in the county recorders office, for any county that the development is part of.

    Dennis

    Go to comment
    2019/10/12 at 5:29 am
    • From josepha on CCR’s

      So, my HOA Secretary has a CCR from 2001. I have a copy of ccr’s From 2007 signed by the receiver after the association went into receivership The only CCR ‘s that are recorded is the original in 1992.
      My HOA secretary says his are the right one not mine. It appears that neither are legal?
      Joe

      Go to comment
      2019/10/13 at 2:41 pm
  • From Bente on HOA harassment, retaliation and falsifying minutes

    Hi Dennis
    I appreciate your answers so much and really enjoy reading truthful information.
    My husband and I are very knowledgeable in this field of finance and real estate, but the last few months fighting with our board and management company had really opened our eyes much wider. We are flabbergasted as to what is going on.
    I have not explained what our original dispute was and right now it really does not matter.
    For almost a year now we have been subject to harassment, retaliation and lies, because we are knowledgeable and speak out.
    We have lived in this community since 2005 and it is only since this president and this new manager that we have felt the need to speak up.
    I would advice anybody to not bother getting an attorney unless you are asking for large damages and even then there are no guarantees.
    It is really hard to be knowledgeable and then constantly being lied to.
    I wish we had learned about your organization earlier.
    Thank you so much for what you do. Reading your responses are like a breath of fresh air.
    Today we are letting everything go and celebrate our experiences. Even though we lost our case we feel like we came out on top.
    Honesty always win and karma is the shits.

    Go to comment
    2019/10/11 at 6:18 pm
    • From Dennis Legere on HOA harassment, retaliation and falsifying minutes

      Bente;

      Thank you for your kind words, please tell all your friends and neighbors about our organization and ask them to join us in our fight for basic fairness and fundamental rights for homeowners. I cannot directly help people that do not know that we are here for them. Together I truly believe that we can make a difference to make these communities places where all the 3.5 million Arizonians living in them, can simply live and enjoy their lives and their homes in peace.

      Dennis

      Go to comment
      2019/10/12 at 5:35 am
  • From Dennis Legere on Audit

    John;
    What I need you to do is actually see if the bylaws actually state that the association must do a independent audit annually. It will be specified somewhere. This provision that you cites, implies that it is something that would be available for review, but it does not specify that an audit must be performed annually. This is a records request provision not a financial review provision.

    The law is written to allow three options to any common interest community that does not have a specific provision in the governing documents that require an annual or audit under any frequency. For example if the bylaws state that the association must perform an audit of it’s finances every 5 years then it could do a review or compilation for 4 year and an audit on the 5th year. This does not prevent the association from performing an audit at any time if they believe that it is necessary, which in my opinion is appropriate on some frequency if not annually. If you have ever seen a compilation it is nothing more that a duplication of the year end financial summary and a pretty useless document.

    Dennis

    Go to comment
    2019/10/11 at 5:03 pm
  • From Bente on HOA harassment, retaliation and falsifying minutes

    What is your opinion about AACM?
    Is it worth filing a complaint there?

    Go to comment
    2019/10/10 at 10:52 pm
    • From Dennis Legere on HOA harassment, retaliation and falsifying minutes

      Bente
      The Arizona Association of Community Managers claims to hold their members accountable to their standards, but I’ve never experienced that to be true in any way. Community managers pay a significant amount annually to be part of this trade group in order to claim some sort of legitimacy by paying for and attending their training classes, and to take advantage of their lobbying power. AACM is a meaningless certification similar to participation trophies for youth sports, you get it for participation in their training program not for actually knowing or understanding the fundamentals or property servitudes law that truly govern these communities. In fact the principles of this common law are not even taught in their certification courses.
      If you think that Linda Lang the CEO of AACM cares in the slightest about what any homeowner thinks of their community manager, you would be wrong. The community managers don’t work for the community homeowners they work for the association, and their focus is to only serve the board representing the association not the homeowners paying for their service. This organization is about making more money for its members in any way that they can, and all that money comes out of the pockets of the homeowners. AACM will not drop or discipline any management company that pays them thousands of dollars a year simply because homeowners complained to them about a particular manager or the company in general. While AACM will claim that they only represent community manager the reality again is quite different, They have affiliated partners that are mostly HOA attorneys that also pay up to $12,000 per year for that affiliation, do you believe for one minute that AACM will refuse that money because those attorneys abuse homeowners?
      I thing you get a picture of what I think of AACM. Any homeowner looking for help from AACM is a waste of time. The only homeowner that I know of who looked for help from AACM and actually got it relative to an issue with a community manager just happened to be the lobbyist for the Arizona Realtors Association the most powerful political force in the state. Of course those two facts were totally unrelated.

