Legislature Aims to Maintain a Schedule
This week marked the last week that bills from the opposite chamber could be heard in committee, with the exemption of the Appropriations Committees, which are granted an additional week to hear bills. To date, eight bills have been signed by the governor and 16 memorials or resolutions have been filed with the Secretary of State. With the committee deadlines set and the increased push for the legislature to send a budget to the governor, most committees were tasked with large agendas that pushed most, if not all, of them to work into the late evenings. Below are four bills that the Arizona Association of REALTORS® has been actively lobbying that received positive movement this week.
HB 2193 (MUNICIPAL WATER CHARGES; RESPONSIBILITY)
Sponsor: Rep. Jim Weiers
As many of you will recall, last session the Arizona Association of REALTORS® were successful in the passage of HB 2450 (WASTE AND WASTEWATER FEES AND CHARGES), which prohibited a municipality from refusing service or requiring payment for unpaid water and wastewater services from anyone other than the person contracted with the municipality. Although this language was very clear, certain municipalities chose to ignore the intent of the legislation and force the contracted services to be in a landlord’s name as well as hold the landlord accountable for any unpaid service bill.
As a result of the various municipalities’ brazen attempts to dodge the intent of HB 2475, the association asked Rep. Jim Weiers to sponsor HB 2193. The bill establishes the responsible party for payment of municipal water and wastewater rates, fees and service charges as the person who contracted for the service, resides at the property and receives the service. Although two individuals (one from the League of Cities and Towns and one representing a southern Arizona city) showed up to testify in opposition of the bill, the bill received a positive outcome with four ayes, one nay and one not voting. The next step for this bill is for it to pass out of Rules Committee and then be discussed in Senate Caucus.
HB 2717 (HOMEOWNERS; ASSOCIATIONS; PENALTIES; ATTORNEY FEES)
Sponsor: Rep. Heather Carter
This bill prohibits an association from charging a fee for the use or placement of a commercially-produced for sale or for lease sign. As a result of the continued efforts by HOAs to skirt current law as well as their continued creativity in finding ways to charge fees to homeowners as it pertains to for rent and for sale signs, AAR asked Rep. Carter to sponsor legislation that would strengthen current law and penalize those associations that violate the law. AAR’s language establishes a clear and strong penalty in which a homeowners association that charges a fee for the use or placement of a commercially-produced sign forfeits and extinguishes their lien rights against the unit or property for six months. (Note: HB 2609 contains the same sign language in reference to prohibition of fees for sign use or placement as well as extends the language to rent signs. This bill is waiting to be third read by the Senate). HB 2717 passed out of the Senate Government Affairs Committee with a vote of five ayes, no nays and two not voting. The next step for this bill is for it to be discussed in Senate Caucus and then proceed to the Senate floor.
SB 1149 (PLANNED COMMUNITIES; CONDOMINIUMS; DOCUMENT FEES)
Sponsor: Sen. Andy Biggs
This bill limits the fee that a planned community and condominium association can charge a unit owner for the preparation of required documents associated with the resale of a unit to an aggregate of $400. The reason AAR asked for this bill to be brought forward is due to the fact that under current law, an association is permitted to charge a fee for these documents as long as the fee is “reasonable”. The problem with the current law is that in some instances, the fee charged is not only unreasonable but completely astronomical. An example of such a fee that Tom Farley presented to the House Government Committee was a fee of over $4,000 on a condominium that sold for $25,000.
Additionally, for the same reasons listed in the explanation of HB 2717, the bill also prohibits a condominium or planned community from charging a fee for the use or placement of a for sale sign or for lease sign by a unit owner. The bill further establishes that any association, declarant or property management company that acts in violation of statutes allowing the placement of specified signage, forfeits their lien rights for a period of six consecutive months. This bill went through the House Committee of the Whole this week, where an amendment sponsored by Rep. Steve Urie was adopted. The adopted amendment codified the fees that an association can charge for the required documents. The next step for this bill is for it to be voted on by the entire body of the House of Representatives.
SB 1292 (REAL ESTATE; EDUCATION; BROKER REQUIREMENTS)
Sponsor: Sen. Gail Griffin
This bill changes the current requirement for which a real estate broker has to review a listing agreement, purchase or non-residential agreement, from five days to ten business days from the date of agreement execution. As a result of new regulations such as the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS), many members of the association have voice their strong concerns with the time allotted to review documents. This concern prompted the Arizona Association of REALTORS® Government Affairs team to write legislation that would extend the broker review period. Both Tom Farley (Arizona Association of REALTORS® CEO) and Nicole LaSlavic (Arizona Association of REALTORS® Government Affairs Director) have worked diligently to push this bill through the legislature. As a result, the bill was voted out of the House Commerce Committee this week with a vote of eight ayes and no nays. The next step for this bill is for it to pass out of Rules Committee and then be presented in House Caucus.
With the current pace of the legislature, it is anticipated that the bills which are currently moving will continue quickly through the remainder of the process. In addition, rumor has it that next week the legislature will mainly focus on the budget. Look for future Capitol Insider updates on bills of importance to the association as well as what will unfold in the budget process.
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