Laws Helping Colorado Homeowners Against HOAs
Laws protecting homeowners from Homeowner Associations (HOA) have been slow to evolve. We’ve all read the horror stories involving an outrageous or over-aggressive HOA, HOA President or HOA Board Members against a homeowner.
One of the worst stories involving an HOA is Jeff DeMarco. Jeff loved roses and designed his $1.4 million, four-acre land to create his dream, “A Ranch of 10,000 Roses”. The HOA didn’t like his dream. Jeff offered to scale back his roses, but the HOA wanted most of the bushes removed. Jeff fought the HOA, lost his case, his home was foreclosed on and he had to file for bankruptcy - all because he violated the HOAs architectural design rules.
Colorado has enacted some laws to help Colorado homeowners under an HOA jurisdiction. Some of these are: House Bills 13-1134, 13-1276, 13-1277 and Senate Bill 183 that are holding HOAs to a stricter standard when collecting debts, foreclosing and landscaping.
Within these laws are the requirements that all HOAs register with the state and that all HOA community managers must be licensed under the Colorado Division of Real Estate. Every HOA must re-register annually. In the past, these managers were usually friends of the board or management company employee.
One of the Bills requires a further study of HOA issues by the Colorado Division of Real Estate. Some of these issues are: offer to mediate HOA complaints, require the mediation of complaints, refer disputes to alternative dispute resolution services, provide owners with an expedited and inexpensive administrative hearing process specific to HOA dispute.
There are now limits on the HOA having the ability to foreclose on a homeowner. The HOA, their attorney, or if a third party is involved such as a collection agency, may only foreclose on a homeowner if the past-due total amount is equal to six months or more of common expense assessments. The HOA board must vote in favor of foreclosing on a homeowner before proceeding with a foreclosure on any delinquent account and may not delegate this authority to an attorney, insurer, manager or any other person.
The Senate Bill 183 addresses the landscaping rules of the HOA. This Bill ensures homeowners will not be fined or assessed fees from the HOA for needlessly maintaining water-dependent landscaping during drought conditions. The Bill prohibits restrictive covenants that forbid or limit xeriscaping, requirements that homeowners use turf grass in their landscaping and requirement that homeowners water their landscaping in violation of water use restrictions. HOAs are allowed to adopt and enforce design or aesthetic guidelines in the installation of drought tolerant vegetative landscapes, regulations as to the type of plants, the number of and placement of drought-tolerant plants and can regulate areas such as concrete patios, pavers, stone walls and other hardscapes that an owner may install on their property.
If you are having a dispute with your HOA, it is prudent to discuss your options as a homeowner with an experienced HOA attorney. Gantenbein Law Firm, located in Denver, Colorado, assists only homeowners in their HOA disputes or foreclosures. To schedule a consult of your case, call 303-618-2122.
There are new laws protecting Colorado homeowners in disputes or foreclosure with their HOA.
If you are interested in discussing your HOA issue with an experienced HOA attorney in the Denver, Colorado area, call 303-618-2122 to schedule a consult.