Bill Introduced in Colorado House to Broaden Authority and Responsibility of HOA Information Office

On Friday, House Bill 13-1134 ("HB 1134") was introduced by Representative Su Ryden in the Colorado House of Representatives to broaden the authority of the HOA Information Officer and to clarify the responsibilities of the HOA Information and Resource Center.  The primary sponsor of the bill in the Senate is Senator Morgan Carroll.  

While the HOA Information Office and HOA Information Officer are currently authorized to facilitate the registration process, provide information, collect complaints and publish an annual report on the complaints, this bill broadens the authority as follows: 

Information Gathering Responsibilities:

1.  Gather data about registered HOAs, including the name, address and telephone number of each association;

Education Responsibilities:

1.  Coordinate and assist in the preparation of educational and reference materials - including materials to assist unit owners, boards of directors, board members and association managers in understanding their rights and responsibilities.

2.  Monitor changes in federal and state laws relating to HOAs.

3.  Provide information on the website of the Division of Real Estate - including an FAQ.

Optional Exercise of Authority by HOA Information Officer:

The bill provides that the HOA Information Officer may:

1.  Request records from HOAs.

2.  Recommend rule changes with the Division of Real Estate concerning the filing, investigation and resolution of complaints.

3.  Refer disputes between the Division, unit owners, boards of directors, board members and managers to alternative dispute resolution services.

4.  When no formal action is taken on disputes, to offer to mediate disputes between unit owners, boards, board members, managers and other affected parties.  In this role, the HOA Information Officer would be required to act as a neutral 3rd party and may not give legal advice to a party.

Mandatory Obligations of the HOA Information Officer

The bill provides that the HOA Information Officer shall

1.  Monitor and review HOA procedures and any election-related disputes that arise.

2.  Recommend enforcement action if the HOA Information Officer reasonably believes election misconduct has occurred.

3.  Appoint an election monitor and conduct the election of directors for an HOA if 15% of the total voting interests in the association, or 6 unit owners, whichever is greater, petition the HOA Information Officer to do so.

In addition to the broadening of the obligations and authority outlined above, the registration requirements for HOAs are also revised under the bill as follows: 

Registration Required for All HOAs:

The bill would require that all HOAs must register with the Division of Real Estate.  This provision is intended to address the Position Statement published by the Division that pre-CCIOA communities are not required to register. 

Registration Fee Change:

Under current law, there is a cap on the annual registration fee of $50.00.  The bill gives the Director of the Division of Real Estate the authority to establish the annual registration fee by determining a per unit annual fee and multiplying that fee by the number of units in an association which is registering.  

Information Required to Be Provided at Time of Registration:

1.  The name of the association as shown in the Secretary of State's records;

2.  The name of the association's management company, managing agent (which may be shown in the Colorado Secretary of State's records), or any other agent the Board has designated for purposes of the registration.

3.  A valid telephone number for the association or its management company, managing agent, or designated agent.

4.  The number of units in the association. 

While this bill seems to attempt to balance the interests of owners, boards, directors and managers, there is little question that the costs associated with this bill will be significant and carried on the backs of non-profit HOAs in these tough economic times.  Do the number of complaints received by the HOA Information and Resource Center over the past couple of years merit such a broad based bill?  This will certainly be a subject of debate during the legislative process. 

CAI's Colorado Legislative Action Committee ("CLAC") is hard at work on this legislation and we will provide updates on this blog as CLAC provides information to members of CAI.