Changing HOA Rules

A significant number of homeowners belong to homeowners’ associations.  This gives rise to many questions about how Arizona HOAs can change their rules.  Homeowners should always check their community’s CC&Rs for a description of the rule-changing process specific to their HOA.

When homebuyers purchase a home in a HOA, they agree to abide by the terms of the community’s CC&Rs.  Homeowners in a HOA become contractually bound to follow the rules outlined in the CC&Rs, including those pertaining to how rules may be changed.  While most CC&Rs outline how rules can be changed, this process can differ from community to community.

Some Arizona HOAs require a majority vote from the membership before the HOA can change any rules.  This provides a means for every member of the association to discover the proposed change and then have an influence over whether or not the change is enacted.

On the other end of the spectrum, some Arizona HOAs allow the board to change HOA rules without first consulting the membership.  These HOAs generally have their attorneys review the CC&Rs periodically to make sure the rules are not outdated.  HOAs only have implied authority to make rules that protect the common area. Also, any rule making must not conflict with the community’s CC&Rs.

Homeowners can take some consolation in the fact that Arizona law prohibits HOAs from abusing their authority.  Even HOAs with authority to unilaterally change the rules are prohibited from acting unreasonably.  Mesa homeowners who believe their HOA board is not acting in the community’s best interest should consult with an attorney about the matter.  Courts will strike down rule changes that they find unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious.

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