Ever since Sun City was founded back in the 1950s, Arizona has been a haven of sorts for Homeowners Associations. These organizations, which make and enforce the rules regarding properties and residents of a given planned community, subdivision, or condominium, are considered in many cases to be vital to maintaining the value of homes under their control. But they do come at a cost: not only must one who purchases or rents into a community with a homeowners association bound by the rules that apply to them, but there is generally a monthly fee (or “dues”) either added to one’s mortgage or paid separately to cover the activities undertaken—and amenities provided—by the homeowners association. And the homeowners association can take possession of your home if you don’t pay that fee.
The activities and amenities a homeowners association deals with vary based on what type of community one lives within, but they generally apply to anything outside of the house, and in their particulars are covered by the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) adopted by a given association.
Single family homeowners associations—in other words, those that make rules for freestanding homes, which often have their own yards—have the power to enforce a code of aesthetics for the external portions of a home. Here, the homeowners association may fine a homeowner for failing to mow, for allowing weeds to proliferate to a point of excess, for posting signs (including political signs), for leaving up holiday decorations, for failing to manage plants or flowers that have died. They can even force a house to be painted (or repainted) in a particular color, or to replace tiles on a roof. These are all just by way of example.
But the things they furnish may be considered to offset these requirements. For example, an association may provide and furnish the upkeep of a community pool or clubhouse, not to mention greenbelts, and may pave and maintain roads within the community, which keeps them in much nicer condition than many townships manage to enjoy.
Condominiums are subject to requirements as well, and often the monthly fees for homeowners associations in condominiums is higher than for single-family associations. They also have stricter rules than single-family associations—like how many renters one can have, how many vehicles one may keep on premises, how many pets of what types (if any!) one may have. This is because of the communal nature of the condominium arrangement—shared structure, shared roofing, even occasionally shared HVAC and electrical infrastructure. The association takes care of everything outside of an individual condominium unit—including the yardwork (such as it is), roofing leaks, and exterior painting.
If you’re looking to invest in the real estate market in Scottsdale or anywhere else in the state of Arizona, it’s worth understanding whether your property will be subject to a homeowners association, and what this will require of you. In buying such a property, you’ll need an experienced attorney with strong scruples on your side. Provident Law’s real estate attorneys represent parties on either side of real estate and financing transactions, including buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants, lenders, borrowers, trustees, guarantors, shareholders, partners, and others. We structure, negotiate and document a variety of real estate and financing transactions, such as leases, purchase and sale agreements, loans and development agreements for a variety of commercial and residential projects. Contact us for more details.
Christopher J. Charles is the founder and Managing Partner of Provident Law ®. He is a State Bar Certified Real Estate Specialist and a former “Broker Hotline Attorney” for the Arizona Association of REALTORS ® (the “AAR”). Mr. Charles holds the AV ® Preeminent Rating by the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings system which connotes the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. He serves as an Arbitrator and Mediator for the AAR regarding real estate disputes; and he served on the State Bar of Arizona’s Civil Jury Instructions Committee where he helped draft the Agency Instructions and the Residential Landlord/Tenant Eviction Jury Instructions.
Christopher is a licensed Real Estate Instructor and he teaches continuing education classes at the Arizona School of Real Estate and Business. He can be reached at Chris@ProvidentLawyers.com or at 480-388-3343.