March 11, 2015

Mesa community changed HOA rules to keep out sex offenders, felons

3-11-15 Arizona:

A transitional home in Peoria with six registered sex offenders made headlines last week.

The owner of the home said he's just helping the offenders get back on their feet, but neighbors want them out.

So can convicted felons and sex offenders be told they can't move in? It is possible, but there are plenty of legal loopholes to jump through first.

"We had 68 convicted felons living here and four to five registered sex offenders," said Circle Tree Condominium manager David Russell.

He said their Mesa complex used to conduct background checks on prospective tenants, but now the state says homeowners' associations can't have all that personal information. So instead, they amended their rules.

"We prohibit all Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders from residing at the property," Russell said.

They also don't allow recently convicted felons. They had to amend their CC&R, or regulations, and get approval from three-quarters of the community.

"It was not very hard," Russell said. "With 256 units, we had 214 back within 45 days."

"If your CC&Rs don't say that, you can amend them, but until you do so there's nothing illegal about having a sex offender move into your neighborhood," said real estate attorney Adam Buck.

He said because HOAs aren't privy to information needed for a background check, they can only trust that a tenant isn't a sex offender unless they get a notification at their door.

"The landlords want the freedom to rent to whoever they can get in their home, and the HOA wants the maximum level of restriction to make their community safe," Buck said.

Russell said that over the last few years, their community has become a lot safer, and he said he doesn't feel bad for kicking criminals to the curb.

"They do have to go somewhere, but do they have to come into HOAs? Do they have to come into neighborhoods with children?" Russell asked. ..Source.. by Lindsey Reiser

No comments: