Rogue HOA Refuses to Comply with Arizona State Law Regarding Campaign Signs

Rogue HOA Refuses to Comply with Arizona State Law Regarding Campaign Signs

By Kurt Rohrs |

IronOaks Homeowners’ Association in Sun Lakes has been misinforming its residents. They are telling them that they cannot put up campaign signs in their yards until 71 days before the general election on November 8, 2022.

That is not true.

Communication from the Maricopa County Elections Office confirmed that fact and referenced Arizona state law, ARS 33-1808 (C), which clearly states that HOAs can only regulate political yard signs under the following specific conditions, including placement of signs 71 days before the primary election which was on August 2, 2022.

“ ….Notwithstanding any provision in the community documents, an association shall not prohibit the indoor or outdoor display of a political sign by an association member on that member’s property, except that an association may prohibit the display of political signs as follows:

1. Earlier than seventy-one days before the day of a primary election (which was on August 2, 2022).

2. Later than fifteen days after the day of the general election” (which is on November 8, 2022).

When confronted with this discrepancy, several HOA staff members repeatedly responded with the refrain of “We have to follow our own rules and regulations.” Apparently, they are oblivious to the fact that Arizona state law clearly takes precedence over any HOA rule. That is what “… Notwithstanding any provision in the community documents …” in this statute literally means. This homeowners’ association simply cannot act as law unto themselves.

Cease and Desist

A cease-and-desist letter was hand-delivered to Veronica Semey, IronOaks’ HOA Director of Community Services, on August 26, 2022 demanding that the IronOaks Homeowners’ Association do the following:

1. Immediately, cease and desist from incorrectly informing residents that they cannot have campaign signs in their yards.

2. Within thirty days, publish a communication to every resident in the HOA correctly informing them of their rights under ARS 33-1808 regarding placement of campaign signs.

3. Within sixty days, update the HOA rules and regulations so that they are fully compliant with ARS 33-1808.

Retaliation

Upon delivery of this letter, the HOA threatened fines and sanctions if its clearly illegal rules were not complied with. This is in spite of the fact that their improper prohibitions were actually due to expire in a matter of a few days. This appears to be a petty and vindictive threat of retaliation that smacks of bureaucratic intimidation and bullying that many residents have become so disappointed with.

Another ploy that was advanced was to direct an appeal of any improper sanctions to the HOA board. This ignores the fact that the HOA board does not sit in judgment regarding Arizona statutes. It is expected to be in full and complete compliance with them as written.

There are other miscommunications by the HOA regarding political signs and campaigning.

Number of Yard Signs

Many residents believe that they can only have one political yard sign in their yard.

This is also not true.

The actual ARS 33-1808 (D) statute reads that the “… the maximum aggregate total dimensions of all political signs on a member’s property shall not exceed nine square feet.” This is equivalent to three standard 18” x 24” signs.

Door Knocking

Residents have also been led to believe that “door-knocking,” or residents going door to door to speak with their neighbors, is prohibited in the community.

This is also not true.

The actual ARS 33-1808 (H) statute states that there are only limited restrictions that an HOA can impose:

1. Restrict or prohibit the door-to-door political activity from sunset to sunrise.

2. Require the prominent display of an identification tag for each person engaged in the activity, along with the prominent identification of the candidate or ballot issue that is the subject of the support or opposition.

HOA Wars and Free Speech Rights

This situation is reminiscent of the “HOA Wars” from several years ago. Rogue HOAs that were abusing residents with tyrannical policies eventually had to be reined in by the Arizona legislature. The ARS 33-1808 legislation discussed here was most likely one of several statutes that were put in place to protect residents from the atrocious activities of HOA management teams.

These unlawful actions by the IronOaks Homeowners’ Association have deprived their residents of their rights to free speech that are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment and by Arizona state statute. They have also caused harm to political candidates who rely on their free speech rights to present their campaign messaging to potential voters in order to win elections.

Suppression of the civil right to free speech is certainly not the direction that our citizens want the country to be heading in. Now, it’s time for HOA Boards to make sure they are in full compliance with all local, state, and federal laws before they impose any rules and regulations on their residents.

Kurt Rohrs is a candidate for the Chandler Unified School District Governing Board. You can find out more about his campaign here.

Free Speech Protections in Condominium, Homeowner Associations Passes Senate

Free Speech Protections in Condominium, Homeowner Associations Passes Senate

By Corinne Murdock |

On Monday, the Senate approved legislation protecting the First Amendment rights of homeowners in the face of attempted restrictions from condominium unit owner’s associations (COA) or homeowner’s associations (HOA). 

HB2158 protects a homeowner’s ability to display association-specific political signage, assemble peaceably in common areas, post notices about assemblies, and invite a political candidate or guest to speak at an assembly. The bill now heads to the governor for final approval. 

The Senate passed the bill without any remarks, done so unanimously as did the House last month. 

Specifically, HB2158 would bar COAs and HOAs from prohibiting or limiting association-specific political signage during distribution of ballots until three days after the election, as well as regulating the manufacture of the signage.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Flagstaff Property Owners Filed Over $23 Million In Claims Over Loss Of Property Rights

Flagstaff Property Owners Filed Over $23 Million In Claims Over Loss Of Property Rights

By Corinne Murdock |

Over 50 property owners are seeking over $23 million in claims due to Flagstaff’s latest regulations on property rights. The Goldwater Institute is representing the property owners; the think tank noted in their announcement last month that “thousands more” could have viable claims against the city, too. Since then, Goldwater Institute Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur informed AZ Free News that more property owners have stepped forward to file a claim. Flagstaff has 90 days to respond to the pending claims.

Flagstaff passed an ordinance in March, the High Occupancy Housing Plan, that restricted residential and mixed-use property improvements. The city’s plan offered a wide scope of regulations, including a limit on the density and number of bedrooms and units in a property, as well as certain automobile and bicycle parking standards.

In a press release, the Goldwater Institute pointed out that state law – Prop 207, or the Private Property Rights Protection Act – requires Flagstaff to pay individuals whenever they take away their right to use their property. The institute argued further that the restrictions on renovations, improvements, or further property developments constituted a taking away of rights.

“Flagstaff’s ordinance is exactly the kind of government overreach that Arizona voters sought to guard against,” asserted the think tank. “That’s a costly burden on property owners, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s why the Goldwater Institute is seeking relief on their behalf under the Private Property Rights Protection Act.”

Under Prop 207, current recourse for Flagstaff property owners entails writing a letter to the city requesting payment for any property value diminishment the restriction caused, or for the city to waive certain restrictions entirely. Sandefur says that if proper recourse isn’t offered, they will take legal action.

“Under Proposition 207, the city has 90 days to decide whether to pay the property owners for taking their rights away, or whether to give them their rights back,” explained Sandefur. “We are hoping that the city does the right thing so that these claims don’t have to turn into litigation, which will be time-consuming and costly for the city.”

Flagstaff’s High Occupancy Housing Plan claimed that there would be no financial or policy impacts. The plan was considered an advancement to the city’s 2018 High Occupancy Housing Specific Plan (HOH Plan).

The Goldwater Institute clarified that it hasn’t filed any lawsuits for these claims to date.

AZ Free News reached out to the city of Flagstaff for comment. They didn’t respond by press time.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinnejournalist@gmail.com.