HOA has Lien for Unpaid Monthly HOA Dues but not for Unpaid HOA Fines

By Christopher Combs | December 31, 2023

Question: In a recent column you said that a homeowners association (“HOA”) has an automatic lien against a home if HOA monthly dues are not paid.  Thus, a buyer of the home would be responsible for any unpaid monthly HOA dues if not paid by the seller at close of escrow. On the other hand, you stated that an HOA does not have an automatic lien for unpaid fines charged by the HOA for violations of the CC&Rs, e.g., leaving the garage door open overnight.  Thus, a buyer of the home is not responsible to pay any unpaid fines.  This…


HOA Enforcement of CC&Rs Prohibiting Short-Term Rentals Does not Require Complaining Neighbors

By Christopher Combs | November 26, 2023

Question: We live in North Phoenix with CC&Rs adopted twenty years ago that prohibit any rental of homes in our community for less than one year. In the last three years, for the months of January, February, and March, we have lived with our daughter in Tucson, and we then do short-term rentals (“STRs”) of our North Phoenix home. These STRs pay our mortgage for the entire year. We have never had any complaints from our neighbors. Last week we got a notice from our HOA’s attorney that, after reviewing Airbnb and VRBO listings, the HOA knows that we do…


Recovery of Attorney’s Fees in CC&R Disputes

By Christopher Combs | July 2, 2023

Question: We live in a beautiful community of 27 homes in Litchfield Park near the Wigwam Country Club. There is no HOA. Our CC&Rs require any amendment of the CC&Rs to have the approval of the majority of the homeowners. Everyone in our community has always been opposed to short-term rentals (“STR”). Therefore, when a STR owner bought a home in our community last year, we had to hire a lawyer to write letters back and forth with the lawyer for the STR owner. We finally had to file a lawsuit, and the STR owner immediately sold the home to…


My HOA Wants to Test My Dog’s DNA. Can They Do That?

By Christopher Combs | April 23, 2023

Question: We live in an HOA community in North Scottsdale. We have two French poodles that we walk in the community, and we carry a “scoop and bag” to clean up any mess. Last week, our HOA Board of Directors passed a Rule that requires DNA testing by the HOA of all dogs in the community. Although the DNA testing is free, there will be a fine of $250 against the owner of any dog that is not tested. The obvious purpose of this rule is to find the “bad” dog owners in our community who don’t clean up after…

Foreclosure sign

Homeowner Association Lien Typically Lost By Foreclosure

By Christopher Combs | January 22, 2023

Question: A homeowner in our Glendale community has not paid the monthly HOA fees for more than a year, and our HOA now has a lien of $8,000 for delinquent monthly HOA fees. The HOA president recently received a notice of foreclosure from the homeowner’s mortgage lender. If there is a foreclosure by the homeowner’s mortgage lender, will the HOA get paid the $8,000? If not, how does our HOA collect the $8,000? Answer: In general, a foreclosure of a first mortgage on the home will “wipe out” the $8,000 HOA lien on the home. If the foreclosure is other…


New Association Rules Need to Be ‘Reasonable and Foreseeable’

By Christopher Combs | December 4, 2022

Question: In our Glendale HOA community there have been two recent incidents involving a small child being severely bitten by large dogs. Our HOA has now amended the HOA Rules and Regulations to require that all dogs be muzzled while being walked in our HOA community. We have two Golden Retrievers and we don’t want to walk them with muzzles. We know from reading your column that the Arizona Supreme Court recently said that amendments to CC&Rs have to be “reasonable and foreseeable.” Is that the same standard for Rules and Regulations? Can we be fined for not complying with…

Enforcement of CC&rs with no HOA

Enforcement of Covenants, Restrictions Without an Association

By Christopher Combs | November 20, 2022

Question: The CC&Rs for our Buckeye community of 38 homes were adopted in 1978. There has never been an HOA to enforce the CC&Rs. A provision in our CC&Rs prohibits two-story homes. A recent buyer of a one-story home in our Buckeye community plans to “tear down” the one-story home to build a two-story home. Several owners of one-story homes in our community, whose views of the White Tank Mountains will be affected by two-story homes, want to oppose the construction of this two-story home. If there is no HOA, how do we enforce our CC&Rs to prohibit two-story homes?…


Condominium Associations Cannot Prohibit ‘For Sale’ Signs

By Christopher Combs | October 23, 2022

Question: In a recent column you cited an Arizona statute that restricts an HOA from prohibiting “For Sale” signs on a homeowner’s property. We live in a beautiful condominium community in the Arcadia area. The CC&Rs for our HOA community prohibit “For Sale” signs. After we showed your column to our HOA property manager, she said that this Arizona statute only applies to homes and does not apply to condominiums. Is she correct? Answer:  No. ARS § 33-1261 specifically restricts condominium HOAs from prohibiting “For Sale” signs. Note: An amendment to the condominium CC&Rs generally requires the consent of at…