I think I’m pretty spoiled.  I only have to deal with bad weather when I choose to.  My garage at home is attached, and my garage at work occupies the lower levels of the building.  Sometimes I forget a jacket on winter days and don’t realize it’s a problem until I have to go outside.

As everyone who has been within fifty feet of me during the college football season is well aware, I am a proud alumna of the University of Oklahoma.  I arrived in Norman two years after the bombing of the Murrah building; two years after my arrival, I witnessed the May 3, 1999 F5 tornado that destroyed Moore.  Today, I watch the news and worry about my friends and loved ones who have been impacted by the most recent storms.  While I was born and raised in Colorado, I will always be a Sooner.

Of course, as a community association attorney, I also see this destruction as a crucial lesson for my clients.  It’s important that association boards understand and recognize the impact that natural disasters can have on their communities, and prepare accordingly.

Continue Reading Breaking Through These Times of Trouble

All Colorado community associations are required by the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act ("CCIOA") to adopt responsible governance policies governing issues like collections, meeting procedure, and records inspection.  CCIOA does not provide a lot of guidance for the terms of these policies, but the policy regarding enforcement of covenants and rules and the imposition of fines, must provide the following:

  • Notice and hearing procedures;
  • A schedule of fines;
  • A fair and impartial fact-finding process; and
  • An impartial decisionmaker.

These minimal guidelines do not address a question we frequently see from our clients: "Do I have to tell my neighbor I ratted him out?"

Many homeowners prefer the option of anonymity when making a covenant violation complaint.  The reasons for the preference are obvious – it allows the complainant some measure of protection from an irate neighbor, and can encourage free and open violation reports.

Photo courtesy of http://theduty.tumblr.com.

Continue Reading Pssst…My Neighbor is Violating the Covenants!

Last week Molly Foley-Healy alerted you to proposed PUC regulations that could impact towing in community associations. Earlier today a Call to Action was submitted to CAI members to alert them to these proposed changes. Click through the jump to see the Call to Action, and check back here frequently to keep abreast of legislation that can affect your community.

Continue Reading PUC Regulation – A Call to Action

We are often asked to review rules and regulations for our clients during the cold winter months, before the community pool becomes the haven of unsupervised children running wild on summer break.  Our clients are shocked when we advise them that their rules could cause problems under the federal Fair Housing Act.

It seems reasonable to impose rules limiting access to attractive nuisances like swimming pools, but some courts have held that rules restricting or limiting access to pools, clubhouses, and park facilities on the basis of age violate the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of familial status.

Continue Reading Fair Housing – Take a Look at Your Rules!

I’ll admit it, I’m something of a Grinch.  I’m just not very good at putting up the holiday decorations that so many other people do so well.  My neighborhood is having a holiday light competition.  I haven’t managed to put up any lights, but if I were to put up anything, it would look like the house on the right:

The Armstrong family of Wellington’s house would look more like the one on the left – if they decided to go "low key."   The Armstrongs have a tradition of an extraordinarily elaborate display, combined with holiday cheer for passersby and charitable giving for those less fortunate.  The Fort Collins Coloradoan recently reported on their struggle to keep their light display in spite of their homeowners association’s objection.

Continue Reading How to be a Grinch

As community association attorneys, we are experienced in negotiating contracts with broadband service providers for our clients.  These contracts allow the provider to enter a condominium’s common areas to install wiring and provide service to the individual units, as well as to undertake other activities related to these services.  As a content creator, I value my intellectual property rights.  As a computer geek who went to college in the time of Napster, I understand the inevitability of file sharing.  I recently read this article discussing copyright protection activity by broadband service providers and thought, "Wow, I’m going to have a lot of work to do in a few years."

The article discusses the voluntary actions being taken by many large broadband service providers to discourage inappropriate file sharing and other copyright violations.  It noted that many condominiums share internet service by a single central connection.  This could mean that one flagrant violator with a habit of frequenting shady torrent sites could cause the internet for an entire condominium to be throttled back or even terminated.

Continue Reading Be Careful What Your Neighbors Surf For…

Every Board member knows there are some people who are simply grumps.  They enjoy creating a negative environment.  While Board members are only human, it’s important to remember to treat grumps the same as any other member of the association.  If a Board treats a grump differently, that Board could end up with a case of selective enforcement.

Selective enforcement occurs when a Board enforces a covenant against some, but not all members.  This may happen when the Board intentionally takes an action due to a personal issue, as with a grump, or it may happen when a Board takes actions a prior Board neglected to take.  Every situation is different, and what may seem like unequal treatment is not necessarily selective enforcement.

Continue Reading Be Nice to Grumps!

I recently worked with a client who had purchased a property at the sheriff’s sale on a homeowners association lien.  We frequently take properties through this kind of judicial foreclosure, and so from my perspective, everything was pretty cut and dry.  The client had a lot of questions, and I found myself discussing some basic rules of real property law.  Today, I found this article about a purchaser of a property foreclosed on by an HOA, and decided it might be appropriate to set out some general information about liens and the effect of foreclosure.

Continue Reading Foreclosures and Liens – Some Basics