With Few Exceptions - Open HOA Board Meetings Are Not Optional

Early last week, I participated as a volunteer for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Community Associations Institute on the HOA Line 9 which is hosted by 9 News with the assistance of the Chapter.  This oustanding program permits folks who live in and serve on the boards of HOAs in Colorado, to call in with questions about their associations.  While we received many questions on the new HOA debt collection law which will go into effect on January 1st, I also noticed a trend from the calls I received relating to transparency. 

Since I understand that many HOAs in Colorado are self-managed and the boards of directors which govern them may not necessarily be well-versed in the provisions of the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act ("CCIOA") relating to open meetings, I thought now was a great time to provide these folks with basic information on the laws which appropriately promote transparency.  Please feel free to share this information with residents and board members of HOAs in Colorado.     

Here is what you need to know:

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Reimbursement for Board Member Education

Governing and overseeing the operations of an HOA is a significant responsibility for board members which can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming.  In addition, some board members have never served on the board of a nonprofit corporation or have little experience overseeing the business aspects of an association.  As a result, attending educational sessions can be an extremely helpful resource for directors. 

The Rocky Mountain and Southern Colorado Chapters of Community Associations Institute, management companies and law firms like WLPP routinely provide education for boards.  While for the most part these educational sessions are provided free of charge, sometimes there is a small fee for attendance.  The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act ("CCIOA") addresses the ability of associations to reimburse board members for educational expenses. 

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Annual Owner Education

With annual meeting season upon us, it's a great time for the boards of HOAs to provide owner education as required by the Colorado Common Ownership Act.  CCIOA, at C.R.S. 38-33.3-209.7, requires associations to provide free education at least yearly to owners on ". . . the general operations of the association and the rights and responsibilities of owners, the association and its executive board under Colorado law."  This provision of the statute permits the boards of HOAs to determine how to comply with the requirements for owner education.  In addition, owner education is not required for time-share communities. 

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Notices for Board Meetings

One of the routine questions I receive from boards of HOAs and homeowners, is whether notice is required to be given to owners for regular and special meetings of the board.  While CCIOA requires that meetings of boards be open to owners and provides owners with a right to speak before the board takes formal action on an issue - interestingly CCIOA does not require that owners be provided with notice of regular and special board meetings.  

While CCIOA doesn't specifically require notice, you should check the Bylaws of your HOA to determine whether the Bylaws require notice of these meetings be provided to owners.   

CCIOA, at C.R.S. 38-33.3-308, does require that agendas for board meetings be made reasonably available for owners or their representatives.  In addition, CCIOA encourages associations to provide notices and agendas for board meetings electronically by posting on a website if available.  In addition, if the email communication is available, associations are required to provide email notice of regular and special meetings to all owners who request email notice and who provide their email address to the association.  For owners who request email notices, notices of special meetings must be given as soon as possible - but at least 24 hours before the special meeting.

Stay tuned for more important information on provisions of CCIOA boards and homeowners need to know about! 

 

 

 

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Covenants and Rules Enforcement Policy

Earlier this week, I  blogged on the requirements in the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”), that HOAs must adopt as a Reserve Study Policy and Conflicts of Interest Policy and what those policies must contain. As one of the Nine Responsible Governance Policies, C.R.S. 38-33.3-209.5 also requires HOAs to adopt a Covenants and Rules Enforcement Policy which should contain, at a minimum, provisions which address the following items: 

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Conflicts of Interest Policy

In my CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards blog posting yesterday, I addressed the Reserve Study Policy – which is one of the 9 Responsible Governance Policies (commonly referred to as “SB 100 Policies”) that HOAs are required to adopt and comply with under the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”). In May of 2011, Governor Hickenlooper signed into law House Bill 11-1124 which amended C.R.S. 38-33.3-209.5 and outlines the following items which must be included in the Conflicts of Interest Policy for an HOA: 

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Reserve Study Policy

As Mark Payne noted in his May 21st blog posting entitled Those Pesky Policies, the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) requires HOAs in Colorado to adopt and comply with nine Responsible Governance Policies – commonly referred to SB 100 Policies. 

