With 50 states holding their respective legislative sessions in 2023, CAI’s Legislative Action Committees (LACs) and advocates across the U.S. are extremely busy. So far, 15 states have adjourned their formal legislative sessions for the year.
Over the past four months, CAI’s 36 state LACs and more than 600 volunteers worked tirelessly to advocate on behalf of the community association housing model. CAI is tracking more than 1,900 bills across the country that impact community associations. CAI’s Government and Public Affairs team had the privilege of being on the ground in six state capitols this year, working closely with CAI LACs and advocates to promote better public policy for community associations. These capitols include Little Rock, Ark., Tallahassee, Fla., Springfield, Ill., Baton Rouge, La., Jefferson City, Mo., and Austin, Texas.
Below is a summary of critical state-level community association legislative updates from those adjourned states:
Arkansas. Legislation prohibiting community associations from restricting the installation and usage of amateur radio towers was introduced. With no active CAI LAC in Arkansas, CAI staff attended an in-person hearing in Little Rock and advocates reached out virtually to work quickly with legislators and engaged nearly a dozen communities and community partners in the state to oppose the legislation as written. After extensive conversations with the legislature, the bill failed. CAI also created relationships with these legislators for the future.
Idaho. The Idaho LAC’s advocacy was focused on challenging bills, which would infringe on the rights of homeowners, on the powers of community associations, and would make it difficult for community managers to serve their residents. After great opposition by the Idaho LAC and CAI advocates, a bill which amends existing law to provide that charging a fee for any statement of a unit owner’s or member’s account is a violation of specified law was signed by the governor. The Idaho LAC is working on a clean-up bill during the off season.
Kentucky. The Kentucky LAC successfully introduced and passed the Kentucky Planned Community Act. This bill is the result of a multi-year effort on the part of the CAI Kentucky Chapter LAC, which culminated in the drafting of a bill which is a compromise between all major stakeholders. This Act provides certain homeowners associations with the tools to amend existing documents, provides for greater financial transparency, the ability to set fees at appropriate levels to fulfill their maintenance obligations, and the ability to enforce fee collection and compliance with deed restrictions.
Maryland. The Maryland LAC successfully pursued legislation to exempt certain condominium units from a requirement to include certain information in a declaration through altering types of elements and units for which a council of unit owners is required to maintain certain property insurance and altering certain requirements for the property insurance policy. This legislation, when signed by the governor, will generally relate, and update mandatory insurance coverage, for condominiums in Maryland.
Mississippi. Legislation was introduced which provided that if an association does not have clear rules on how to amend its governing documents, the community will need to petition the court to allow for a change to happen. This legislation would allow a county board of supervisors to approve any changes made to rules and restrictions governing master planned communities. The bill also prohibits deed restrictions or covenants that require a transferee to pay a declarant a fee in connection with the future transfer. If there is a transfer fee in the documents, it is void and unenforceable. With no active CAI LAC in Mississippi, CAI staff and advocates successfully opposed this legislation through grassroots efforts.
Tennessee. The Tennessee LAC successfully led efforts to introduce legislation to amend the Tennessee Condominium Act that will require a board of directors to conduct a reserve study every five years. The purpose of this important planning tool is to inform owners of the condition and life expectancy of common elements of the association so owners can reserve funds for necessary maintenance and replacement expenses and avoid special assessments. This legislation aligns with CAI public policy to ensure communities are safe and assists in planning strong financial futures for community associations. This bill was signed into law and will require condominium associations to conduct a reserve study every five years beginning January 1, 2024. If a community already performed a study after January 1, 2020, it will count as the first and begin the five-year clock.
Utah. The Utah LAC focused on legislation providing for a comprehensive update to existing Utah statutes governing community associations. It includes clarifications on board member qualifications, the ability to deny board membership based on criminal history, and authorization to charge fees to owners who rent out their lot/unit. This bill also contains environmental provisions, most notably a requirement for all associations created before March 5, 2023, to adopt required rules regarding water efficient landscaping by June 30, 2023. It also specifies that an association cannot prohibit low water use on lawns during drought conditions. This legislation also provides clarifying language for existing solar and electric vehicle charging station rules. This bill was signed on March 23, 2023 and became effective immediately.
Virginia. The Virginia LAC had an extremely busy legislative session, tracking more than 57 bills. Particularly, legislation was introduced which would have changed the existing law that caps judgments enforcing liens levied upon common interest community property at $25,000. This bill would be extremely detrimental to associations’ foreclosure processes and abilities to collect on liens. The quick work of the VA LAC to address these concerns was essential to ensuring the protection of foreclosures in associations, with this bill successfully failing on sine die. The VA LAC also successfully supported legislation, which established a Resale Disclosure Act in Virginia. The group helped to clarify the language that applies to the requirements in a disclosure packet to include draft minutes from full membership meetings, but not board meetings.
West Virginia. With days left in West Virginia’s legislative session, a bill introduced by seven delegates would allow community associations to opt out of the provisions of the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (UCIOA). It was established to ensure consumer protections for community association residents within the state. West Virginia is one of nine states that adopted this uniform law established by the Uniform Law Commission through its Joint Editorial Board for Real Property Acts. UCIOA protects homeowners’ rights, and this legislation would allow association boards to decide if they want to comply with the Uniform Act. CAI staff and advocates connected with the bill sponsors about the negative impacts of this legislation. The bill was withdrawn from consideration. CAI created relationships with multiple West Virginia delegates to safeguard West Virginia community associations in 2023.
Stay tuned for future state legislative updates in other states in 2023!
Learn more about CAI’s legislative action committees, and legislation being tracked in your state, here.
If you have questions or comments, please contact CAI’s Government and Public Affairs team at email@example.com, and learn more about CAI’s advocacy priorities.