Missouri homeowners longing for more accountability in their homeowners associations and protection from overzealous HOA boards may not find the answers they want in legislation recently proposed in the state House and Senate.
While proponents say the measures will safeguard homeowners and ensure that they know what they’re getting into when buying a home in an HOA, some homeowner advocates say the proposals — one is called the Missouri Homeowners’ Bill of Rights — are so watered down that they instead protect the $85 billion HOA industry.
Dave Russell, community manager of the Circle Tree Owners Association in Mesa, Ariz., who has worked on HOA legislation in multiple states, says the measures are likely influenced by the Community Associations Institute, a trade organization that represents HOAs in the legal and legislative arenas. The organization says it works to promote harmony in homeowners associations, but critics say it actually sides almost exclusively with HOA boards and property managers.
The Senate proposal also would require HOAs to undergo an independent audit every three years. But it says the HOA can vote to forego the audit for one year and can do so each year for up to 10 years. The proposal is sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine (R-Farmington).
The House measure requires HOAs to make records available to homeowners within five days of a request and says HOAs that receive $50,000 or more a year in dues and assessments must undergo an independent audit at least once every five years. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Derek Grier (R-Chesterfield).