Governor Otter Signs Idaho’s HOA Fine Bill Into Law

Yesterday, Governor Otter signed SB 1310 into law.
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The law will take effect this July as Idaho Code Title 55, Section 115 (I.C. 55-115).
A brief legislative history of the bill is available here.

However, it is interesting to see how quickly a bad experience of one homeowner can result in a new law if the conditions are right.

Here is a timeline of events a little more thorough than the legislative history.

August 2013, according to Senator Rice’s testimony before the House, an owner in Caldwell, Idaho has a lawn that went yellow. She made some effort to fix the problem, but still got fined.

On Monday, November 4, 2013, Senator Rice posts on his blog that he had “been receiving complaints about homeowner associations and specifically management companies abusing homeowner associations in subdivisions.” He asks for comments/input from the community.

Up until February 2 , 2014, Senator Rice meets with constituents and the National Association of Realtors working on his Bill.

When it was ready for the Idaho Senate, Senator Rice includes the following statement of purpose:

RS22743C1
Currently Home Owners Associations enforce covenants and restrictions in subdivisions by fining
individual home owners for violations of such covenants and restrictions. Frequently, these fines
are levied despite home owner attempts to comply with the covenants, and without any process
other than a letter informing the home owner that they will be fined. The fines are then enforced
through liens on the home owners real property. This bill puts reasonable requirements in place
that protect the home owner from arbitrary and capricious actions by the home owners association
and provides a set of standards that courts can use if there is a dispute regarding the validity of the
fine in a subsequent lien foreclosure action.

On February 7, 2014, Senator Rice’s Bill is presented to the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee. It passes easily.

On February 27, 2014, Senator’s Rice Bill passes on the floor of the Senate with a unanimous vote.

Local media is supportive of the bill.
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A poll of newspaper web readers in Idaho shows a 60-40 split on whether HOA’s add value to property. I like comments made by a local board member.

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March 7, 2014, the House Commerce and Human Resources Committee reads and passes the bill on to the House floor.

March 12, 2014, the Bill passes on the house floor.
1310 Vote

March 19, 2014, Governor Otter signs the bill.

Now the clock is just ticking until the law goes into effect as our new Idaho Code S. 55-115. That leaves just over three months for all of Idaho’s HOAs to get their fines into compliance before the law is effective. I’m sure we’ll be busy here at VF Law with our HOA clients. We had a good turnout at today’s lunch among managers interested in discussing the law, and next week Vial Fotheringham Boise is hosting a free training for Board members (Thursday 7 pm) at our office. Drop by if you’d like.

Event Details are here

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