HOA debt not disclosed

Who is responsible for undisclosed HOA debt?

By Christopher Combs | March 14, 2021

Question: After we bought our home in Chandler, we attended the homeowners’ association (“HOA”) annual meeting. At this HOA annual meeting we learned that our HOA was in debt for $62,000.00 for attorney’s fees incurred because of a prior lawsuit with our landscaping company. The result is that a portion of our monthly HOA dues goes to pay back this $62,000.00 debt which is of no benefit to us. There is nothing in the HOA Addendum or in our purchase contract regarding this $62,000.00 debt. The seller has denied knowing anything about this $62,000.00 debt. Why should we have to…

large van

No Grandfather Rights if CC&Rs are Amended

By Christopher Combs | February 14, 2021

Question: Our Mesa community has CC&Rs that prohibit commercial vehicles larger than ¾ ton. I have had a ¾ ton commercial van for more than five years with no HOA problems. The HOA has now amended the CC&Rs to prohibit ¾ ton commercial vehicles. Is my ¾ ton commercial van grandfathered? Answer: Probably not. Under most CC&Rs there is a clause allowing amendments to the CC&Rs upon the written approval of a certain percentage of homeowners, e.g., 75% of the homeowners. Therefore, if your CC&Rs have been properly amended to prohibit ¾ ton commercial vehicles, you will probably have to…

Pool Deck

CC&Rs Must Be Followed Regarding Neighbor’s Pool Deck

By Christopher Combs | January 3, 2021

Question: We have owned a home in Chandler for over eight years. Our neighbor recently built a large wooden pool deck next to his swimming pool only five feet from our property line. We were in Colorado for most of the summer while this pool deck was being built. Our neighbors and their guests can now stand on this pool deck and look directly into our backyard. We never had any notice from the HOA or from the neighbor about the construction of this pool deck. Although we recently planted large ficus trees on our property line, this pool deck…

rental lockbox

Short-Term Rentals Not A CC&R’s-Prohibited ‘Business Activity’

By Christopher Combs | December 6, 2020

Questions: We live in a nice Glendale neighborhood of 188 homes near the Cardinals stadium. At least twenty of these homes have become short-term rentals (“STRs”). Our CC&Rs require that any amendment to the CC&Rs must have the approval of 75% of the homeowners. We are not sure that we can get 75% approval of the homeowners, as many of the homeowners don’t seem to care about STRs. Our CC&Rs currently prohibit “operation of a business.” The STR homeowners in our neighborhood advertise on AirBnB/VRBO, manage the moving in and out of STRs, and collect rent from the STRs. Isn’t…

Crazy Drivers

Can CC&Rs Be Enforced To Prevent “Crazy” Driving In Neighborhood?

By Christopher Combs | September 13, 2020

Question: We own a home in a small community of twelve homes in Camp Verde. Although we have CC&Rs, there is no HOA. One of the homes is owned by a Phoenix resident who on weekends comes up with his two sons, and they drive their trucks and motorcycles like crazy in our community. We have tried to talk reasonably with this homeowner, but he either gets angry or ignores us. Can we fine this homeowner? If not, how can we stop the uproar every weekend? If we have to hire an attorney, can this homeowner be required to reimburse…

Foreclosure auction

Foreclosure Proceeds After HOA Foreclosure

By Christopher Combs | September 6, 2020

Question: Thank you for your recent column on the right of an HOA to foreclose on a home for nonpayment of $3,000 in delinquent HOA dues. In your example the house was owned free and clear, and was valued at $185,000. My question is, after the foreclosure sale, would the HOA get the entire $185,000 foreclosure sale proceeds, or would the HOA only get the $3,000 delinquent HOA dues, and the homeowner would get the remaining $182,000? Answer: There are sophisticated investors who daily look at foreclosure notices that schedule foreclosures of homes. These investors then compare the value of…

Party House

CC&Rs Can Allow An HOA To Approve Potential Tenants

By Christopher Combs | August 23, 2020

Question: The problem in our community in Tempe is not short-term rentals, but rentals to ASU college students who turn the home into a modern-day “Animal House.” Can we amend our CC&Rs to prohibit rentals to tenants who are less than 21 years old? If not, can our HOA board of directors interview every potential tenant to eliminate the “John Belushi’s,” and only allow rentals to hard-working college students? Answer: Yes to both questions. First, although families with children, and disabled individuals, e.g., senior citizens with dementia, are both protected Fair Housing classes, age by itself is not a protected…

Pink House

Amendments To CC&Rs Are Enforceable Against Existing Homeowners

By Christopher Combs | August 16, 2020

Question: In a recent column you said that, if the required majority of homeowners, e.g., 51% of the homeowners, vote to amend the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (“CC&Rs”) to prohibit short-term rentals, then such restrictions would be enforceable against all homeowners. I understand that when a buyer purchases a home, that buyer must comply with the existing CC&Rs. Any amendment to the CC&Rs, however, should only apply to a buyer who purchases a home after the amendment to the CC&Rs. Existing homeowners should be “grandfathered,” and not required to comply with any amended CC&Rs. To carry your argument to the…