February 22, 2022
Please click here to view the letter on the St. George News website.
OPINION — “You knew what you were getting into when you purchased a home in an HOA” seems to be what homeowners are quickly told when they question the actions of their HOA board or management company. It also seems to be an unwritten rule that you can fight your HOA, but the HOA board and management company always win.
But what happens when the HOA board and management company violate the HOA governing documents, ignore state and federal statutes and are the ones out of compliance? What type of protection or recourse does a homeowner have?
It seems the answer is, not much. Unfortunately, homeowners quickly find themselves alone in uncharted territory. Instead of their home as a place of refuge, it becomes a place of conflict and confusion.
It appears in Utah, we have left our homeowners very vulnerable to rogue HOA boards and management companies. We are seeing overwhelmed or complacent HOA boards, who have a fiduciary duty to serve and protect their residents and community, turn over their responsibilities to a third-party management company.
When questions or disputes arise with the HOA board, homeowners are often directed to the management company or a law firm. We see the board and management company circle the wagons, and soon, questionable and unresolved fees and fines quickly compound against the homeowner — sometimes thousands of dollars within a few short months.
In desperation, some homeowners contact the state’s Consumer Protection office. Although sympathetic to the homeowner, Consumer Protection refers them to a federal agency, whose hands are also tied and at times, can do little more than add them to a complaint list.
Having run out of options, it seems the homeowner is faced with two choices: pay the questionable and unresolved fees and penalties or hire an attorney and prepare for expensive litigation.
My HOA bill, 2022 - HB 445, addresses many of the specific complaints I hear regarding HOA Boards and management companies. It also outlines a desperately needed path for dispute resolution without costly litigation via the States Property Rights Ombudsman.
I have engaged legal minds and consultants to help meet the numerous requests from homeowners in Utah. I respectfully request that you take the time to read HB 445 and send to me your comments regarding this important issue. Now is the time for your voice to be heard.
Submitted by PHIL LYMAN, Utah House of Representatives District 73.
Rep. Phil Lyman in Salt Lake City, Dec. 19, 2016. | AP file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News
January 21, 2022
Dear constituent and voter,
We are wrapping up the first week of the 2022 Utah Legislative Session.
I have an exciting lineup of bills that have not yet been numbered or made public, but I want to give you an inside look. You can follow along on my website lymanforutah.com.
I am pleased to share with you the background for my "HOA Amendments to Protect Homeowners and the Disabled".
Since my election to the Utah House, numerous voters have asked me to run a bill to "clean up" Utah's HOA laws.
Voters provided numerous real-life examples, harrowing experiences concerning real victims of HOA mismanagement, as well as some solid legal reviews, and suggestions for real solutions.
As these stories of abuse by HOA Boards and Management Companies rolled in, it quickly became clear that Utah might appropriately be called the "Wild Wild West of HOA's”.
It is estimated that nearly 700,000 Utahn's live in HOA's, and those numbers continue to rise. Unfortunately, current conditions have left many homeowners very vulnerable to predatory practices.
It has been frustrating and heartbreaking to talk to and read first-hand accounts of victims of predatory Management Companies and what in some cases appears to be complicit and enabling HOA Boards.
We are witnessing clear and open violations of:
- A "Reasonable Accommodation" under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
- The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that were designed to eliminate abuse, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices,
- Leins placed on homes while violating the HOA's House Rules,
- the Utah statute requiring timely document production,
- Reasonable attorney fees,
- HOA Boards, their Management Companies and attorneys' fiduciary duty to the homeowner(s), and much more.
Over the next few weeks, I and others will share with you true stories of HOA abuse and the consequences of such. Follow this and my other bill initiatives on my website lymanforutah.com.
In the meantime, if you have a valid personal story of abusive behavior by your HOA Board and or Management Company, I respectfully request that you send it to me via email at email@example.com.
In order to protect Utah's homeowners and the disabled, we must get this bill right and I request your input and assistance to do so.
Follow me on Twitter @phil_lyman. I can also be found on Facebook. Please follow at least one or both.
Thank you for your interest and your support as we go through this exciting 2022 legislative session.
Utah House of Representatives District 73
My 2022 Legislative Intern is Ben Niu. He attends BYU and is a Spanish Translation major. Please contact him during the Session to relay messages directly to me. His cell number is 385-420-3113, email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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