New Mexico Gets HOA Reform

New Mexico recently adopted an act to govern some basic homeowner association functions. The Act  goes into effect on July 1, 2013.

New Mexico Capitol

New Mexico Capitol

I have not reviewed the Act in depth, and I am not very familiar with the law of New Mexico. However, it appears that the Act addresses a number of concerns local to New Mexico, for instance relating to water shortages. The Act was adopted in addition to a condominium act. The topics addressed in the Act’s title are a good measure of what is covered:
PROVIDING FOR THE FORMATION AND MANAGEMENT OF PLANNED
COMMUNITIES;
REQUIRING NOTICE AND OPEN MEETINGS;
PROVIDING FOR DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS;
ALLOWING AUDITS;
PROVIDING FOR ATTORNEY FEES;
REQUIRING DISCLOSURE OF HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION INFORMATION TO PURCHASERS;
LIMITING RESTRICTIONS ON THE INSTALLATION OR USE OF SOLAR COLLECTORS AND WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES.

A number of these provisions would be very helpful in Idaho, where we have little clear law addressing homeowner rights, association obligations, or water conservation.  However, the New Mexico statute language seems very much focused on establishing homeowner rights at the expense of all of the other interested parties.  For instance, the law “providing for attorney fees” simply broadens attorney fee provisions to always award attorney fees to the prevailing party if the declaration provides attorney fees to any party.  It would have been more helpful to HOAs, in my mind, to establish a broad right to attorney fees for enforcing HOA rights found in any declaration.  These fees are often what keep homeowners from being able to enforce declaration provisions at all.

 

Good local commentary is found here:  http://www.abqjournal.com/main/208656/biz/new-law-affects-homeowner-associations.html

The Act text is here: http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/handouts/ERD%20-%20Homeowner%20Association%20Act.pdf

 

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