One of the nine policies addresses the issue of reserve studies. Here’s what CCIOA, at C.R.S. 38-33.3-209.5(IX), requires a Reserve Study Policy to include:

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Counting Secret Ballots

Last week in a CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards posting, I talked about the circumstances under which the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”), at C.R.S. 38-33.3-310, requires the use of secret ballots when members are voting in a contested election for directors or on other issues. When counting these secret ballots, here’s what you need to know:

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Secret Ballots

We often receive inquiries from HOA board members on whether they are required to utilize a secret ballot when members/owners vote on any particular issue brought before them. The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) addresses voting at C.R.S. 38-33.3-310 and requires secret ballots to be utilized by members under the following circumstances:   

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Energy Efficiency Measures

As I continue with my series of blog entries relating to provisions of the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) members of HOA boards need to know about, I thought this was the perfect time of year to address the ability of homeowners to install energy efficiency measures on property they own. Here’s what you need to know: 

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Political Signs

On Saturday morning, I was honored to serve as the spokesperson for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Community Associations Institute (CAI) in an interview with Tyler Lopez on 7News. During the interview, we discussed flying the American flag and displaying political signs in HOAs. 

While I recently blogged on provisions of the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) which relate to flying the American flag and service emblems in HOAs, I haven’t yet addressed the issue of political signs. Since the political season is already upon us, here’s what boards of HOAs need to know about the provisions of CCIOA (C.R.S. 38-33.3-106.5 (1)(c)) relating to political signs: 

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Dissemination of Information to All Directors

A commonly missed provision of the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) requires that virtually all information provided to or available to one director relating to the HOA– must be shared with all directors. The intent of this provision of CCIOA is to ensure that every director of an HOA has the information he/she needs to effectively participate in the governance of their communities. In addition, this provision is intended to make certain that directors do not leave one or more fellow directors out of the information loop. 

CCIOA, at C.R.S. 38-33.3-303(1)(b), provides as follows:

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Use of Executive Sessions

On Monday, I began a series of blog entries entitled CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards. The purpose of this series is to provide basic information for directors on key provisions of the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) they need to know about and comply with. In the first entry, I focused upon the requirement that board and committee meetings must be open to the members of the HOA – or their designated representatives. 

While as a general rule board and committee meetings must be open, the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act narrowly regulates the circumstances under which a board or committee of an HOA may convene in a closed executive session. CCIOA, at C.R.S. 38-33.3-308 (3) and (4), specifically provides as follows:

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Right of Members to Speak at Board Meetings

A common question we receive from boards of HOAs and homeowners is whether the owners have a right to speak at board meetings. The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) at C.R.S. 38-33.3-308(2.5)(b), provides that owners have a right to speak prior to the board taking action on an issue. In particular, that provision of CCIOA provides as follows:

“At an appropriate time determined by the board, but before the board votes on an issue under discussion, unit owners or their designated representatives shall be permitted to speak regarding that issue. The board may place reasonable time restrictions on persons speaking during the meeting. If more than one person desires to address an issue and there are opposing views, the board shall provide for a reasonable number of persons to speak on each side of the issue.” 

 

The bottom line is that homeowners, or their designated representatives, have a right to speak before a vote is taken by the board on a particular issue - not to interrupt the business of the board whenever they wish. In addition, the ground rules associated with this right to speak are set by the board. 

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CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards: Open Meetings

For those of you who follow our blog, you know that I recently concluded a series of blog entries on the new HOA records bill (“HB 1237”) which has been signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper and will go into effect on January 1, 2013. This is just a first step the Colorado legislature has taken to address “homeowner bill of rights” provisions in the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”). 

As I have shared in recent blog entries and in articles I have written for the Rocky Mountain and Southern Colorado Chapters of Community Associations Institute, in 2013 legislators in Colorado have pledged to introduce legislation to provide an enforcement mechanism that homeowners can utilize to ensure their HOA boards are complying with CCIOA. This legislation could even institute penalties for failing to comply.

 

While some boards may purposefully not comply with provisions of CCIOA, I believe the vast majority of boards are acting in good faith and strive to do the right thing. Instead, they may not know about or fully understand important provisions of CCIOA that provide rights to homeowners/members of their associations. As a result, over the next several weeks, I am going to be posting a series of blog entries entitled CCIOA 101 for HOA Boards aimed at getting HOA board’s up-to-speed on important provisions of CCIOA. The first few blog entries in this series will focus upon the rights of members relating to HOA meetings. 

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