Concerns Over HOA Accountability in Colorado Crosses Party Lines
Yesterday I attended and testified at a hearing before the House Local Government Committee on House Bill 12-1237 (“HB 1237”) relating to the production of association records to homeowners. While an amended version of HB 1237 was reported out of Committee and seems to be on its way to passage in the Colorado House of Representatives, that is not what really caught my attention.
What made me sit up and take notice were the comments made by Representative Balmer when he made a motion to refer the bill out of Committee to the full House with an “extremely” favorable recommendation. Representative Balmer is a Republican from Centennial and as a general rule Republicans do not favor regulation. However, when it comes to HOA legislation that has not been the case.
Representative Balmer thanked Representative Williams for introducing HB 1237 and noted that it is a “very small step” in the right direction. He also stated that he looks forward to working with Representative Williams in the future to introduce legislation that essentially gets HOAs under control. While he was making these comments, there was head-nodding from both sides of the aisle.
These comments by Representative Balmer follow a recent Denver Post article where Aldo Svaldi reported that Senator Morgan Carroll, a Democrat out of Aurora, would foremost “like to see enforcement on existing laws stepped up.”
While it’s true that some HOAs purposefully do not comply with their governing documents or Colorado law, the fact is that the vast majority of boards and managers endeavor to do the right thing. Unfortunately in the HOA context, these “good news” stories don’t get much traction in the legislature or the press. Instead, perceived anecdotal “horror stories” tend to provide the fuel necessary for legislative reform.
Is a bill going to be introduced this session to address HOA accountability for complying with provisions of the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act? At this time, it doesn’t look like it. However, that could change in a hurry. The one thing that does seem pretty clear is that 2013 and 2014 are already shaping up to be very big years for HOA legislation.