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Subject: How to have a minimal HOA and ACC?
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CbS
(Arizona)

Posts:2


06/01/2021 9:41 PM  
For 20 years my comfortable attractive semi-rural neighborhood has been very laid back and the bulk of us, long time and newer, like it that way. Our HOA has never sued or penalized. We work with individuals when compliance is difficult, and sometimes we look the other way when someone resists or acts without permission (e..g painting a house a non standard color). So enforcement is uneven but we have learned to be tolerant because none of it is ugly.

Along comes a new Board with a much different agenda involving inspections and enforcement and being less “lax” none of which was disclosed during election season. Many of them speak as tighter enforcement and more rules would be beneficial, absent any complaints or evidence to the contrary. The act as if it’s a duty. The people who wish to resist this heavy handed new approach seek evidence that nothing at all compels us to be more rigid or seek out infractions to enforce. The resistors also point out as a practical matter they can’t fine us all if we decide to ignore them.

Do HOAs ever disband their own ARCs? Can we amend our documents to make for a very minimal set of rules and articulate our reluctance to be punitive? I can’t find any precedents short of disbanding a whole HOA which we don’t seek or need. We just want a very low key ARC/ACC.

All ideas welcome.

TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17609


06/01/2021 10:26 PM  
Posted By CbS on 06/01/2021 9:41 PM

Along comes a new Board with a much different agenda involving inspections and enforcement and being less “lax” none of which was disclosed during election season.




I'm surprised that you are surprised that it wasn't brought up during the election.

Posted By CbS on 06/01/2021 9:41 PM

Many of them speak as tighter enforcement and more rules would be beneficial, absent any complaints or evidence to the contrary. The act as if it’s a duty.




It is the duty of the board to, evenly, enforce the covenants.
They don't have to go looking, but if informed, they should act within the confines of the governing documents - equally on all members.

Posted By CbS on 06/01/2021 9:41 PM

The people who wish to resist this heavy handed new approach seek evidence that nothing at all compels us to be more rigid or seek out infractions to enforce.




Granted, there likely is nothing to compel a board to be rigid or relaxed on enforcement.
Hence, it's the choice of each board on how to respond to violations.

Posted By CbS on 06/01/2021 9:41 PM

The resistors also point out as a practical matter they can’t fine us all if we decide to ignore them.




Expecting that the board has the authority for monetary penalties for non-compliance, fining all who are in violation would be the proper way to handle violations. Otherwise, it would be selective enforcement.

If there are many in violation, the board might not be reelected (providing that those who disagree with the board actually gather support and get themselves elected to the board).


Posted By CbS on 06/01/2021 9:41 PM

Do HOAs ever disband their own ARCs?




I've heard of not having enough volunteers for an ARC.
I've never heard of a board disbanding the whole committee.

That said, committee members serve at the pleasure of the board.

If there are no volunteers to serve on the committee, then the board must be the committee until they can find volunteers.

Posted By CbS on 06/01/2021 9:41 PM

Can we amend our documents to make for a very minimal set of rules and articulate our reluctance to be punitive?




Yes, you can gather support and amend the documents.
documenting reluctance to be punitive would be counter productive.
Simply, specify how to enforce and, since past boards refused to enforce but looked the other way (per your posting) then I would suggest an article that allows the board to grant waivers to the covenants.

That said, I chose not to purchase in such a community in TX due to the potential of friends of the board getting waivers while others did not.


Hope this helps,

Tim
CbS
(Arizona)

Posts:2


06/01/2021 11:37 PM  
Thank you for the long reply Tim. I am sure many onlookers will share your sentiments, even if I did not, If I understood what you were saying, you once avoided what I am seeking,

I personally would rather see us rewrite the CCRs to be explicitly minimal than to have power hungry picky people assume we have a duty to enforce absent extreme non-compliance. But since most service providers, whether lawyers or property managers, make a living making rules and enforcing them I imagine it would be quite a challenge to find help of the kind my cohort seeks.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10247


06/02/2021 5:03 AM  
You have the whole concept of HOA's wrong CB. Lawyers and PM's have not a thing about making any HOA rules. It's the members of the HOA that do. A HOA is a "club" of homeowner's whom fund and enforce the conditions they want to live in/within. So don't go blaming the professionals. The job is in yours and your neighbor's hand...