      Dennis

      Go to comment
      2019/10/11 at 10:21 am
  • From Bente Hewitt on HOA harassment, retaliation and falsifying minutes

    Hi Dennis
    Thank you for responding so quickly. Yes our attorney Jon Dessaules told us not to spend any more money as nothing got accomplished. The last straw for him too was the falsified minutes.
    We got s copy of Jan8th 2019 minutes through our attorney not stamped approved. We knew right away they were falsiifuef, because we
    had a copy of the original approved minutes. Because of our conflict with the board and knowing our president was not up front and honest we had printed out all the minutes for
    2018 and 2019 because we suspected they were cabable of doing just what they did.
    We are positive it was the president changing the minutes together with our manager, but she took the fall and the HOA attorney said it was an honest mistake.
    This is when out attorney advised us we would not get anywhere unless we filed a lawsuit and that was not worth paying for.
    Since then we have met with upper management of the management company and they also told us the manager had confessed, but does not know why she did it.
    I also had a long talk with the CEO and he is telling me that they cannot fire the manager because she is now protected by the HOA attorney.
    Last meeting they voted to amend the Jan 8th 2019 minutes to include werbage that never took place. I just looked today and the amended Jan 8th minutes are now posted and approved, but not the werbage they approved in the meeting.
    We are just disgusted.

    There is nowhere for homeowners to go at all.
    What is you experience with AACM?

    Go to comment
    2019/10/09 at 6:01 pm
    • From Dennis Legere on HOA harassment, retaliation and falsifying minutes

      Bente;
      As usual Jonathan is right in his recommendation. To pursue falsifying corporate records would be cost prohibitive unless that act caused significant harm for which you could claim damages. And you are again accurate in your assessment of justice for homeowners, there is little you can do or few options to get justice with these communities. What you can do however is initiate a petition to remove the board or at least remove the leaders of that board for not fulfilling their obligations to the community. It’s not easy to do that but it remains the only answer for many of homeowners issues.

      Dennis

      Go to comment
      2019/10/11 at 10:35 am
  • From Dennis Legere on HOA harassment, retaliation and falsifying minutes

    Bente;

    Unfortunately the AG will do little to nothing to deal or help homeowners in Common Interest communities. As corporations operating under terms of a contract HOA or Condo issues are beyond the scope of authority of the Attorney General. Unless you can provide credible cause for action against an association or its board that is criminal in nature like embezzlement or fraud you will get little help from the AG’s office. Trust me many have tried in the past all to no avail.

    The AG will also no longer even write an AG opinion on an HOA or Condo issue even is asked to do so by a legislator. In the history of Arizona there has been only one AG opinion ever written directly related to Common Interest Community issues and that was in 1997.

    Let me just tell you that what you are experiencing is far too common. The association knows that they have an endless supply of money thru assessments and special assessments and if they cannot win a case on the law they will use every tactic they can come up with, to out last the limited personal assets of a homeowner or group of homeowners. They will file motion after motion and feign ignorance in providing even subpoenaed documents to delay the hearings. If they cannot win on the law than time and money is on their side and they will simply wait you out until you fold.

    If you have an attorney he should be advising you and taking action to stop this game in your best interest. Just remember that billable hours are billable hours and he will make more money the longer this is drawn out as well.

    As for falsifying minutes, creative minute writing is an art form and totally within the direction of the board. Because minutes do not include everything that was discussed in a meeting does not make them false. If however a vote of the board was taken to take action and the minutes do not reflect that action the minutes are not falsified they are simply incomplete. If however minutes were taken and subsequently approved and then changed without a new approval of the change, then official corporate documents were falsified after the fact without the approval of the board. To make such a claim you would bear the burden of proof and would need to file suit in Superior Court.

    If proven this could be criminal in nature and the AG does have a separate division that investigates and prosecutes fraud cases. I highly doubt that the AG would take on such a case for one set of minutes unless that act was based on concealing more significant criminal activity.

    What are the issues you are pursuing maybe I can help on that front?

    Dennis

    Go to comment
    2019/10/09 at 3:53 pm
  • From Rick Colbert on Small claims court as a vehicle to contest HOA abuse

    Thank you Dennis.
    I did not want to run on into small things, however, while I have been trying to obtain a meeting with my HOA, and obtain the information required by statute, the fine has grown to over $1000. I have spoken and corresponded with the HOA attorney to get my answers, and quite frankly, have had baseless accusations leveled against me, including a cease and desist demand and an allegation of creating a nuisance, and never received a response.

