We all know that everybody hates their homeowners association – or do we? Many people might be surprised, particularly those who do hate their associations and think that everybody thinks the way they do, and maybe our state legislators, who tend to hear the complaints but not the good stories. Whatever the case may be, apparently not everybody hates their homeowners associations – far from it.

A recent survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies finds that 90% of people rate their overall community association experience as positive; 90% of people say the association’s board members "absolutely" or "for the most part" serve the best interests of the community; 92% say they are on friendly terms with their association boards; 83% say their community managers provide value and support to residents and their associations; 88% of residents who had direct contact with their community manager say it was a positive experience. Here is a copy of the survey results.

Continue Reading They Aren’t As Bad as You Might Be Lead to Believe

We get questions about property insurance for community associations all the time – What insurance is the association supposed to carry? What insurance are the owners required to carry? Who pays the deductible under the association’s policy? Are there special coverages that the association should carry, even though it is not required to? These, and a whole host of other insurance questions are the topics of whole books on the issue. We don’t pretend to be experts in insurance – there are insurance professionals (and even some attorneys) who are. But it is probably useful to provide some basic understanding of association insurance coverage. This topic will warrant additional discussion in future blog posts. But for now, here’s some basic information.

As with so many other issues that an association has to deal with, when you need to know what insurance your association must carry, you should review your governing documents. Most of the time the declaration will set out in some detail what the requirements are. However, sometimes we see declarations that simply say that an association will carry the insurance required by CCIOA.

Continue Reading Property Insurance – Isn’t it All the Same?

We frequently hear people say that common areas are owned by their association. And, while that is true in many cases, it is not true when referring to condominiums. In fact, the single fact distinguishing condominiums from any other type of common interest community is how the property making up the project, other than the individual units, is owned.
Continue Reading Whose Land is it Anyway? And Why do we Care?

 We sometimes receive questions about the owner education requirements required by the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA), and what it takes to comply. CCIOA says that the association must provide, or cause to be provided, education to owners at no cost on at least an annual basis as to the general operations of the association and the rights and responsibilities of owners, the association, and its executive board under Colorado law. The criteria for compliance with this section shall be determined by the executive board.

Continue Reading Annual Education? Do You Comply?

Every so often we hear of something that makes us want to shake our heads and murmur to ourselves “WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?” (Okay – maybe more of a shout than a murmur, but we ask ourselves nevertheless). This happened to me recently when I read about a Texas Court of Appeals decision in which the homeowners association (Happy Hide-A –Way Civic Club) became upset with how some owners were (really, were not) maintaining their home. The association, relying on the language in its governing documents, decided that it was entitled to demolish the owners’ home, and proceeded to do just that.

Continue Reading Self-Help; Maybe Not the Best Remedy

Many times when enforcement action is started against an owner in a community, the first response is “Why are you picking on me? Everybody else is/has [fill in the blank – painted their house without ARC approval; installed new windows without ARC approval; modified their landscaping; left their trash cans out, etc.]” Then the formal response is accompanied by a dozen pictures of other homes in the community that have the same, or similar, violations. Face it, everybody who receives the enforcement letter from their association feels like they are being singled out, because they know at least one other person who has done exactly what they are accused of doing, and that other person hasn’t been reprimanded. Or have they?

Continue Reading Selective Enforcement – Why’s Everybody Always Picking On Me?

 We receive many calls from board members of homeowner association clients inquiring about complaints made by unhappy members of their communities and threats of lawsuits against the directors. The complaints run the full gamut from failure to enforce the governing documents, to unfair enforcement of the governing documents, to failure to abide by the governing documents or CCIOA, or any of a number of other complaints. Being a lawyer, I generally answer their question with one of my own – “You do have D & O insurance in place, don’t you?” I get a little worried when the answer is another question – “What’s that?”

Continue Reading Protection for the Board – D & O Insurance

 I’ve recently been following a blog that has been discussing how the paying members of a homeowners association can find out who is delinquent in paying their assessments. We’ve been asked many times over the years whether it is lawful, or wise, to publish the names of owners who are not current in the payment of their assessments. It is interesting, at least to me, the scope of opinions about this topic.

I take the position that any member in the association who is not paying his or her assessments is being subsidized by those who do pay. I believed that the member who is paying is entitled to know who they were subsidizing.

Continue Reading Can You Disclose Who In Your Community Is Delinquent In Payment Of Their Assessments?

 Readers of this blog know that CCIOA came into effect on July 1, 1992, but by its definitions, only applied to certain common interest communities, and further, only in limited respects to those communities formed before July 1, 1992. Many legal practitioners held the opinion for many years that CCIOA did not apply to homeowners associations that did not actually own any real property that they were responsible for maintaining, improving, insuring, or paying taxes for.

However, that opinion changed in 2009, when the Colorado Court of appeals issued a ruling that essentially said that CCIOA does not require ownership of real property by the homeowners association. Rather, by the terms of CCIOA, if the owners in the homeowners association were bound to pay assessments, and the assessments were used in part to pay for enforcement of the restrictive covenants or provide services to the members, that was sufficient to make the community subject to CCIOA.

Continue Reading When Your Community Doesn’t Own Anything, Is It Subject to CCIOA?

 Does your Board record its meetings, either with audio recordings or video recordings? Do you allow members who are present to record meetings? Do you know? Do you care?

With all the discussion and action in recent years focused on transparency of association operations, it might seem like recording meetings, or allowing them to be recorded is consistent with notions of transparency. However, that is often not the case. When your association has not thought about this topic, too often the result, when the Board discovers that a member is recording the meetings, is uncertainty, and then the call to the association’s lawyer’s office to find out what is allowed, not allowed, and what can be done

Continue Reading Recording Meetings – Should We or Should We Not?