America's Birthday and Flags

On the cusp of America's birthday, I get to thinking about our national flag - what it represents, and the emotions it evokes in people throughout the world. We all have our own ideas about these things, and how important it is to demonstrate our allegiance. Some people, while as patriotic as anybody else, prefer to not make outward demonstrations, while others feel strongly about flying the flag. All of which gets me to the role of homeowners associations, and their role in all of this.

Continue Reading Posted In Off the Top
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Food for Thought: Unlicensed Practice of Law Opinion

While community association managers in Colorado have been working through the state mandated licensure process, the ‘hot button’ topic of discussion in Florida has been the Florida Supreme Court’s May 14, 2015 Advisory Opinion regarding the unlicensed practice of law by non-lawyer community association managers. While the decision is not binding in Colorado, it is likely to spark debate and conversation among community association managers for years to come. Did the Florida Supreme Court go too far? Will a similar decision issue in Colorado in the future? 

Continue Reading Posted In What the Courts Say
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Are You Carrying Enough Loss Assessment Coverage?

I was recently told a story about a condominium association that is carrying property insurance coverage on their condominium units which includes a $50,000 per unit deductible on water related losses!  Evidently, this association has also adopted a policy which passes along the responsibility for the deductible to the owners of the units which were damaged.  In addition, if a unit owner is found responsible for causing a water related loss, I was told the at-fault owner is responsible for paying the $50,000 deductible for all of the units damaged by the water event.

Let's say you live in this association and negligently caused a water related loss which damaged your unit and three others.  That would mean you could be held responsible to pay $200,000 in insurance deductibles.  Needless to say, most people are not prepared to write a check for $200,000! 

Once I thought through this scenario and picked my jaw up off my desk, my initial thought was this association has basically decided not to cover water related losses.  However, much more importantly, I thought about how absolutely essential it is for homeowners in this community to carry sufficient insurance coverage on their standard unit owners policy (commonly referred to as the "HO-6 policy") to cover payment of these deductibles. 

While the story I recounted is certainly unusual, every owner of a condominium unit should find out what deductibles their association is carrying on their property and liability insurance coverage and to what extent the owners are responsible for paying those deductibles. Once you have that information, you should contact your insurance agent and ask the following questions about your HO-6 policy:

Continue Reading Posted In Money Matters
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You Can't Enforce That!!!

Oh yes we can.

It is not unusual for us to encounter communities with strict restrictive covenants that have not been enforced in a strict manner.  Much of the time, this is due to apathy or ignorance.  In other circumstances, Board turnover results in more or less enforcement.  Some Boards hate to enforce against their neighbors, and offer so many variances the covenants might as well not even exist.  Some Boards will interpret documents in a manner different than other, future Boards, but when the documents remain the same, we have to figure out what to do to follow those documents in light of the community's history.

A recent case in California provides a bit of guidance for those of us facing the historical enforcement challenge.  In The Villas in Whispering Palms v. Tempkin, No. D065232 (Cal. Ct. App. May 18, 2015) the California Court of Appeals held that an association board that had historically offered numerous variances to a one-dog rule was not required to offer variances.  The homeowner claimed the Board was unreasonable because it had provided variances and allowed multiple dogs in the past.  The Court ruled that the Association's prior variances did not impact its ability to deny the requested variance.

Continue Reading Posted In Covenant Enforcement
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Updated Community Association Manager Licensure Application is Complete

The Colorado Division of Real Estate has hit the ball out of the park!  Within an hour after informing them that Section 5 of the Community Association Manager License Application needed to be updated to include a category for managers who are directly employed by a common interest community, the application is finished and here it is.  A big thanks goes out to the Division for being so responsive!

Posted In From Capitol Hill/Legislation
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Revised Manager Licensure Application in the Works!

As I mentioned in a blog posting last week, the Division of Real Estate has determined that common interest communities who directly employ a community association manager are not required to hold an "entity" license as a community association management company, are not required to carry E&O insurance or name an individual as a "designated manager."  However, any manager who is employed by and receives a W-2 from a common interest community will still have to be licensed by the Division as a community association manager.

