Will HOAs Ever Be Treated Fairly By the Press?
Last night during the 10:00 pm newscast, CBS 4 News Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks reported on a meeting she held with a group of disgruntled residents who live in a handful of HOAs in Colorado. While there’s no question that residents are sometimes treated poorly by their HOAs, Ms. Brooks made no attempt to interview the associations that allegedly mistreated these individuals. Instead, she took the time-honored approach of many reporters by giving a one-sided account of their complaints.
The story went on to highlight approaches residents can take “when they are about to engage in battle with their HOA.” These approaches include: (1) read the bylaws; (2) engage your neighbors; and (3) write a letter. While the approaches she highlighted weren’t objectionable, I do take issue with her characterization of residents “doing battle” with HOAs. Whatever happened to reading and complying with governing documents of associations? Understanding that directors have a legal duty to enforce the governing documents, whatever happened to residents working collaboratively with an HOA when possible to find a mutually acceptable solution to an issue? Why does it have to be a war?
The HOA Information Office and Resource Center, which is housed within the Division of Real Estate and created by passage of HB 1278 in 2010, was also covered in the story. Emphasis was given to the fact that the Office is collecting complaints about HOAs but has no authority to act on those complaints.
When asked whether the HOA Information Center goes far enough, Senator Morgan Carroll who sponsored HB 1278 replied “No.” However, she did emphasize that for the first time problems in HOAs are being identified and recorded. As a result, data will be available to back-up future legislative action.
I’m the first one to say that not all HOAs are perfect and sometimes residents aren't treated appropriately. However, I also truly believe that the vast majority of professional managers and boards are committed to doing the right thing and creating communities that are a great place to live.
For a change, it would really be a breath of fresh air to see a story that highlights the benefits of living in an HOA and satisfied homeowners. Just sayin' . . .
It seems that the vast majority of HOAs who are doing things right will never be the subject of an "investigative reporter's" news coverage. They may never be recognized for their contibutions to the overall community, charitable acts, support of local agencies or any myriad of positive actions of residents, Boards and professional managers. Guess only negative news sells. It is a sad commentary on our medias approach to reporting.
I saw the same "news" story and was troubled by the tone, what gets me is there's lots of press about how to fight your HOA, but I've yet to hear a mention of the key thing you can do if you have concerns with how your HOA is run: PARTICIPATE! JOIN, RUN FOR OFFICE, VOLUNTEER your time not your darts.