We’ve written many times about the Fair Housing Act and assistance animals, most recently on April 29, 2013. Little did I know then that, just four days previously the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had issued Notice FHEO-2013-01 addressing service animals and assistance animals for people with disabilities in housing and HUD-funded programs, a copy of which can be found here.

We’ve discussed in the past that the Fair Housing Act differs from the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), in that the ADA, with certain exceptions, typically does not apply to homeowners associations, which the Fair Housing Act often does. We’ve also discussed that the U.S. Department of Justice has published a fact sheet describing changes to the ADA rules relating to service animals. Those rules essentially said that a service animal was a dog that had been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, and excluded emotional support animals.

Continue Reading The Fair Housing Act – The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

 We all know that the Colorado legislature last year revised the records definitions and disclosure requirements under the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act ("CCIOA") (we do all know that, right?).

Well, here is an example of what could happen if your community doesn’t take seriously the responsibility to provide records to its members when they request them.

Continue Reading Withholding Records – We Can Do That, Right?

 We’ve written many times about the Federal Fair Housing Act and its applicability to community associations. One of the more frequent questions that we have to deal with is residents requesting permission to keep their assistance animals. 

In Colorado and under the Federal Fair Housing Act, it is unlawful to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services when the accommodation may be necessary to afford a disabled person an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit, including public and common areas. This applies as well to enforcement of restrictive covenants

Continue Reading Fair Housing and Assistance Animals

Once again we read about an unhappy owner in his homeowners association acting out his aggression toward the association’s board of directors. This time, the owner shot and killed two members of the association’s board of directors because the board approved removal of three pine trees that shielded the owner’s view of overhead power lines behind his home.

Is it just our collective imaginations, or is there really more aggression and violence toward association boards? I suspect it is not just our imaginations. While some of the evidence is anecdotal, here in our office it truly seems that association boards face more hostility, aggression and violence.

Continue Reading Violence Toward the Board – What Can You Do?

 We write regularly about the role of community associations’ boards of directors, as well as the role of each of the directors on the board. Today I saw an interesting article about potential liability of directors.

We routinely advise boards that it is important for boards to obtain proper information, thoroughly debate issues at a board meeting and make a decision. In fact, Colorado law provides that a Board, acting within its power, in good faith and in the exercise of its business judgment, will not be liable for its decisions, even if the decision is ultimately determined to be the wrong one. This is known as the business judgment rule.

Continue Reading Together We Stand – Divided We . . . Are Liable? Personally?

We get questions from time to time from associations inquiring about homeowners who have installed improvements around their home, sometimes with association approval, but oftentimes, without. Upon further examination, the association discovers that the improvements appear to encroach on the association’s property – open space, parks, etc.

The inevitable question from the association is “what can we do about it?” “Can we just remove it at the owner’s expense?” “Do we have to leave it?” “It looks okay, and we don’t mind it being there, but who is required to maintain it?” “What do we do now?”

Continue Reading The Creeping Landscape – Or What’s Mine is Mine, and What’s Yours is Mine Too

We frequently talk about directors’ “fiduciary duties” to their associations and their members. While CCIOA seems to say that non-declarant directors do not have a fiduciary duty (it says no director nor officer shall be liable for actions taken or omissions made in performance of such person’s duties except for wanton and willful acts or omissions), Colorado courts continue to talk in terms of fiduciary duty. So what is a fiduciary duty?

Continue Reading Directors’ Duties

Here it is, not even Christmas yet, and I’m talking about the new year? What gives?

We all know that it is easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities and “emergencies” that command so much of our time. But we also know that, every once in awhile, it is a good idea to take a step back and reflect on where we have been, and where we are going. While this seems obvious, and may apply to so many aspects of our lives, it is applicable to the operation of community associations as well.

Continue Reading Strategic Planning for the New Year