It’s that time of year again when Boards are planning for the New Year. If your Association has increased (or even decreased) its annual assessment fees for 2015, it is important that the Association follow its governing documents when providing notice of the change to all owners. 

In addition to providing owners with proper notice

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.   


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For a court to have authority to make legal decisions and enter a judgment against someone, the court must have both personal and subject matter jurisdiction over that person.  Subject matter jurisdiction involves the court’s ability or power to hear certain types of cases, whereas personal jurisdiction is the court’s power over a particular party.  The court obtains personal jurisdiction over a defendant when the plaintiff obtains proper service of process of the summons and other related documents, including the complaint.  Service of process is the way by which a party receives notice of the initiation of the litigation and is thereby afforded an opportunity to respond.


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Have you signed up for our free manager classes on Colorado law yet?

As previously blogged by Lindsay Smith, Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne, LLP is offering free lunchtime teleconference classes for community association managers designed to help prepare managers to take the Colorado law portion of the licensing examination.  The next class is scheduled for July 9,

When we hear the term “burden of proof”, many of us think of the television crime shows we all watch such as Law and Order or CSI, and how we always hear that the prosecution has to prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt”.  This “reasonable doubt” standard is the burden of proof in criminal cases.  In general, the burden of proof, or burden of persuasion, is the duty placed upon a party to prove or disprove a disputed fact.  Depending on the case and the arguments, either party can bear this burden. 

In civil cases, however, the burden of proof is a lower standard and only requires that the party who bears the burden prove or disprove a disputed fact by a preponderance of the evidence or by clear and convincing evidence.  Colorado courts define “preponderance of the evidence” as proving that it is more probably true than not, and have defined “clear and convincing evidence”  as proving that it is highly probable and there exists no serious or substantial doubt. It is up to the judge or jury hearing the case to decide whether a party has met its burden.

 


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Has your association increased, or even decreased, its annual assessment fees for 2014? If so, it is important that the association follow its governing documents when providing notice of the change to all owners.   In addition to providing owners with proper notice of any change, the association should also notify its attorney. This will help to ensure that any accounts and/or payment plans that are with the attorney for collection are properly noted, and any increase is accurately accounted for and collected.  


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Homeowners often claim that they did not receive notice of their delinquency from the Association. Sometimes this assertion comes up after the Association files suit against the homeowner.   Fortunately, the “Mailbox Rule” can allow the Association to overcome this allegation.


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