Homeowners groups hot topic for Legislature
Arizona lawmakers have pitched at least 17 bills during the latest Legislative session aimed at reforming homeowners associations.
Some lawmakers believe the bills have a strong shot at reaching the desk of Gov. Janet Napolitano.
''The pressure is there. The people are tired of it,'' said Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa, who has proposed six of the bills. ''It's come to a head because of some HOAs trampling over home- owners.''
Yuma County Supervisor Casey Prochaska, whose district in the Foothills contains some HOAs, says a limit should be put on the amount of power given to associations to make it harder for them to abuse their authority.
"This is a private type of government that needs to also make sure that they do things according to a set standard of laws that's fair to everyone," she said.
Those pushing for change are careful to note that they are going after the ''oppressive'' associations, not all of them. But some fear that in trying to curb abuses by a few, the proposed laws could harm many.
Yuma County Mayor Larry Nelson, for instance, who belongs to a homeowners association, says HOAs provide a valuable service to protect the integrity of the community, and that the few that abuse their power should be dealt with on an individual basis.
"They want to take after everything with a shotgun instead of a rifle," he said. "If you've got a problem, deal with the problem. Don't create problems for everybody."
In previous years, lawmakers tried to craft a massive bill that touched on countless aspects of associations. That failed, and some considered it a lesson learned.
This legislative session offers a slew of narrowly-focused bills, each addressing a specific HOA concern.
House Majority Leader Eddie Farnsworth, a Gilbert Republican, says there is a growing support ''for reining in these quasi-government entities.''
''I think everyone down here knows HOAs are an issue that has to be dealt with,'' he said.
Staff Writer Matt Riehl contributed to this report.