Arizona HOAs, pay attention! As of August 6, 2016, new state laws go into effect that will impact your HOA community. As a board member or a community resident, you’ll want to know more about four of these laws in particular. They deal with short-term rentals, online voting, a grace period extension, and potluck events.
Short-term rentals
Cities, towns, and counties can regulate—but not prohibit—vacation or other types of short-term rentals (for example, homes listed on Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeAway), with some exceptions. For example, they may impose restrictions that relate to residential use and zoning ordinances, such as noise or nuisance issues. They can also impose restrictions that are intended to protect health and safety, prevent the housing of sex offenders, or prohibit adult businesses.
This law is directed at municipalities; it does not directly prevent your HOA from restricting or prohibiting short-term rentals. Check your association’s governing documents if you are unsure whether you can rent out your home to vacationers.
Online voting
If your HOA will have a member vote by written ballot without holding an annual meeting, new legislation allows you to deliver a written ballot through an online voting system. You must provide notice to all homeowners in your community to inform them that the vote will be conducted by online voting.
 Your online voting system must meet the following requirements: 
  • Authenticate each member’s identity
  • Ensure that votes are not altered in transit by authenticating their validity
  •  Transmit a receipt to each member who casts a vote online
  • Store electronic votes in case a recount, inspection, or review becomes necessary
Grace period extension
Up until the adoption of this law, HOA residents had to respond to written violation notices within 10 business days before the board could proceed with enforcement action. Now, they have 21 calendar days to respond.
Potluck events
Does your HOA enjoy celebrating with food? You’ll be happy to know that a revision to the Arizona Public Health and Safety Code gives the stamp of approval for potluck and other events involving food or drinks (even liquor). Well, at least it now provides an exemption to the rules pertaining to proper preparation, serving, and storage of food or drinks that you serve at a noncommercial social event. Be careful, though; if you charge money for these events (even in the form of a donation), your potluck could be seen as a commercial endeavor.
Consult with your HOA attorney to be sure you fully understands how these new laws affect your community. Your community management company may also be able to provide resources to help.
For more information about these and other regulations related to HOAs, contact FirstService Residential, the leading community management company in Arizona.
Thursday July 28, 2016