Homeowners' Rights Against HOAs in Colorado
When buying property in an HOA-controlled community, you must adhere to the HOA rules and regulations. Every HOA has a set of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). The CC&Rs will be given to the new property owner at the closing.
There are two functions of the HOA: 1) collect the monthly dues and any special assessments and, 2) enforce the community’s rules per the CC&Rs and bylaws.
CC&Rs usually include building restrictions. If building a new home or addition, the HOA usually has to approve your floor plan, setbacks, how large or small the home/addition has to be, what materials and paint colors to be used, the type and height of a fence and so on. The HOA has the power to disapprove your plans and place fines against you if you don’t comply.
A group of HOA members can approve any rule they want, as long as it doesn’t violate state or federal law. If the CC&Rs state every home has to have a yellow front door, you can’t use a room in your home to conduct business, or own a dog - you have to comply.
Some CC&Rs are vague - on purpose. An example would be under Yard Maintenance. The CC&Rs may say property owners ‘must maintain a standard of attractiveness and be neat’. This obscure restriction allows the HOA great latitude to enforce fines for almost anything they don’t like such as patio stones or a discoloration on the driveway. Before buying any property, read the CC&Rs carefully and ask for a copy of the bylaws.
If you don’t comply, normally, you will be fined. If you don’t pay the assessments or fines, the HOA will customarily turn your account over to their attorneys. Fines and attorney fees can quickly become thousands of dollars. Not paying can result in a lien placed on your property and consequently a foreclosure action filed in the courts.
Slowly, states are enacting laws to help homeowners. Homeowners have rights against HOAs in Colorado. In Colorado, House Bill 13-1276 requires most HOAs adopt a policy governing the collection of assessments and fines. The bill specifies the HOA must: give the date on which assessments have to be paid, when the assessment became delinquent, late fees and interest charged to the homeowner, any returned-check charges the HOA is entitled to and any circumstance wherein the delinquent owner can enter into a payment plan.
Further, the HOA must: provide the homeowner the total amount due (along with an accounting), whether a payment plan can be entered (and instructions how to enter a payment plan), the name and contact of the person the delinquent owner can contact to request a copy of verification of the debt, let the homeowner know they must take action to pay the delinquency and that failing to pay the delinquency within 30 days may result the account being turned over to an attorney or a collection agency, that a lawsuit or lien may be filed against the homeowner and a foreclosure action filed. Collection agencies must also comply with this law.
If you are having an issue with your issue, and would like an experienced HOA attorney to advise and represent you in an HOA proceeding or issue, contact Gantenbein Law Firm to schedule your consult at 303-618-2122.
Homeowners do have rights against HOAs in Colorado. If you have a foreclosure, CC&R, assessment , collection or dispute with your HOA, contact the attorneys at Gantenbein Law Firm to schedule a consult: