Shamrock v. Wagon Wheel Park Homeowners Assn

In Shamrock v. Wagon Wheel Park Homeowners Assn., 206 Ariz. 42, 75 P.3d 132 (App. 2003), a residential subdivision (the Park) was created in 1960, and a declaration of restrictions concerning the development and maintenance of the Park was recorded the same year. 206 Ariz. at 43, P 2, 75 P.3d at 133. Wagon Wheel Park Homeowners Association was incorporated in 1971. Id. at P 3. A revised declaration of restrictions was recorded in 1980, the preamble of which acknowledged the existence of a homeowners' association. Id. at 44, P 4, 75 P.3d at 134. The association recorded amended bylaws in 1999 providing that all lot owners within the Park were automatically members of the association, requiring payment of assessments by each member. Id. at P 5. Lot owners within the Park filed a lawsuit, arguing that membership in the association was voluntary and that the association could not impose assessments against non-member lot owners. Id. at P 6. While the lawsuit was pending, the association amended the 1980 declaration of restrictions to provide for automatic membership in the association for Park lot owners. Id. at P 7. The Court addressed whether the lot owners were members of the association based on the 1999 amended bylaws. Id. at 45-46, P 10, n.5, P 16, 75 P.3d at 135-36. "In order to impose automatic membership on owners of property located within a neighborhood or community development, this requirement must appear in a deed restriction embodied within a recorded instrument." Id. at 45, P 14, 75 P.3d at 135. The Court noted that neither the 1960 declaration nor the 1980 declaration required membership in a homeowners' association but that lot owners may modify deed restrictions in a manner governed by the declaration in effect. Id. at PP 14-15. The Court found that the lot owners did not amend the 1980 declaration to require membership until November 2001. Id. at 46, P 16, 75 P.3d at 136. However, the Court did not address the effect of the November 2001 amendment and concluded that, before November 2001, the lot owners were not members of the association. Id. at n.5, PP 16, 18. The Court held that "mandatory membership in a new homeowners' association can only be imposed on owners of lots within an existing subdivision by recording deed restrictions to that effect." Id. at 43, P 1, 75 P.3d at 133.