What are your homeowner rights against an HOA?
Homeowner Association issues are very common in Colorado. Fortunately, the Colorado legislature has passed a body of laws governing HOA administration, including the so-called “Homeowners Bill of Rights.”
Because your HOA is typically made up of your neighbors, my focus is on resolving disputes in an efficient and friendly manner so that there is no continuing conflict. Of course, there are times when more aggressive action is called for.
Colorado real estate laws have put limits on Colorado HOAs in areas that include:
- Foreclosure and collections of delinquent dues
- Payment plans for assessments
- Returned check charges and late fees
- Landscaping issues
- Political signs
HOA managers in Colorado must be licensed, and HOAs registered with the state. This means that in most cases, the HOA personnel usually know much more about the applicable law than the home owners do. This does not always insure, though, that they are following the law, or that they are administering the HOA in the interests of the community.
Homeowners governed by HOAs frequently need an advocate who can inform them of their rights, represent them to the HOA, and if necessary, argue their case in a court of law.
HOA issues are very common in Colorado. They are even more common in new developments such as condos and townhomes. While most people pay their monthly dues and never have a problem with their HOA, there are many others who have significant problems.
Common HOA issues arise where there is property damage, and there is a dispute about who pays for it. Issues are also common where an HOA creates an unreasonable restriction or imposes fines on a homeowner.
Imagine saving up for years and buying the perfect condo in the perfect location only to find out that your community’s HOA is not providing the services it promised to provide.
The most common complaints with HOAs tend to be with inactive HOAs which fail to set reasonable standards, or to enforce the standards that have been set. This can be either a case of failing to be active in general, or failing to enforce the standards in an even-handed, fair way (i.e. enforcing standards on one neighbor, while failing to hold another accountable). There are also occasions where HOAs attempt to set and enforce unreasonable standards, or standards that conflict with local, state, or federal laws.
The first steps to remedy either situation begin with contacting your local HOA board.
- Consult your HOA documents to find out when and where HOA board meetings take place, and how your concerns can be heard
- Present your case to the HOA board, and be sure to document your arguments and communications with them
If you still can’t get resolution, it may be time to contact an HOA attorney to discuss your situation.