Citing a barrage of media coverage and public concern, Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, told The Arizona Republic on Wednesday that he will withdraw his bill that would have sped up foreclosures by homeowners associations.
Kavanagh's bill would have allowed HOAs to foreclose on homeowners after six months of missed payments, with no minimum debt. Currently, HOAs can't begin the foreclosure process until a homeowner is delinquent for 12 months or racks up at least a $1,200 debt.
Kavanagh said media coverage of the bill misrepresented what it would have accomplished, "which made an already controversial issue — HOAs — toxic."
He said he believes his bill would have actually helped homeowners, because those with dues of more than $200 per month would have been granted more time before a foreclosure.
"My bill was going to give people with moderate to high assessments ... six months to get their act together," Kavanagh said.
But the controversy surrounding the bill became too great, he said, which is why he's "euthanizing it."
Dennis Legere of the Arizona Homeowners Coalition called it "great news."
"I think he had good intentions, but the bill simply didn't do what he was hoping to do," Legere said. "It really would have hurt a lot of homeowners in this state."
Legere's grass-roots group has fought for homeowner protections against HOAs at the Legislature for the past several years and vehemently opposed Kavanagh's bill. Legere said it would have made it easier and faster for HOAs to take away homes, which should be "the absolute last resort, not the first."
A 2017 Republic investigation found HOAs are foreclosing on a record number of homeowners. Since 2015, HOAs have started foreclosure actions on more than 3,000 Phoenix-area homeowners.
The bill drew the ire of some in the real-estate community as well as homeowner groups,
Arizona real-estate analyst Tina Tamboer told The Republic last week that the legislation could hurt the housing market.
"Foreclosures are never good for neighborhoods in general," she said. "This could create a bigger problem than the one they're trying to solve."