Does my HOA Legally Own the Sidewalk on my Property?

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“I own a home in an Arizona subdivision with an HOA. Recently, the HOA amended the CCRs to redefine the common area to include the sidewalks. However, the subdivision plat clearly shows that the sidewalks are located within sidewalk-and-utility easements on the private lots. The original CCRs gave the HOA no authority to expand the boundaries of the common area. The HOA claims they did this in order to have the right to repair the sidewalks, though no repairs are needed at this time. Can the HOA legally claim ownership of the sidewalk on my property?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

This does sound a little fishy. Rather than trying to guess, I would ask the HOA (or their attorney, since HOA members rarely know the answers to questions like these) what gives them the authority to expand the definition of the common area–effectively taking private property? Is there a provision in the (pre-amendment) CC&Rs? A local law? Some other authority?

Once you know what their position is, you will be in a better position to determine how and whether you want to oppose it.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.