PHOENIX - Arizona condominium owners are at risk for the takeover of their homes thanks to a little known law on the books.
The Arizona condominium termination act allows for the disbanding of an association if 80 percent of the owners agree. The additional twenty percent would have to sell at "fair market value." But some question who gets to determine what is fair.
Typically investors buy out enough owners to become the 80 percent and force the additional owners out. Then the appraiser of their choosing decides what a fair number is.
We've done several stories about the people who have gotten caught in the law and they say nothing about what has happened to them is fair.
State Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) says she wants that to change.
"People are losing their properties and not being fairly compensated," she says.
She sponsored senate bill 1084 which she says will, "enable a person to get that fair market number."
It would allow an owner to get their own appraisal. If the difference between the homeowner appraisal and the investor appraisal is two percent or less--the higher number wins. More than two percent? Owners would have to take an average of the two values. The bill also requires that an additional five percent be paid for moving expenses.
"It's a situation where I think people can live with it," she says.
But what the bill doesn't fix is when the appraised amounts don't cover the price of a comparable home.
Which is exactly what happened to the people we've interviewed over the years.
Barto admits the bill isn't perfect but, "I think we have a good start."
The bill passed the State Senate unanimously and is now working its way through the House.
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