We receive calls almost daily from homeowners who are having a dispute with their Homeowners’ Association and need help fighting these special groups. In Colorado alone, we have over one million residents who live under the rules and laws of an HOA.
The common thread we hear is the HOA elected a new board, someone on the board doesn’t like the homeowner, the HOA became power-hungry or a particular neighbor keeps complaining. Many HOAs believe they have absolute authority and have fined homeowners over the silliest of reasons.
HOAs do not have absolute authority. We, at Gantenbein Law Firm, have many defenses we’ve raised with great success against these HOAs. In the majority of our cases, we have resolved the issues without going to court (to litigate).
In Missouri, the Stout family did take their HOA dispute to court. The family was living under the watchful eye of “The Raintree Lake Neighborhood HOA”.
Two years ago, the Stouts built a beautiful and very tasteful play-set for their two daughters. The wooden set had a small ‘fort’ area to climb around, a slide and swings. The daughters wanted the set to be painted pink, but settled on a dark purple wood stain, looking more the color of eggplant. The play-set is behind a 6-foot wood fence and surrounded by trees - not exactly an eyesore and difficult to see from the street.
This spring, out of the blue (excuse the pun), the HOA took issue with the color of the play-set and ordered it gone or be fined. The HOA began sending letters saying the color had not been pre-approved. The Stouts argued with the HOA to no avail. The Stout’s gave the HOA a petition signed by their neighbors stating no one objected to the color. The HOA said the petition wasn’t ‘good enough’.
The HOA sent a letter to the Stouts saying a lawsuit would cost them ‘far greater than any principal [sic] you are trying to prove’. Another letter from the HOA threatened the Stouts if they didn’t remove the play-set, they’d go to jail!
The HOA said their guidelines “must be within harmony of other colors in the community”. Considering the flowers in the area are bright purples, yellows and reds and many doors on the homes are bright red and bright purple, that guideline is very questionable.
After months of arguing with the HOA, the Stouts finally hired an attorney and judge ruled last week the purple play-set could stay. The Stouts are upset the HOA went to such lengths, and wasted so much money on court costs and attorneys. Indeed - the entire neighborhood, around 2,500 homes should be upset with the absurdity of this HOA.
In Colorado, HOAs are governed by CCOIA and their own HOA governing documents. However, many times these documents and rules can be vague and open to interpretation, which can lead to a dispute between homeowner and HOA. If you are experiencing an HOA dispute with your Homeowners' Association, please contact our real estate attorneys immediately for help. Often, these disputes can escalate and accrue HOA fees and fines quickly; the sooner you call an attorney, the more likely these excessive fees and fines can be avoided. Our Denver real estate attorneys will explore your best options for avoiding, settling, or disputing your HOA claims.
In addition to Real Estate law and HOA defense, Gantenbein Law Firm has some of Denver's very best attorneys, practicing Tax Law, Business Law, Estate Planning/Wills & Trusts, and Credit Dispute. For more information, please visit our website or call 303-618-2122.
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