Bill could reduce power of homeowners associations - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Bill could reduce power of homeowners associations

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

State leaders are looking to put firm rules on the power of homeowners associations in the state.

Both the Arizona House and Senate have approved and forwarded to Gov. Jan Brewer HB 2695/SB 1482. [A complete text of the bill can be found HERE.]         

Some are arguing a portion of the bill could send an influx of crime right into your neighborhood.

At the Villa Del Centro condominiums off Glendale and 15th avenues, property managers tell CBS 5 News the crime rate dropped almost 60 percent between July and December last year.

Additionally, 90 percent of potential tenants who fill out applications are turned away. That's because in 2012 the property owners association approved a rule requiring all owners to conduct criminal background checks on potential tenants.

It's a much different world now for the kids who live in Villa Del Centro than it was just a year ago. Rowan Roche, a 7-year-old, wasn't allowed out of the house.

"I wouldn't go to the pool, I wouldn't allow my children outside. I would not go out on my balcony," said resident and mom Rosamae Roche.

"It was a war zone. It was definitely a war zone," said community manager Korin Hatch.

Hatch was the one in 2012 to convince the condo board to pass a rule that every owner would sign what's called a "crime free addendum".

The addendum required background checks to be performed on every tenant. Crimes involving drugs, assault and violent felonies would preclude someone from being able to move in.

"I've seen a lot of the bad people go and more families moving in," said Roche.

"It will erase what I've done," said Hatch. "Realtors just want to get their properties rented. The moms and pops just want to get it rented. They just want the money they don't care how it's coming in."

CBS 5 News tried to reach both legislative sponsors of the bill, Rep. Michelle Ugenti and state Sen. Gail Griffin.

They did not return phone calls made to their offices Wednesday.

In their online biographies, both list their occupations in real estate. The Arizona Association of Realtors is one of the groups that lobbied for approval of the bill.

The governor has until Saturday to sign or veto the bill.

Hatch said if the bill is approved, one of the owners who owns 37 of the condos will immediately stop doing background check on tenants.

That's 25 percent of the condo occupancy in Villa Del Centro that could go back into the hands of criminals.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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