The Advantages of Transparency

WLPP attorney Doug Stallworthy recently wrote a post on transparency in association boards. His thoughts follow.

Transparency in decisions made by the board of a homeowners association fosters a sense of confidence in those decisions.  By following correct procedures for meetings on all issues, whether simple or complex, both the board and members will gain a familiarity with the process, and members may understand how complex the issues faced by a board really are.

When residents contact a board member about an issue in the community, the board member should always refer them to the HOA manager, ask the resident follow complaint procedures, or raise the issue at the appropriate time in an open meeting.  Board members should not give opinions or make decisions outside of a meeting. Open meetings allow the board as an entity to discuss an issue, and receive comments from interested members.

Continue Reading Posted In Governance
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Proposed Manager Licensure Rules Published for Public Comment

The Colorado Division of Real Estate has developed proposed rules for the licensure of community association managers. Those rules have just been published for public comment. That means that every citizen in Colorado has an opportunity to review the proposed rules and provide comment to the Division of Real Estate on them. 

The Manager Licensure Task Force ("Task Force") of CAI’s Colorado Legislative Action Committee (“CLAC”), has prepared a communication that will be sent today to all members of CAI in Colorado. That communication will provide this link to the proposed rules and encourages members of CAI to provide their comments to the Division of Real Estate and the Task Force. The Task Force will be submitting comment on behalf of CAI to the Division and would like input from CAI members prior to submitting their comment.

Continue Reading Posted In From Capitol Hill/Legislation
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Dreaming of My Younger Years and a Retro Landscape

Spring is in the air and I think it’s time to rethink the look of our home exterior and landscaping for the summer. Lately, I’ve been looking back a bit on my younger years when life was full of adventure and wonder. There’s no better way to recreate that feeling than to go with a retro theme for our house and yard. I’m inspired now and here’s what I’m thinking:

● Paint the house a lovely shade of pea green;

● Use recycled bowling balls as edging for the flower gardens;

● Hit yard sales this weekend and hunt down 6 or so of those “house butterflies” that were so popular in years past (make sure to spray paint them burnt orange, lime and gold before attaching them to the house in strategic locations to give our neighbors maximum enjoyment);

● Find a cute fountain that mimics a little boy peeing in the grass (that would be perfect for the front yard near the culdesac);

● Bury 1/3rd of an old claw foot bathtub in the ground and place a statue of the Virgin Mary in it (some might think that’s sacrilegious – so probably not a good option);

● Find weathered statues of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and place along the edge of the yard near the culdesac for the neighborhood children to enjoy;

● Last, but not least, make sure to find a statue of Bambie to place by the tree in the front yard right next to the mooning garden gnome. 

 

"You know your neighbors will love me."

 

 

Continue Reading Posted In Covenant Enforcement
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Management Company Transparency Bill Headed to Governor Hickenlooper's Desk!

On a vote of 53 to 11 (with one representative excused), the Colorado House of Representatives just voted to approve the Senate amendments to House Bill 14-1254 (“HB 1254”). The next stop for HB 1254 is Governor Hickenlooper’s desk where we fully expect he will sign the bill into law. Once that happens, HB 1254 will become effective on January 1, 2015.

HB 1254 is the rewritten transfer fee bill that:

Continue Reading Posted In From Capitol Hill/Legislation
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Compliance and Consistency in Collections

By now, your association should have a new collection policy in place that complies with the new HOA collection law that went into effect on January 1, 2014. When adopting a new policy, the association should not only ensure its compliance with the new law, it should also make sure it is consistent with its other governing documents. As I discussed in a previous blog, it is important that the association’s governing documents are consistent with one another and most importantly, with the Declaration. While the policy can add or elaborate specifics about the collection procedures, it cannot contradict the terms of the Declaration or the new law.  Should you have any questions regarding your collection policy, please feel free to contact us.

Posted In Governance , Money Matters
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HOA Records Bill Signed Into Law

During a bill signing ceremony today, Governor Hickenlooper signed House Bill 14-1125 (“HB 1125”) into law. HB 1125 will go into effect on August 6th and fixes an inadvertent oversight in the HOA records law which has made it impossible for HOAs to include in membership directories the telephone numbers and email addresses of owners and residents. 

Continue Reading Posted In From Capitol Hill/Legislation
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Self-Help; Maybe Not the Best Remedy

Every so often we hear of something that makes us want to shake our heads and murmur to ourselves “WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?” (Okay – maybe more of a shout than a murmur, but we ask ourselves nevertheless). This happened to me recently when I read about a Texas Court of Appeals decision in which the homeowners association (Happy Hide-A –Way Civic Club) became upset with how some owners were (really, were not) maintaining their home. The association, relying on the language in its governing documents, decided that it was entitled to demolish the owners’ home, and proceeded to do just that.

Continue Reading Posted In What the Courts Say
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Who needs reserves?

If there is one thing people hate almost as much as an assessment increase, it is properly funding reserves.  Some owners look at those lonely accounts, chock full of unused cash just sitting there, and think, "Hey, let's use that money now! That way, we don't have to raise assessments this year!"  Other owners look at the reserves and wonder if perhaps it's okay to defer reserve contributions until a time when finances loosen up.

Hogwash. 

Continue Reading Posted In Governance
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Management Company Transparency Bill Easily Clears the Senate!

This morning, House Bill 14-1254 (“HB 1254”) was passed by the Senate on 3rd reading on a 32 to 3 vote. The bill, which was amended in the Senate to require that fees and charges be included in a management contract to be enforceable, is now headed to the House for concurrence with the Senate amendment. We don’t expect there to be any problems in the House with concurrence and the bill should be headed to Governor Hickenlooper to be signed into law sometime around mid-April. 

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Management Company Disclosure Bill Clears Senate Local Government Committee!

House Bill 14-1254 (“HB 1254”), sponsored by Senator David Balmer (R-Centennial) in the Senate, was taken up this afternoon by the Senate Local Government Committee. With a slight amendment, the bill was passed with a favorable recommendation to the full Senate on a 6 to 1 vote. Senator Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins) was the only Senator to vote against the bill in Committee.

HB 1254 requires managers and management companies to disclose during negotiations on management contracts, and thereafter on a yearly basis, the fees and charges imposed as part of their management of associations and any other remuneration received as a result of the relationship which managers and management companies have with their associations. In other words, managers and management companies would be required to disclose any funds they receive from third parties that are in any way related to the associations they manage. Managers and management companies who fail to make these disclosures would be subject to investigation and discipline by the Division of Real Estate. 

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