A Community Christmas Carol (sort of)

My household includes a Grinch and a Clark Griswold.  "Clark' wants to put up holiday decorations last weekend.  "The Grinch" thinks holiday decorations are overly-expensive cat toys to be avoided at all costs.  The Grinch received the following poem by Nena Groskind this morning, and somehow is now in a bit of a Christmas mood.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we have, and prepare reasonable rules and regulations in the spirit of the season!

Continue Reading Posted In Governance
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Dear FHA: Please Loosen Lending Requirements!

 With single family home prices continuing to rise, many homeowners are electing to downsize by purchasing more affordable condominium units. Additionally, a condominium is now becoming the only affordable option for many first time homebuyers.

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Secret Ballots in HOA Elections - Keeping it Drama Free!

If you are like me, you will be happy when the election is over tomorrow and the nasty political ads are off the air for a couple of years. However, regardless of your party affiliation or beliefs, I hope you take the time to cast your votes and return your ballot. After all, we live in the greatest democracy on the planet and voting is at the heart of our fundamental rights.

The election also got me thinking about HOA annual meetings and the election of directors. While hopefully your HOA is drama free and every member votes, I thought this was a great time to remind boards, managers and homeowners about the requirements for utilizing secret balloting. 

 

The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”), at C.R.S. 38-33.3-310, requires secret ballots be utilized at membership meetings under the following circumstances:

 

●          Secret ballots must be utilized for contested positions on your board of directors. Simply put, this means secret ballots must be used when there are more folks running for the board than there are open seats. The requirement does not apply if your governing documents provide for the election of directors through delegates who cast votes on behalf of a segment of the membership. 

●          Secret ballots may be used at the discretion of the board of directors. Some boards like to use secret ballots for every item which is voted upon at a membership meeting. This gives members the ability to cast their vote without any perceived pressure from the board or their neighbors.

          Secret ballots must be utilized on any issue where 20% of the owners, present in person or by proxy at the meeting of the members, request use of a secret ballot on an issue. 

 

Once votes are cast at a membership meeting by secret ballot, here’s what you need to know:

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Our Move is Finally Here!

On Friday, October 23rd, we will be making the move to our new offices located at 8020 Shaffer Parkway, Suite 300 in Littleton, Colorado!  In order to facilitate our move, we will not have phone or email service on Friday.  While we regret any inconvenience this may cause, we will be back up and running normally on Monday.

As a reminder, our telephone (303-863-1870) and fax (303-863-1872) numbers will remain the same. 

Posted In Community Association News
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I Can't See the Forest for the Yard Signs

We are fifteen days from the 2014 midterm elections, and candidates are undoubtedly working hard to get those elusive swing voters to the polls. Yard signs are one tool that candidates use to build name recognition and sway votes. A multitude of signs for federal and state political offices, as well as several ballot initiatives, are jostling for real estate this year. In years past, community associations could rely on restrictive covenants to prohibit political signs from disrupting the neighborhood aesthetic. But, since 2005, Colorado law has outlawed any outright prohibition of political signs in covenant-controlled communities. Colorado statutes provide guidance on what political signs associations can regulate, where signs can be placed, and when political sign regulations can apply.

Continue Reading Posted In Covenant Enforcement
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We're Moving and Taking You With Us!

Our law firm is moving to new offices this month and we promise to take you with us!  Beginning on Monday, October 27th, our new address will be: 

Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne

8020 Shaffer Parkway, Suite 300

Littleton, CO 80127

 

Our telephone number will remain the same – (303) 863-1870

 

On Friday, October 24th, our computer and telephone systems will be down as we make the actual move. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience and will be back up and running the following Monday.

 

After the first of the year, we will be holding an Open House and look forward to showing you our new digs! 

Attorney Stephane Dupont makes his new Littleton office a little more like home.

 

Posted In Community Association News
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I object (to your shed), your Honor!

A judge in Michigan recently sued her homeowner’s association seeking a declaratory judgment (a judgment from a court that determines the rights of parties without ordering anything be done or awarding damages) that the more than six foot tall shed she installed in her yard does not violate the association’s covenants.   The homeowner’s association claims the shed violates a deed restriction in the covenants and the association has threatened to sue the judge if she doesn’t remove or downsize it.   

Continue Reading Posted In Covenant Enforcement
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Board Communications and E-mails

In 2012, the Colorado legislature changed the laws governing community association records, including requirements that Board members' e-mail addresses be retained as official records.  At first, many of our clients balked at the new requirement.  As many of you are aware, it's very easy to allow electronic communications to become uncivil, and Board members didn't want these communications going to their private or work e-mails.

To address these concerns, we recommend that our association clients create e-mail addresses for the Boards, and that the Boards pass these along to new Board members as they are elected.  This ensures continuity of communications for homeowners, and it also protects Board members from the risk of having their personal or work e-mails subject to discovery in the event of litigation.  Board members can also create their own personal association e-mail addresses, although this does not have the bonus side of maintaining continuity as the Board turns over. Either way, Board members should have dedicated association e-mail addresses.

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They Aren't As Bad as You Might Be Lead to Believe

We all know that everybody hates their homeowners association - or do we? Many people might be surprised, particularly those who do hate their associations and think that everybody thinks the way they do, and maybe our state legislators, who tend to hear the complaints but not the good stories. Whatever the case may be, apparently not everybody hates their homeowners associations - far from it. A recent survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies finds that 90% of people rate their overall community association experience as positive; 90% of people say the association's board members "absolutely" or "for the most part" serve the best interests of the community; 92% say they are on friendly terms with their association boards; 83% say their community managers provide value and support to residents and their associations; 88% of residents who had direct contact with their community manager say it was a positive experience. Here is a copy of the survey results.

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Community Association Managers - Topics to Study for Colorado Law Test

Community Association managers in Colorado know that licensure is just around the corner.  Beginning on July 1, 2015, every community association manager in Colorado must be licensed by the Colorado Division of Real Estate.  Part of the licensure requirement is that managers must pass an examination that tests their basic understanding of applicable provisions of Colorado law.  However, what topics could actually be on the Colorado law examination have remained a mystery - until now.

The Colorado Division of Real Estate has posted the areas of Colorado law, and some federal law, that managers should study to prepare for the exam.  Here is the list of topics published by the Division.  However, don't let this list freak you out!  Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne is presenting free teleconferences for managers held during lunch for the purpose of helping you prepare for this exam. 

If you aren't already participating in these classes and would like to sign up, please email Allison Grout to register for the classes at agrout@wlpplaw.com.  Our next class will be held October 8th from noon to 1:00 pm on covenant enforcement.  Don't miss out on these great opportunities to prepare for the exam a little bit at a time!

Posted In Community Association News
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