A Primer on Homeowner Associations

Image result for heartburn cartoon imagesMany developments in Arizona operate under a homeowner’s association. The majority of those remain under the control of the declarant a.k.a. “developer” until one hundred percent of the lots/houses are sold. White Mountain Vacation Village is one of those developments.

When a development is under the control of the declarant/developer, the board of directors is appointed by the declarant/developer and serves at the pleasure of the declarant/developer. After all of the property is sold, the association transitions to the control of the homeowners. At that time, the homeowners hold an election to determine who will serve as directors. White Mountain Vacation Village bylaws state that a nominating committee will determine who will run for the office of director.

Several people have posted comments on the blog demanding a vote on actions taken by the Board of Directors. People want to vote on speed bumps and bocce ball courts. The bylaws and restrictions for the Village state that until the association is turned over to the members, all memberships are non-voting.

When the association is delivered to the homeowners, all memberships will be considered voting memberships. What does this mean to the Members? Members will be able to elect their representation (board of directors) by ballot vote. The board of directors will then appoint, from among the elected board, the officers.

There are two other things that homeowners are able to decide by vote; (1) a change in the bylaws of the association and (2) a change in the covenants, conditions and restrictions of the association. Nothing else is decided by vote.

A homeowner association operates essentially the same as city, county, state and national government. The voters elect representation and the elected officials make decisions on behalf of the voters.

It would become very cumbersome if homeowners voted on every decision the board of directors is required to make. Should homeowners vote on whether or not to keep the utilities on in the clubhouse? Should they vote on whether or not to plow the streets in the winter? Should they decide on what insurance company to use? Should each homeowner scrutinize the paint on the clubhouse before a decision is made on whether or not to repaint? How about repair of potholes? Repair of laundry equipment? Where is the line drawn so that management can be effective? What if there was a vote required on everything but sometimes there wasn’t a majority who voted? What then?

You do have a say in what the Board of Directors does with the dues. An Advisory Committee was created in 2016. The charter allows up to seven members. Some positions are available. The Activities Committee Chair has an automatic position on the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee Chair, Ray Hedlund, has all but begged for participation. People are quick to complain but will not step up to have a say. The Board is asking those of you who insist you must be allowed to vote on speed bumps and bocce ball courts to step to the plate and volunteer. Ray is ready and willing to listen to your solutions to these issues.

Those who insist on voting are the vocal ones who don’t mind shouting loudly on a blog post about how unfair life is. There are countless others who quietly thank Ray and his committee for the hard work they do and the decisions they make. If the Board allowed a vote, it might not go the way some would expect.

You are encouraged to read the Village bylaws and covenants, conditions and restrictions. They can be found on the Village People website. Each owner was given a copy to review before you closed escrow on your property as well. You were required to sign off that you received a copy. Becoming familiar with those documents may relieve a little heartburn.

One thought on “A Primer on Homeowner Associations

  1. Quite the post Liz, unless i missed something no one challenged the legality of the HOA board or it’s board member’s power. Just that it would be nice to a voice on things, such as speed bumps, since it affects us village residents getting around on the daily making it extremely unpleasant not to mention the wear and tear unnecessary on our cars suspension, instead of having them seemingly rammed down our throats.
    Though gov’t bodies do have alot of power I thought we still lived in a free society and our gov’t is supposed to impose the will of its people not wills of those in power.
    That said keeping on the speed bump subject, has anyone been hurt, mamed or killed? Please don’t respond that “should we wait till someone does to do something”
    Gotta say your post says alot about who is running our HOA and it is unfortunate.


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