The Division is currently working on updating Section 5 of their License Application to provide a category for community association managers who are employed directly by a common interest community.  For those managers who fall into this category, the updated License Application should be posted to the Division's website by Wednesday.  Hang tight everyone - you're almost there!

Posted In From Capitol Hill/Legislation
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APCHA Hosting a Seminar on HOA Meetings in Aspen!

For several years now, the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority ("APCHA") has been a leader in providing educational opportunities for affordable housing and free market HOAs in Aspen and Pitkin County.  It's my pleasure to teach another seminar for APCHA on June 11th entitled:  CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards, Homeowners and Managers:  Everything You Need to Know About HOA Meetings

If you live in, serve on the board of or manage an HOA, you know that conducting efficient and effective board and membership meetings can sometimes be a challenge.  Did you know that the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) has provisions which regulate HOA meetings?  This seminar will cover:  (1)  providing notice of board and membership meetings; (2) open meeting requirements; (3) when a board of directors can meet in a closed executive session; (4) the right of homeowners to speak at meetings; (5) when secret ballots are required to be used at membership meetings; (6) how secret ballots must be counted; and (7) effectively using your required Conduct of Meetings Policy.  Also, if time permits, we’ll be happy to answer any other HOA questions you may have!

Date of Seminar:  Thursday, June 11, 2015

 

Time:  Noon to 1:30 pm

 

Location:  Aspen City Council Chambers, located at 130 South Galena Street 

 

For more information and to RSVP for this seminar, please call APCHA at 970-920-5050.  We look forward to seeing you next Thursday! 

 

Posted In Community Association News
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Finnegan's Fundamentals of Responsible Canine Companionship

 

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My name is Finnegan and I live in an HOA.  Since I understand people complain a lot in HOAs about dogs, I thought it might be helpful for pet parents to hear directly from a beagle about the fundamentals of being a responsible canine companion. Here's what you need to know:

Continue Reading Posted In Governance
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Emergency Rules Addressing Provisional and Apprentice Licenses

 

Since House Bill 1343, the manager licensure clean-up bill, has been signed into Law, the Division of Real Estate has published Emergency Rules which relate in part to obtaining a Provisional License and Apprentice License.  Here's what you need to know:

Provisional License:  To be eligible for a Provisional License, a community association manager must:

1.  Submit a set of fingerprints for the purpose of a criminal background check;

2.  Hold a qualifying educational credential as required by the Division of Real Estate;

3.  Have sat for and not successfully passed the required portions of the Community Association Manager Examination; and

4.  Submit an application for a Provisional License. 

For those community association managers who are granted a Provisional License, those licenses will expire on January 31, 2015 and will not be issued after that date.  As a result, if you obtain a Provisional License, it will be important to focus upon retaking and passing the required portions of the Community Association Manager Examination as quickly as possible. 

Continue Reading Posted In From Capitol Hill/Legislation
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Licensure for Managers Employed by Common Interest Communities: Clearing Up the Confusion

There has been a lot of confusion pertaining to the licensure of community association managers who are employed directly by a common interest community in Colorado.  There have also been questions about whether these common interest communities must be licensed.  After obtaining clarification from the Division of Real Estate and reviewing the Emergency Rules which were just published, here's what you need to know:

1.  Common interest communities will not be required to be licensed as an "entity."  In other words, common interest communities will not be required to be licensed as a community association management company with the Division of Real Estate.

2.  Common interest communities will not be required to name a "Designated Manager."

3.  Common interest communities will not be required to purchase errors and omissions insurance ("E&O") to cover the managers which they employ. 

4.  The community association managers who are employed by a common interest community will not be required to purchase their own E&O coverage.

It is important to note that this posting only refers to managers who are hired as an employee of a common interest community.  This blog posting does not apply to community association managers who provide management services to common interest communities as an independent contractor or as the employee of a management company.

 

 

 

 

Posted In From Capitol Hill/Legislation
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