Arizona Dept of Real Estate HOA Dispute Resolution


In Arizona, there is a simple process for resolving disputes between Homeowners and their Associations. And it can work both ways. HOA's can also petition with the Arizona Department of Real Estate to start this process. The only disputes allowed are those between members and the HOA. You cannot complain about the Management Company or another member. That you must do in Superior Court.
Being corporations, the basic but fundamental housekeeping rules of an HOA, albeit a non-profit, fall under ARS 10  This is far from unimportant because HOA’s are corporations, but unusual in that the liability by members is not unlimited because of the ability of Board to assess the members. It’s more like a partnership where you can only sell your shares if you sell your house
Given this unique nature of HOAs, certain aspects, which override any conflicts with ARS 10, are covered by ARS 33 which deals primarily with transparency issues. Chapter 9 & Chapter 16 of this Statute deal with Condominiums and Planned Communities respectively, but mirror each other.  
And only two types of disputes are allowed:
  • Failure to respect ARS 33 if you are a Condominium or Planned Community
  • Failure by either side to respect or enforce any of the Community documents such as the CC&Rs or Bylaws
The process is very simple. You file a petition with the Arizona Dept of Real Estate where you can also access a copy of their brochure Then you file a Petition To see a recent current example click HERE This was accepted by AZDRE and was sent to the HOA for a response which they must do within 20 days.
If your Petition falls within the parameters above, they will refer it to the Office of Administrative Hearings who will appoint an Administrative Law Judge to hear your case.
Pointers:
  • The whole process of petition and filings can be conducted online, including payment. Except for the hearing.
  • Attorneys are not needed and, if you lose, you do not have to pay attorney’s fees, unless you hired one. All you lose is your filing fee.
  • Its informal – keep it simple if you can.
  • If you win, you will receive your filing fee back and the other party will be obliged to comply with either the statute or the relevant part of ARS 33.
  • By navigating around the OAH web site you can click and see every case heard, and listen to audio of hearings. You can even do a Boolean word search across every case ever heard.
  • In short, the research options are years ahead of Superior Court.
  • For those of us who have been there, it’s quite painless, but you need to get organized and do your homework.
  • In the hearing, you can have all the Exhibits you like. BUT, to have them count, you cannot simply refer to them. You must ask the Judge, and get the other side to agree, that they are “in evidence”. Otherwise your efforts will be to no avail and the Judge cannot rely on them.