Legislative updates April 2017 (AZ, HI, MD)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Arizona

Arizona’s legislative session concluded yesterday.

Although approved by both houses of the state Legislature, Governor Ducey vetoed HB 2321, a bill that would have prohibited cumulative voting in association-governed communities.

Arizona governor vetoes homeowner association voting bill
Mar 31, 2017 (The Daily Progress)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has vetoed legislation barring homeowner association members from combining their voting rights to choose a single board member.

The legislation vetoed Friday by the Republican governor passed the GOP-controlled House and Senate unanimously.

House Bill 2321 was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Ken Clark of Phoenix and Republican Rep. Mark Finchem of Tucson. It barred cumulative voting, where a property owner combines their available votes in an election with multiple board seats and casts them for one board member. That practice can allow a minority of voters to control a board.

Ducey said in a veto letter that it isn’t the government’s role to regulate how homeowner associations vote.

http://www.dailyprogress.com/arizona-governor-vetoes-homeowner-association-voting-bill/article_cbedf949-797d-5bbc-9d90-c0a66c334cd0.html

 

House and Senate passed HB2411. The bill amdends current statute with regard to open meetings, recording of meetings by members of the association, and secret ballot requirments. An unrelated amendment was also included – section 33-440, which specifies that property owners may make amendments to a previously recorded declaration of covenants in the absensce of a homeowners’ association or a board of directors.

Critics note that including an amendment unrelated to the subject of the bill is unconstitutional.

See Rogue AZ Senator violates AZ Constitution by George K. Staropoli

HB 2411 awaits the Governor’s final signature – unless Gov. Ducey vetoes it.

 

Status of other HOA bills introduced by Arizona Homeowners Coalition, as summarized in a previous blog:

Died  in session/Not passed: SB 1400 (to raise foreclosure thresholds), SB1113 (regarding artificial grass), SB 1240 (regarding HOA regulation of parking on public streets), SB 1288 (regarding board member disclosure of conflicts of interest), SB 1289 (each party to pay own attorney fees for administrative hearings), SB 1402 (Accountability, prohibit conflicts of interest for Managers), SB 1402 (establishment of improvement districts, removal of mandate for HOAs for new construction)

 

Hawaii

According to reports, HB 381, proposing establishment of a Ombudsman for condominium owners, are officially dead. This is no surprise, as I blogged about industry opposition to this legislation previously here.

Also going nowhere this session, are the following bills summarized in a previous blog: HB 382 (regarding disclosure of board member conflicts of interest), HB 1312 (would have mandated manager licensing, among other things), HB 1308 (would have authorized a study commission for regulatory agency)

Several bills remain alive, including HB 1499, a bill that would allow a unit owner to request mediation with regard to legal fees attached to delinquent assessments. HB 1498 and HB 832 include minor amendments with regard to a unit owners right to access certain records of the association, and the board’s fiduciary duty to provide access.

Another bill, SB 369 would prohibit retaliation or discrimination by the Association or one of its agents against a unit owner who files a complaint against the association. However, a unit owner’s single recourse against retaliation or discrimination is to file civil action, a potentially costly method of seeking relief or damages.

Time is running short, as Hawaii’s legislative session ends May 4, 2017.

Help For Condo Owners Comes In Small Doses, If It Comes At All

Advocates had high hopes at the Hawaii Legislature, but some condo bills died and others were watered down.
By Anita Hofschneider / April 24, 2017 (Civil Beat)

Excerpt:

House Bill 1499 remains a work in progress. It has several parts, one of which states that boards would not be able to demand that owners pay certain charges — like legal fees — if the owners dispute the charges and request mediation. The only exception is common-area fees.

Read more:

http://www.civilbeat.org/2017/04/help-for-condo-owners-comes-in-small-doses-if-it-comes-at-all/

 

Maryland

Maryland’s session ended April 10, 2017.  HB 789 was passed to allow amendment of bylaws (condo associations) and CC&Rs (condo and homeowners’ associations) with only 60% approval of members in good standing (defined as less than 90 days delinquent on assessments). The intent was to make amendments easier to achieve, however, this new lower threshold for approval could also result in greater conflict in associations where nearly 40% of unit owners oppose amending their governing documents.

The resale inspection fee is to capped at $50 in HB 34.

However, several other controversial bills did not pass. Association governed communities will not be required to register with the state (HB 41), and manager licensing will not be required (HB 1192).

The Legislature killed HB 651, a proposals that would have required a Reserve Study every 5 years. Another bill involving enforcement of developer warranties, HB 676, would have prohibited a developer from creating obstacles in governing documents to prevent unit owners from filling a construction defect warranty claim. (Such as reducing the statute of limitations.)

2017 Maryland Condo and HOA Legislation–The Final Score

Read more:

http://marylandcondominiumlaw.net/2017/04/24/2017-maryland-condo-and-hoa-legislation-the-final-score/

 

 

 

 


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