Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne, LLP.

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.  If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times, you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary, because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.

-Author Unknown

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2017 Assessments

Is your association increasing, or even decreasing, its annual assessment fees for 2017? If so, it is important that the association follow its governing documents when providing notice of the change to all owners.   In addition to providing owners with proper notice of any change, the association should also notify its attorney. This will help to ensure that any accounts and/or payment plans that are with the attorney for collection are properly noted, and any increase is accurately accounted for and collected.  

In addition to payment plans that may be affected by the increase of assessment fees, there are also notification requirements and deadlines the association must comply with for certain owners who have filed for bankruptcy.  Advising the association’s attorney of any change will allow the attorney to take the proper measures to ensure that the association retains the right to collect the new assessment fee.

If you haven’t already notified your attorney that your assessment fees have changed, or will change, for the New Year, pick up the phone or send an email to your attorney – I’m sure he or she would love to hear from you!

Posted In Money Matters
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New Addition to WLPP

Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne is pleased to announce that Brianna Schaefer has joined our firm. Brianna is an accomplished attorney specializing in the practice of community association law and is an outstanding addition to our law practice. Brianna has been practicing in HOA law since 2004 and has primarily focused her practice in the areas of collections and foreclosure. She enjoys finding creative ways to assist communities to thrive financially and encourages open communication between board members and owners. She is also an enthusiastic educator and enjoys developing and teaching classes on association related topics.

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FHA Condominium Owner-Occupancy Requirements

As we’ve discussed earlier this year, Congress recently passed the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA), which was signed into law by President Obama on July 29, 2016. While the act addresses many aspects of housing and federal housing assistance, of particular interest to us and some of our clients is one part of the act that addresses FHA Mortgage Insurance for Condominiums. The act requires that the Secretary of HUD streamline the project certification requirements that are applicable to insurance for condominium mortgages to that recertification is substantially less burdensome than certifications. In addition, the act requires that the Secretary of HUD also consider and modify other factors and practices in FHA project approvals for condominiums, including the amount of commercial space in a mixed-use project, transfer fees, and owner-occupancy requirements.

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Short Term Rentals

Short-Term Rentals (“STRs”), which can encompass everything from nightly rentals to thirty day rentals to six month rentals, have become a hot button issue in common interest communities since the inception of websites such as airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway.  The market for STRs in Colorado increased exponentially with the legalization of recreational marijuana.  The dramatic increase in STRs has compelled many common interest communities to consider ways to restrict, or at least regulate, leasing in their communities.

When a common interest community wants to restrict leasing to eliminate or control STRs, the first question is whether this can be done by the Board through the adoption of a rule or policy, or whether it requires an amendment to the covenants upon approval of the required percentage of the owners.  The prevailing view is that leasing restrictions may only be imposed by an amendment to the recorded covenants, and not by the adoption of a rule.

The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act, C.R.S. § 38-33.3-101 et seq. (“CCIOA”) contains several provisions regarding the use of property within common interest communities.  C.R.S. § 38-33.3-205(1)(l) requires that restrictions on the use, occupancy, and alienation of units be contained in the recorded declaration.  C.R.S. § 38-33.3-217(4.5) requires that no amendment may change the uses to which any unit is restricted in the absence of a vote or agreement of at least sixty-seven percent (67%) of owners, or any larger percentage specified in the declaration.  Similarly, the Restatement of the Law on Property/Servitudes provides that, absent specific authorization in the covenants, an HOA does not have the power to adopt rules that restrict the use or occupancy of individually owned units.

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LIGHTS ... CAMERA ... LEGAL ACTION! Do Associations Increase Their Liability by Providing Security Measures?**

Many owners in common interest communities might assume that when their association takes steps to increase security – such as installing street lights, security gates, surveillance cameras, etc. – they are providing additional protection to the owners who live in the community. However, the opposite may be true. If a community’s governing documents do not require the association to provide security, the association may be undertaking responsibility where it has none. While security measures are a good idea in principle, community associations must be careful not to unintentionally increase their liability for third party criminal acts.  

Continue Reading Posted In Governance , Governance
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FHA Condominium Guidelines - Hope on the Horizon

 At a time when our two major political parties can seem to agree on nothing, in an astounding turn of events, both the House and the Senate approved legislation that has been signed by President Obama, that, in part, revises how the Federal Housing Administration is required to evaluate condominium projects for FHA insurance.

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Political Signs in HOAs: What Residents, Boards and Managers Need to Know

For those of you who know me, you know that I'm a political junkie.  But even for me, this political season has seemed like it has already lasted for an eternity and I don't remember politics ever being quite this nasty.  With the Republican and Democratic political conventions almost behind us, I can guarantee that the race for POTUS and all of the down ticket races will pick up steam and folks living in HOAs will want to place political signs for their favorite candidates and ballot issues in their yards and windows of their homes.

In anticipation of "political sign season," here is what residents, boards and managers need to know about placing political signs in HOAs in Colorado: 

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You Think Your Association Dues Are High?

According to the Denver Post, former Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan is selling his home in Cherry Hills Village for $22 million. While the home is definitely stunning, the monthly assessments are listed at $8,814.00 a month - which adds up to more than $105,000.00 a year! It’s not clear what exactly the assessment covers, but the mansion does have a racquetball court, a golf simulator, a bowling alley and a pool. I don’t know about you, but I would love to see the annual budget for this Association.

As previously blogged by Molly Foley-Healy, in Colorado, Boards of Homeowner Associations are required to provide a summary of the proposed budget they have adopted to the homeowners in their Association and to notice a budget ratification meeting for consideration of the budget.  If at the meeting a majority of all owners (or a larger percentage as specified in the declaration) do not vote to veto the budget, the budget is automatically deemed approved - regardless of whether quorum is present at the meeting.

So next time you think your assessments are too high or want to complain about an increase in your assessments, just think – you could be paying what many people pay to purchase a home in a years’ worth of assessments!

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Pool Rules: A Fair Housing Concern

The heat hitting Denver this weekend has reminded several clients to ask us to review their pool rules.  Community associations are "housing providers" under the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act, and thus our pool rules need to comply with Fair Housing requirements.  

Fair Housing prohibits housing discrimination based on the following factors:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Familial Status
  • Disability 

A rule that might seem reasonable and appropriate to a community, such as requiring all children to wear swim diapers, can result in a Fair Housing complaint.  If you're revising your rules, look to objective guidelines for your restrictions.  Health and safety requirements apply to everyone, regardless of whether they are a member of a protected class.  It is possible to create rules that accomplish your goals without running afoul of the law.  Talk to your attorneys to ensure that your concerns are appropriate, and that your restrictions are expressed in a manner that protects your community from a Fair Housing complaint.

In the meantime - stay cool out there!

Posted In Your Governing Documents
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