The first regular session of the fiftieth Arizona legislature concluded earlier this year. It may not have been as notable as some past sessions for producing landmark legislation, but if you dig into their output a little bit, our lawmakers are always finding new areas to make rules.
For example, the legislature had already passed a statute several years ago that says your homeowners’ association can’t prohibit you from displaying the American flag, the POW/MIA flag, the Arizona state flag, and an Arizona Indian nation’s flag. Now your homeowners’ association also can’t prohibit you from displaying the Gadsden flag.
The legislature had also already passed a statute that says your association can’t prohibit you from installing a flagpole on your property, but they can regulate the location and size of your flagpole. Now the rule is more specific: they can’t prohibit a flagpole in your front or back yard, but they can limit you to displaying no more than two flags at a time, and can limit the height of your flagpole to no higher than the rooftop of your house.
Your homeowners’ association is also no longer allowed to charge you a fee for permitting you to put a for sale sign in front of your house. Better yet, if the association violates the rule about for sale signs (which also includes stuff about the size of the sign and what it can say), the association forfeits its right to put a lien on your property for unpaid assessments for a period of six months from the date of the violation. That’ll show ‘em!
For those of you who are residential landlords or tenants, you should be interested to know that the legislature also waded into the hot-button issue of bedbugs. Here’s what they came up with (it’s new Arizona Revised Statutes section 33-1319):
A. A landlord has the following obligations with respect to a bedbug infestation:
1. The landlord shall provide bedbug educational materials to existing and new tenants. Educational materials may include:
(a) A description of measures that may be taken to prevent and control bedbugs.
(b) Information about bedbugs, including a description of their appearance.
(c) A description of behaviors that are risk factors for attracting bedbugs such as purchasing renovated mattresses, using discarded mattresses and furniture, using used or leased furniture, purchasing pre-owned clothing and traveling without proper precautions.
(d) Information provided by the United States centers for disease control and prevention and other federal, state or local health agencies.
(e) Information provided by federal, state or local housing agencies.
(f) Information provided by nonprofit housing organizations.
(g) Information developed by the landlord.
2. The landlord shall not enter into any lease agreement with a tenant for a dwelling unit that the landlord knows to have a current bedbug infestation.
B. A tenant has the following obligations with respect to a bedbug infestation:
1. The tenant shall not knowingly move materials into a dwelling unit that are infested with bedbugs.
2. A tenant who knows of the presence of bedbugs shall provide the landlord written or electronic notification of the presence of bedbugs.
What, exactly, is a bedbug, you might ask? The legislature helpfully provided the following definition:
“Bedbugs” means any insect in the genus cimex and its eggs.
And what constitutes an infestation of bedbugs?
“Infestation” or “infested” means that the presence of bedbugs is sufficient to materially affect the health and safety of tenants and their guests.
The legislature significantly reduced the reach of this section, however, by adding a provision that the landlord and tenant of a single family residence are excluded from these rules. In other words, these rules apply only to multi-unit buildings.
My own personal research on the topic of bedbugs has revealed that (a) the effectiveness of conventional pesticides in eradicating bedbugs is limited, but (b) intense heat is effective in eradicating them, and (c) they are difficult to detect visually, but can be detected by specially trained bug-sniffing dogs.
I’ll let you know when I come across other interesting stuff in the legislature’s output.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“A little neglect may breed great mischief … for want of a nail the shoe is lost, for want of a shoe the horse is lost, for want of a horse, the rider is lost.”
Poor Richard’s almanack,