Sen. Nancy Barto’s relentless quest to redefine contractual law escalated to new levels in the Arizona Capitol Times article, “Bill advances targeting HOA authority over roadway restrictions.” In the March 2 article, she attempted to propose a nonsensical argument where she and her friend claim ownership of a vehicle owned by someone else. I can’t follow it. You read it and try to figure it out. In the meantime, let me give another, more real world example.
Suppose I move into a home located within a homeowners association that is, in turn, located in an incorporated community. The HOA’s covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) I sign when I move in state that I will get approval for any exterior changes that I propose to make to my property from the HOA’s architectural committee. After moving into the home — which I own — I decide to paint my house bright purple. Very shortly after the house is painted, I get a visit from the HOA’s CC&R enforcers, who explain that first, I did not receive permission to do this and second, the HOA does not allow purple homes anyway.
Whoa! I say. Let me give you a couple of firsts and seconds! First, this home is my property and you can’t tell me what to do with it. Only the city where it’s located can do that. I checked with the city and it has no ordinance against purple houses. And, secondly, there is a Senator Barto who says that I don’t have to listen to you guys because it’s my house on my property so I am the one responsible for how it looks.
Then, the HOA representative points out that I signed a legally binding contract that stated I would agree with the CC&R restrictions when I moved into the area. And they further point out that I had the option of not moving into this area if I didn’t agree with their CC&Rs. My parting remark — as we later walk into the courtroom — is that Senator Barto says that contracts don’t matter.
She says that HOAs can’t set rules on property that isn’t theirs. She says they have no right to tell me how to behave. Boy, I hope that she is here to explain this to the judge when the trial starts!
If residents want to change the CC&Rs of any HOA, they have a proper avenue to accomplish that. Barto’s proposed legislation would upend contractual law by allowing residents who knowingly agreed to the legally binding CC&Rs of the community to ignore a portion of that contract.
— Larry Woods is a community liaison for the Sun City West Property Owners and Residents Association