Ventana Lakes POA Board Threatening Homeowner with Trespassing
Ventana Lakes POA Board is refusing to listen to homeowners regarding the Board’s illegal acts. The Board is denying homeowners the right to free speech and peaceful assembly. A homeowner stepped up as an advocate and organized an HOA Membership Support Club to educated residents on governing documents and HOA laws. The Board refused to allow the Club to schedule a common area facility to meet, citing that only the Board could educate residents on HOA matters. When Association members did meet in a common area facility to discuss community concerns, the Board is now threatening trespassing, an injunctive action and fees against the homeowner advocate if any Association common area facility is used. Are homeowners not allowed to use common area regardless of the reason as long as it is not illegal, immoral or in violation of the governing documents? If the Board is acting within the law and the Association governing documents, why would they fight homeowners meeting to have a better understanding of their community governing documents and Arizona HOA laws? Is the only way to stop this Board’s bullying be to file a lawsuit? Would an ADRE complaint resolve the issue?
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Unfortunately not yet in Arizona. California recently enacted a law that would mandate what you ask, and prevent boards from interfering in homeowners rights to free speech and to assemble peacefully. Arizona has no such protection, and while as corporations the fundamental protections of the constitution do not apply in these associations. Under Property Servitude’s common law the association can apply no restriction on the homeowners that are unconstitutional or that violate public policy. Public policy would include the fundamental freedom of speech and freedom to assemble. However one would have to challenge the association in court to leverage this case law.
The association owns all the common property in a planned community, you identified your community as a POA, and Property Owners associations are all planned communities. As such they can establish rules for the use of those facilities. But those rules must apply to anyone using the facility and cannot be selectively enforced only on one group. If they allow any group of homeowners to use the facility they must allow any other group of homeowners to do the same. While they can absolutely prevent any outside group from using the facilities, if your group of property owners were to invite me to speak to you, the association has no right to restrict that meeting.
There are no Arizona Laws governing this situation so to bring an issue before the Administrative Law Judge the association would have to be violating one of your community documents. I would have to actually see your documents to comment on that possibility. You are however free to take the association to court in either Superior court or Federal Court. You should absolutely consult with an actual attorney before you considered such an action.
The comment about only the board can tell homeowners about HOA law or HOA business is absolute crap, most HOA boards don’t even know that state laws exist protecting homeowners. If you can read you can understand the law, you do not need an attorney to tell you what it say or especially a board member to tell you what it says. Give your advocate our contact information. I would like to meet him or her.
The only way for these communities to take back control of these communities is to band together, learn about what their rights are and correspondingly learn about what their responsibilities to the association are. While the board has absolute power in these communities it is only the homeowners that can elect a board and can conversely remove any board member with or without cause. To do so however you must band together and demand a board that listens to the community and treats them with respect and dignity.
You can absolutely run one of these communities without denying the homeowners their fundamental constitutional rights. This is still the USA and not some third world dictatorship trying to suppress the masses to stay in power.