Our Board Just Received Notification that a Sex Offender Moved into our Association. What can we do about this?

By Beth Mulcahy, Esq. Unfortunately, our firm has received this question many times in 17 years. First, let’s talk about Arizona law. Arizona Sex Offenders Community Notification Statutes On June 1, 1996, the Arizona legislature adopted the Arizona Sex Offenders Community Notification Statutes (A.R.S. Sections 13-3821 to 13-3828). Under these laws, once a convicted sex offender is released from jail and intends to enter and remain in Arizona, the sex offender must register with the sheriff of the county in which they intend to reside. Prior to release, the agency that had custody of the individual completes a risk assessment which determines the offender’s risk level. The level of risk… Read More

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What does the Vice President Really Do?

by Beth Mulcahy, Esq. It is sometimes a thankless job, and may go unnoticed if the association has a very active and robust President. However far in the background, the Vice President plays an important role for the community association board of directors. The immediate answer when asked what the vice president does is to substitute for the President in his/her absence. This is an important role and carries the same management and skill sets as the President. The Vice President must be well versed on community issues and ready to step in when asked. The Vice President may be called upon to preside over the board meeting when the… Read More

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3 Important Tips for the New Board Member

By Beth Mulcahy, Esq. A position on the board of directors is voluntary, but most newly elected board members want to do their best and start off on a good footing so they often ask me, “What are the most important things a new board member should do?” I have narrowed it to three important tips, and would advise seasoned board members to review these tips as well as new board members. 1.  Read the association documents and the minutes of the previous year. Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs): The CC&Rs define the use of the land. The declaration outlines the standards for the community and establishes restrictions… Read More

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Help! I am a Board Member that is being harassed by an owner in our association… What can I do to stop the harassment?

By Beth Mulcahy, Esq. Unfortunately, this is a question that is frequently presented to our law firm. Usually, the story goes something like this… Disgruntled owner is unhappy about something in the association such as a violation letter received, a planned capital improvement project, a special assessment or an increase in assessment rate. The disgruntled owner becomes abusive to the board or the manager (harassing phone calls or messages, showing up at board member’s home unannounced, bad behavior at a board meeting). Here’s what board members need to know about the best way to handle this situation. Black’s Law Dictionary defines harassment as “words, gestures or actions which tend to… Read More

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Transfer Fees 411

by Beth Mulcahy, Esq. Our Association wants to charge a “transfer fee” or a capital improvements fee to buyers when they purchase a home in our community? Is that allowable? How can we implement this type of fee? A “transfer fee,” is paid to the association for a specified purpose, such as funding the association’s reserves or contributing to the association’s working capital fund. Transfer fees are sometimes also referred to as capital contribution fees, working capital fees, and/or reserve contribution fees. Pursuant to A.R.S. Section 33-442, an association can charge a transfer fee, capital contribution fee or reserve assessment fee that becomes due at a close of escrow when the following requirements… Read More

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Reserve Studies 411

by Beth Mulcahy, Esq. Our association board is considering hiring a company to prepare a reserve study but we aren’t really sure what a reserve study is. Can you define a reserve study for us? How much do reserve studies cost? A reserve study is a budgeting guide that provides a comprehensive plan that shows an association how much is reasonable to place in reserve for a specific replacement or maintenance project. When properly executed, it can give a clear picture for the maintenance, repair or replacement requirements of association assets for the life of the association. A reserve study starts with an accurate inventory of the community’s assets to determine the… Read More

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Summer Board Meetings Made Easy!

By Beth Mulcahy, Esq. During the Summer months, many board members travel outside of Arizona to escape the heat. Due to travel schedules during June, July and August, sometimes it is difficult for the board to obtain a quorum to have a board meeting. Under Arizona law, all meetings of the association must be conducted in the State of Arizona. However, A. R. S. Section 33-1804(D)(3) and 33-1248(D)(3) permits any or all board members to participate in a regular or special board meeting through the use of any means of communication by which all directors and owners participating in the meeting may simultaneously hear each other during the meeting. As… Read More

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KEEP CALM AND CALL THE MEDIATOR!!

KEEP CALM AND CALL THE MEDIATOR!! As a Community Association Member, have you ever had trials and tribulations like…… My neighbor lets his iguana swim in the community pool- What, your neighbor has an iguana? Well, the Treasurer and Vice-President of our Board are at war with each other- Is that all? We have widespread parking disputes. That’s nothing! We have one unit owner that keeps storing his belongings in the Common Area. Well, at least he doesn’t hang superman sheets from the window. No, but the lady next door uses her garage as a disco-tech. The list goes on and on. When troubles like these arise: What to do??… Read More

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How To Stop Pass Sharing at Your HOA Pool

Why is my pool so crowded?  Who are all these people at the pool?  Those teenagers don’t live in the community.  Why isn’t the pool collecting any guest money? Does this sound like you? Believe it or not, some communities embrace this culture.  After all, it is a community pool.  The elected board members have made a decision to allow a loose pass policy and/or decided not to collect guest fees. When this is the case, you may hear comments like these: “My family uses XYZ HOA pool, my mother in law lives there.”  “When my girlfriend comes to visit, she uses my next door neighbor’s pass.”  “Everybody is allowed… Read More

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Communications and Community Governance

“That government is best which governs least” – Thomas Paine Thomas Paine was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and dubbed “Father of the American Revolution” by historians. He was born in 1737 and lived a remarkable life that spanned the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and life in France under Napoleon’s rule. His communication skills were legendary and he largely influenced many Americans to take up the cause that became the American Revolution. So important were his writings, we still talk about him today. Community Association Volunteer Leaders (CAVLs as they are designated by CAI) would do well to heed the words of Thomas Paine. In… Read More

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