The 2021 general session of the Utah Legislature was January - March 2021, and the general effective date for legislation from the session is May 5, 2021.
Senate Bill 75 (2021) modified both the Condo Act and Community Association Act to:
- specifically permit the use of reserve funds to cover a budget shortfall during a declared emergency (such as a pandemic) if more than 10% of the owners are delinquent in payment of assessments as a result of the events giving rise to the state of emergency;
- require that a reserve fund analysis include an estimate of the annual contribution to a reserve fund that is necessary to prepare for a shortfall in the general budget that the association may use reserve funds to cover; and
- permit the use of reserve funds to pay for daily maintenance expenses without a majority member vote if there exists in the general budget a shortfall that the association may use reserve funds to cover. However, members of the association may prohibit the use of reserve fund money for daily maintenance expenses if there is such a shortfall, by a 51% vote of all voting interests at a special meeting called for that purpose and for which each owner receives at least 48 hours notice. Utah Code Sections 57-8-7.5 and 57-8a-211.
Senate Bill 31 (2021) prevents an association rule from prohibiting an owner from installing a personal security camera on or near the owner's dwelling unit (note that the new bill does not affect the provisions of CC&Rs).
- For community associations, an association rule may not prohibit a lot owner from installing a personal security camera immediately adjacent to an entryway, window, or other outside entry point of the owner's dwelling unit. Utah Code § 57-8a-218(14).
- For condo associations, a rule may not prohibit a unit owner from installing a security camera immediately adjacent to the entryway, window, or other outside entry point of the owner's unit. A rule may prohibit a unit owner from installing a security camera in a common area not physically connected to the owner's unit. Utah Code § 57-8-8.1(6). Note that a condo association's CC&Rs often prohibit attachment to or drilling into the exterior common area walls of a building and this new law does not affect such CC&R provisions. The new law only applies to rules adopted by a board, not the recorded CC&Rs.
House Bill 374 (2021) enacts Utah Code § 57-21-6.1, which:
- provides that any recorded covenant (such as a CC&R provision) that expresses any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, source of income, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity is void and that enforcement of such a covenant constitutes discrimination;
- requires a board to investigate a claim that the association's governing documents include such a discriminatory provision within 90 days of an owner's request to remove the provision;
- allows a condominium or community association to amend the association's governing documents to remove a discriminatory restrictive covenant without any vote or approval of the association members; and
- prevents a county recorder from charging a fee for recording such an amendment.
Rental of Basement Apartments
House Bill 82 (2021) prevents CC&Rs from restricting the rental, and prevents board-adopted rules from restricting the construction, of a separate, "habitable living unit" created within an owner-occupied, detached dwelling for the purpose of rental for 30 days or longer. A "habitable living unit" is generally a separate, additional living unit (such as a basement apartment or an apartment over a garage) that includes a kitchen and sleeping and bathroom facilities. The effective date of the law is October 1, 2021. Utah Code § 57-8a-209(10) and 57-8a-218(15).
For more detail, see New 2021 HOA Laws and What They Mean For Your HOA.
Utah HOAs can breathe a little easier because associations are now protected generally from lawsuits and claims relating to COVID-19. A new law went into effect August 18, 2020, that provides immunity from civil liability for damages or an injury resulting from exposure of an individual to COVID-19 on the premises owned or operated by an HOA, or during an activity managed by the HOA. Immunity does not apply if an association purposely does something wrong or is reckless. Specifically, immunity does not apply "to willful misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm." The new law is important because claims relating to communicable diseases and viruses are usually excluded from association insurance policies.
The 2020 general session of the Utah Legislature was January - March 2020, and the general effective date for new legislation is May 12, 2020. Two HOA bills were passed this year, House Bill 155 and Senate Bill 183.
- House Bill 155 (2020) requires a seller of a unit or lot, or the association if requested by the seller, to make certain disclosures before closing on a sale, and requires the Department of Commerce to publish certain educational materials on its website. The bill enact Sections 57-8-6.1 (in the Condo Act (57-8)) and 57-8a-105.1 (in the Community Association Act (57-8a)), and amends Sections 57-8-13.1 and 57-8a-105. Specifically, before the closing of a sale of a unit or lot, the seller must provide to the buyer (1) a copy of the association's recorded governing documents, and (2) a link to the Department of Commerce's educational materials. The association must, upon request by the seller, provide those two things to the seller. Additionally, if a condo association has a manager, the association may now opt to include the name and address of the manager rather than that of each board member (community associations are not and were never required to include the name and address of each board member).
The Department of Commerce is required to publish educational materials on its website providing, in simple and easy to understand language, a brief overview of state law governing associations, including: (1) a description of the rights and responsibilities provided in the law to any party under the jurisdiction of an association; and (2) instructions regarding how an association may be organized and dismantled in accordance with the law.
- Senate Bill 183 (2020), "Nonjudicial Foreclosure Amendments," amends provisions related to nonjudicial foreclosure of a lien on a unit or lot by an association, including establishing limitations on nonjudicial foreclosure. A nonjudicial foreclosure is a foreclosure without a lawsuit—in the same manner a bank typically forecloses on a home that is in default.
The bill amends Utah Code Sections 57-8-3 and 57-8-46 (in the Condo Act), and 57-8a-303 (in the Community Association Act), by adding definitions of "judicial foreclosure" and "nonjudicial foreclosure" in the Condo Act to mirror the definitions in the Community Association Act, and by changing the notice that must be sent to a unit or lot owner before an HOA starts a nonjudicial foreclosure. Additionally, the law now prohibits nonjudicial foreclosure of a unit or lot if the lien includes a fine the association imposed in accordance with Section 57-8-37 "Fines" (condo) or 57-8a-208 "Fines" (for noncondos).
The 2019 general session of the Utah Legislature was January - March 2019, and the general effective date for new legislation was May 14, 2019.
- House Bill 43 (2019) modified Utah Code Title 62A, Chapter 5b "Rights and Privileges of an Individual with a Disability." This chapter makes it a crime to interfere with the exercise of the right of a person with a disability to a service animal and HB 43 added "support animals" (a.k.a., emotional support animals or companion animals) to those protections. A service animal is specifically a dog that is trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability, and that performs work or tasks that are directly related to the individual's disability (such as a seeing eye dog). Under the new law, a "support animal" is an animal, other than a service animal, that qualifies as a reasonable accommodation under federal law for an individual with a disability. A support animal can be any type of animal and does not need any specialized training or certifications. See also, Index, assistance animals; and Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act - Q & A.
- Title 15, Chapter 1 regarding the default interest rate for contracts and judgments was modified with very small, technical changes. Those changes have no effect on an HOA generally. No other changes affecting HOAs were made.
- Medical Marijuana. In December, 2018, the Legislature passed House Bill 3001, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, after Prop 2 was approved by Utah voters in November, 2018. The Act allows medical marijuana to be ingested by vaping, as well as by pill and similar form, but it does not allow it to be smoked, so the effect for HOAs should be minimal.