In the case of Bocchino v. Fountain Shadows (No. 1 CA-CV 16-0710, March 3, 2018) the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that Fountain Shadows Homeowners Association (the “Association”) had to return $3,887.28 it had assessed directly against former homeowner Patricia Bocchino. Several alleged incidences of harassment by Ms. Bocchino against Board members and a Board meeting where Ms. Bocchino was walked out by a security officer in an “escort hold” due to her repeated refusals to peaceably leave the meeting, caused the Association to take legal action. The Association and several of its leaders sought and received an injunction against workplace harassment against Ms. Bocchino. The injunction was issued after an ex parte hearing without notice to Ms. Bocchino. Thereafter, the Association assessed Ms. Bocchino $3,887.28 (the amount of attorney fees incurred by the Association in the injunction action) and placed a corresponding lien on her property. The Association relied on provisions in its Declaration which (a) prohibit any activity that could, would or does become an annoyance or nuisance to the neighborhood or interferes with the quiet enjoyment of each of the other owners, and (b) requires the applicable owner to pay all attorney fees incurred by the Association if the Association prevails in an enforcement action. The amount was paid to the Association upon the closing of the sale of Ms. Bocchino’s residence. In response, Ms. Bocchino sued the Association for breach of contract. The superior court ruled that Ms. Bocchino was entitled to damages of $3,887.28. On appeal, the Arizona Court of Appeals agreed with the superior court. Their ruling was due to the fact that: (1) the Association did not ask for attorney fees in its request for an injunction and therefore waived its claim for such fees, and (2) the Declaration does not directly give the Association the authority to assess a homeowner for attorney fees incurred in a court proceeding that does not contain a specific order for or award of such fees. The lesson of this case for homeowner associations is that, no matter what your Declaration provides (a) always include a request for attorney fees in any action against a homeowner and (b) get a court order before you directly assess a homeowner for attorney fees and/or costs.