Former HOA President
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:444


06/02/2021 5:27 AM  
Posted By CbS on 06/01/2021 11:37 PM
Thank you for the long reply Tim. I am sure many onlookers will share your sentiments, even if I did not, If I understood what you were saying, you once avoided what I am seeking,

I personally would rather see us rewrite the CCRs to be explicitly minimal than to have power hungry picky people assume we have a duty to enforce absent extreme non-compliance. But since most service providers, whether lawyers or property managers, make a living making rules and enforcing them I imagine it would be quite a challenge to find help of the kind my cohort seeks.





What kind of help do you want from your specific service providers? Because if you’re not on the board, then no, they aren’t going to take direction from you. But that has nothing to do with not agreeing with what you want.

As a manager, I don’t care whether boards are strict or lax. My salary isn’t based on the number of violation letters I send out.

If you want to amend your documents, the method for doing so is in your documents.

If you don’t like your new board, the method for recalling them is also in your documents.

Before you and your neighbors decide to ignore fines you should check state statutes to see if associations are allowed to lien or foreclose over unpaid fines, and if they have a priority of payments statute.

You might also try giving the new board a chance, talking to them and finding out why they feel the way they do.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3973


06/02/2021 5:33 AM  
You may be reluctant now to enforce the rules, but what happens when someone does or builds something that's truly obnoxious? Your community has a habit of being lax when it comes to enforcing rules, and that could work against you.

Like Tim, it seems to me you should have paid more attention during the board election when the candidates told you what they'd like to do and how they wanted to do it - do you think they were kidding? What's "heavy handed" to you may actually be quite reasonable. Things can and DO change after 20 years (or two months or two weeks), and you're correct that documents should be updated periodically to be concurrent with changes in HOA laws and the community.

And yes it IS a duty of the board to enforce the rules. Actually, homeowners can enforce the CCRs against each other, so what's stopping someone from going after YOU for a violation? It's still a rule and if you've been ignoring it, that may not fly in court. On the other hand, if the rules aren't enforced, a judge may render them unenforceable and that can make things really tough down the road when you have a big problem. I think your board recognizes this and is trying to fix that now.

The key to rule enforcement is not to nitpick over everything, but to be consistent and fair. You don't need a ton, just try to come up with the ones that are reasonable and tweak them from time to time as needed. It's not an exact science to come up with just enough that help the community to maintain its original look and design and facilitate homeowners to behave as good neighbors (pick up the dog poop, no junk cars on the lawn, etc.)

You don't say how large your community is, but it may be there are A LOT of people who think differently than you. That's ok, but if you want "minimum rules," perhaps a better approach is to look at what type of problems you have, which ones are more annoying than others, if there are emerging problems that need to be addressed and THEN add, drop or amend what you have. Rinse and repeat every few years and keep homeowners in the loop.
AugustinD


Posts:601


06/02/2021 7:42 AM  
Posted By CbS on 06/01/2021 9:41 PM
For 20 years my comfortable attractive semi-rural neighborhood has been very laid back and the bulk of us, long time and newer, like it that way. Our HOA has never sued or penalized. We work with individuals when compliance is difficult, and sometimes we look the other way when someone resists or acts without permission (e..g painting a house a non standard color). So enforcement is uneven but we have learned to be tolerant because none of it is ugly.
The question is not one of ugliness. As a matter of law, the question is whether what actions have been taken violate the covenants. As a matter of law, the board does not have the legal right to pick and choose which covenants are enforceable. Doing so amounts to an attempt to amend the covenants without achieving the required vote of the membership.

Along comes a new Board with a much different agenda involving inspections and enforcement and being less “lax” none of which was disclosed during election season. Many of them speak as tighter enforcement and more rules would be beneficial, absent any complaints or evidence to the contrary. The act as if it’s a duty.
Under the law of covenants (which is largely the law of contracts), it is a duty of the Board to enforce the covenants, bylaws and those rules the covenants permit the HOA to create.


Do HOAs ever disband their own ARCs? Can we amend our documents to make for a very minimal set of rules and articulate our reluctance to be punitive? I can’t find any precedents short of disbanding a whole HOA which we don’t seek or need. We just want a very low key ARC/ACC.
Of course you can follow the procedures given in your HOA's Declaration and Az statutes and amend the covenants. HOAs do this all the time, with the caveat that using an attorney to get the HOA through the process is highly advisable.
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