    One area i am encouraged about is in small clams court, there are no lawyers, unless we both stipulate. So, it would be me against the HOA president. I also understand the Real Estate boards position and experience.

    Thanks for your advise. I will look into the Real Estate Board avenue, and I cant help but think I might need an Attorney to write this up correctly and present it. Can you point me in a direction for a reliable attorney?

    Evidently, the local HOA attorney is a real estate lawyer, and she is married to a local judge. I am in Mohave County. Other local attorneys are hesitant in going up against her.

    Go to comment
    2019/10/08 at 10:17 am
    • From Dennis Legere on Small claims court as a vehicle to contest HOA abuse

      Rick
      No problem. I do however have a lot of experience in the dispute resolution process, having read every one of the case decision since 2007 and attending in person many hearing themselves. Obviously you have the right to consult an attorney to prepare for this process, but you need not have an attorney represent you at the hearing. Unfortunately I do not know any attorneys in Mohave County. The association will most assuredly have their attorney there. Again while not an attorney, I can help you frame your petition, gather the exhibits you will need to organize your case, and help you prepare for the process of presenting you case to the judge and conducting yourself through the hearing. I do this for free. Because I’m not an attorney I cannot prepare any document that you submit to the court nor can I represent you in any way. I can however attend your hearing as an observer and provide you moral support. If you wish to pursue this avenue we can continue this conversation off line via the help@azhoc.org e-mail.

      Dennis

      Go to comment
      2019/10/08 at 12:39 pm
  • From Dennis Legere on Small claims court as a vehicle to contest HOA abuse

    Rick;
    As I tell people everyday, I’m not an attorney and try very hard to not stray to far away from what I’m directly experienced in. You have accurately depicted the due process required by law and the correct statute relative to the application of fines. The association has no right to assess any fine until the homeowner has been provide the information and the opportunity to be heard by the board required by law. Relative to the dispute resolution process from the Dept. of Real Estate you do not need to be near an ADRE office to file a petition all of it can be done thru the mail, or electronically. The real issue is the proximity to the office of Administrative Law where the hearing will be conducted. You clearly have an appropriate cause for action under the ADRE dispute resolution process as a failure of the association to comply with the due process required by state statute.

    As for your fundamental question could you file your claim in small claims court? This is where I step out of my basic comfort zone. Technically the claim is relative to the collection of money ($100) that satisfies the limitation for the appropriateness of that venue to have jurisdiction. As to whether you would be adequately served in that tribunal I cannot say. I will say that small claims or justice courts are presided over by justices of the peace that are elected to that position and have no requirement to be lawyers or judges at all. On the other hand ALJ’s are both attorneys and judges as a fundamental qualification for the administration of justice for that tribunal. State statutes provide no guidance for how a justice of the peace should run and administer his/her courtroom.

    In my opinion I would not risk your case in small claims, because I believe that with the association attorney arguing for the right of the association to enforce their rules they will be able to snow the JOP to rule in their favor. The true nature and intent of the due process required by law may be lost in this venue, and would not risk it simply based on proximity of that court to your location. While the same argument could be applied to ALJ hearing and I’ve sat thru many of them, at least you have a better chance for the ALJ to cut thru the rhetoric and baseless arguments presented by HOA attorneys.

    This is more than simple economics and more than the simple $100 fine. If the association gets away with ignoring the law for you they will ignore the law for everyone else in your community not only on this issue but in every other issue in these communities forever. Yes you may spend more money traveling to Phoenix to attend an ALJ hearing than the $100 fine but the real issue is justice and accountability to the law.

    Remember the homeowners are the only people that can hold an association accountable to the law and until homeowners stand up and hold them accountable they will continue to ignore the laws that we have fought so hard to get implemented because they can, and still get away with it.

    You are entitled to know who reported the violation and the date and time of that alleged violation. You are entitled to contest that violation within 21 days by certified mail unless the association has informed you that you can contest the violation in another way. You are entitled to an opportunity to be heard before the board in either an open or closed meeting of the board at your sole discretion. And finally the association must inform you of your right to contest the violation via the ADRE dispute resolution process. Until all of this is accomplished the association cannot assess a reasonable fine on you for this alleged violation.

    Dennis

    Go to comment
    2019/10/08 at 9:53 am
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