(Santa Fe, NM) – This week, Sen. Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo) filed SB 244 which significantly expands consumer protections available to New Mexicans living in homeowners associations.
According to industry data, there are approximately 260,000 New Mexicans residing in nearly 2,000 community associations (both homeowner and condominium) across the state.
“The fact is a significant number of New Mexican families are impacted by the operations of home owner associations and their interests and needs should be protected,” Sen. Stewart remarked. The state legislature took initial steps in 2013, led by Sen. Stewart through passage of the New Mexico Homeowner Association Act (HOA Act), but more oversight is required.
“Our state has had nearly four years to monitor the effectiveness of the HOA Act and, frankly, it’s time for the legislature to address some of the consumer protection gaps. That is the purpose of SB 244,” Sen. Stewart explained.
SB 244 will add the following protections:
- New “conflict of interest” definition and application to HOA board members and management companies;
- Increased records access for homeowners and a fine for failure to provide that access;
- Requirement of board members to read their community documents;
- Ability of homeowners to remove and replace board members;
- Expanded real estate disclosures and a fee cap for that information;
- Mandatory notice and access of homeowners to association meetings;
- New association dispute resolution process to provide opportunity for conflict resolution without having to file costly lawsuits; and
- Application of the Act to all HOAs (current Act provides exemptions for associations created before July 1, 2013)
“Most homeowners associations and their boards operate effectively, but I have learned of some indefensible cases of abuse that the state can remedy through passage of this legislation. I welcome the support of my colleagues in making this a priority this session,” Sen. Stewart concluded.