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Seeking Valley law firms experienced in righting HOA Boards

Am seeking recommendations for legal assistance to help right our HOA Board. I recently resigned from the Board due to blatant disregard for the obligations the Board has to our community. This includes violations of our governing docs plus numerous AZ State statutes.

Issues include (but not limited to) violation of public meeting laws, breach of contract, conflict of interest, self-interests driving Board behavior, and suppression of CC&R enforcement.

Bottom line is our members have every responsibility to pay their assessments, otherwise the Board have and will place a lien on their property. However, the Board feels no obligation to deliver services in return for these assessments.

Recommendations?

5 Responses

  1. dennisl

    Yuke17,

    Unfortunately you gave up the greatest power you had to change the board and that was while you were on the board. Trust me when i say that i fully understand what it is was like to be the lone voice of reason on a board that had no understanding of what their responsibilities were or their duties to the homeowners in their community. The intimidation and pressure to conform is great and overwhelming at times. But the reality is the board has no legitimate way to remove you for not agreeing to what the law breakers want. You are entitled to your position on issues especially if you are in the right and they are all wrong. You have the public pulpit to expose the board for their wrongdoing and sway public opinion about the abusive board members and can help guide them to take their community back. You have the power to see everything that is done wrong and to bring that to light in any meeting of the board. You have the power to explain the law to the board that no homeowner has and you have the power to enforce the open meeting laws and vote against any effort to circumvent the law. The Community managers are absolutely no help because they are all incompetent and the HOA attorneys are even worse because the more strife that is generated in any community the more money they make. They can never be held accountable for anything they tell the board even if it is dead wrong and a total lie. If anyone challenges the board based on the advice of the attorney than the attorney makes more money defending the board and win or lose right or totally wrong in his advice, always gets paid.

    Now the only real recourse at your disposal is to circulate a petition to recall the rest of the board. It is not an easy task but it is doable and has succeeded in many communities. If you want to pursue this avenue let me know and I’ll guide you thru the process.

    Dennis

    1. yuke17

      All the rights you outlined as a Board member have been exercised to their fullest. However, 1 director does not have the authority to ensure compliance. I have logged 27 emails representing 17 different topics whereby I sought to educate, confirm, question, challenge and guide. Yet all 27 resulted in no response. When I ask for explanations on unilateral actions taken and not taken by the President and Secretary, I received no response. When I submitted complaints presented to me by the community, thinking as a Director that would ensure attention by the board, there was no response.

      There are no board meetings, despite the bylaws, hence no public forums. Since I have been a director there were 2 meetings of the board members (vs board meetings), but neither followed the rules of public notice nor Robert’s Rules of Order. Only the annual member meeting is conducted in October. But these meetings are poorly attended by the membership (less than 5%), and previous public challenges to the Board’s breach of contract methods resulted in complete indifference by the board and didn’t even make the meeting minutes, despite that being the bulk of the public agenda. (BTW, the board doesn’t believe the terms of our governing docs constitutes a contract with the membership.)

      I fear a petition will be a waste of time. If it fails due to public apathy, it will merely reinforce the bad behavior. Given the numerous violations of State statute and our governing docs, it has become a legal matter requiring an influential 3rd party to resolve these systemic issues.

      So my request remains. Any recommendations for a capable law firm to address these matters would be greatly appreciated.

      Regards.

      1. dennisl

        Yuke17
        In a community that does not care about the actions of the board you are doomed to the will of the incompetent board and the community as a whole will suffer. You are absolutely right one board member is fighting against the tide if the homeowners don’t care enough about their community to get involved. While their are no minimum required number of board open meetings any action taken by the board out of an open board meeting violates the open meeting laws of this state and as such can be raised in a petition to the Dept. of Real Estate and the board forced to comply with the open meeting laws. This can all be done without an attorney but you must be able to demonstrate the proof of non-compliance. Roberts rules of order are not a requirement for any association board. The association must hold elections every year why are these people re-elected? If you do not have enough engagement for a recall have you tried simply nominating candidates to run for the board to give the people options for change. While I can recommend an attorney are you prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars to pursue this case? While open meeting law violations are simple to demonstrate failure to respond to inquires are not against the law. Failure to comply with and enforce the governing documents will constitute breach of contract irrespective of the beliefs of the board but will be difficult to prove in court. While litigation might prove satisfying the only people that win in any litigation against the HOA are the attorneys for both sides. The members of the community lose in every case because win or lose they end up paying for the legal fees of both sides, and the person bring the case even if right ends up being hated in the community because the board makes sure that the individual is blamed for the expense.
        Unfortunately until I can get enough public support for better laws governing these communities the only real answer to situations like your are to remove the abusive board members and replace them with people who at least try to comply with the law and act in the interest of the community as a whole.
        Dennis

  2. Georg

    I live in a community that has been labeled as “uncaring”. It couldn’t be further from the truth. The people in my community do care but the board ignores questions when asked and none of the members on the board engage with members of the community at all. They never post meeting information until the evening before the meeting and they ignore questions and concerns of the community. They do what they want when they want and the community looks like crap. Most of the property is dirt. They refuse to seed or do a turf conversion or anything to improve the community. They close the door on our faces when we go ask about things like our January of 2021 $8,500.00 water bill! I just realized that there is something a community can do to elect the right board members. Avoid antisocial people. Look for the neighbors who say hello and engage a conversation with you when you walk by. If your neighbor has never spoken to you or even acknowledged your existence they probably won’t make a good board member. Hoa board members are suppose to do what is best for the community which takes communication. Go walk through your neighborhood every evening for a month and keep track of the individuals who spoke to you. Start engaging in conversation about what is going on with the hoa board members and suggest to the social people themselves that they join the hoa board.

    1. DennisL

      Georg,

      You are absolutely correct, to key to a happy community is an engaged community that wants the best for their community and the place that they live. It is very easy to complain that things are not getting done the way you like or that a board is none responsive. They work for you if they are not doing their job don’t complain be a victim organize a petition to recall the board member or members and put new board members in place that will take care of the community. Being on the board can be a thankless job and some people wear down, but are concerned that no-one else will take their position and they feel stuck. While you can look for people that are outgoing and ask them to run for the board as you suggest but you could also run for the positions as well. Often the best board members are the ones that care enough about their community to simply get involved. Please remember that as a board member you will never please everyone so don’t even try you will simply get frustrated your only job is to act in the best interest of the community as a whole as you see it. If you do this with simple common sense and honestly you cannot or should not be second guessed.

      Dennis

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