In a recent decision [Houston v. Wilson Mesa Ranch Homeowners Association, Inc., 2015 WL 4760331 (D. Colo. August 13, 2015], the Colorado Court of Appeals held that an association’s covenants stating that homes could not be occupied or used for any commercial or business purpose did not prohibit a homeowner from renting out his property for short-term vacation rentals.

A homeowner in the community advertised and rented his home for rent through the VRBO website. In response to the homeowner’s actions, the association passed an amendment to its ‘administrative procedures’ prohibiting its members from renting out their properties for a period of less than thirty days without prior board approval and establishing a $500 fine for violations. 

Continue Reading Short Terms Rentals may not be Commercial Use of Property

In my first installment of this blog series entitled HOA Board Meeting Basics, I discussed whether the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act ("CCIOA") or the Colorado Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act ("Nonprofit Act") require that members of an HOA be provided with notices of board meetings and agendas.  In this installment of the series, I will discuss open board meetings in HOAs.

For most folks living in Colorado, our home is the biggest investment we will ever make in our lives.  For those of us with a home in an HOA, we know that in addition to our normal obligations as homeowners, we must pay assessments for our share of the common expenses of the community and comply with the governing documents of our association. 

Our HOAs are governed by boards of directors which have a great deal of authority over our how our communities are maintained, the fiscal health of our communities, how the governing documents are enforced and the overall culture of our communities. Since boards of directors have a great deal of power, it only makes sense that CCIOA requires that Board meetings be open to the members of the HOA or their designated representatives.  Having open meetings provides members with an opportunity to see their boards in action and to observe the due diligence they engage in before making important decisions. 

Continue Reading HOA Board Meeting Basics: Exceptions to Open Meetings Limited

Just last week, I had the privilege of teaching a class for the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority on HOA meetings.  Since my friends in Aspen and Pitkin County had numerous and excellent questions relating to meetings, I thought it would be helpful to post a series of blog entries on HOA board and membership meetings.  In order to avoid confusion, I will start this series of blog entries by addressing issues relating to HOA board meetings.

For those of you who follow our blog, you know that the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act ("CCIOA") is the primary body of statutory law in Colorado that regulates HOAs.  Since most HOAs are nonprofit corporations, when we are dealing with issues relating to governance, we must also look to the Colorado Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act ("Nonprofit Act") for guidance. 

The first question I will address is whether HOA boards must provide notice of their board meetings to the members of their associations.  Interestingly, CCIOA and the Nonprofit Act do not require that members of an HOA be provided with notice of board meetings.  However, it is important to check out the bylaws for your association to determine whether the bylaws require that notice of board meetings be given to the members.  If your bylaws require that notice be given to members, make sure to carefully follow the notice requirements outlined in your bylaws. 

Continue Reading HOA Board Meeting Basics: Notice to Members and Agendas

                                                                                         

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My name is Finnegan and I live in an HOA.  Since I understand people complain a lot in HOAs about dogs, I thought it might be helpful for pet parents to hear directly from a beagle about the fundamentals of being a responsible canine companion. Here’s what you need to know:

Continue Reading Finnegan’s Fundamentals of Responsible Canine Companionship

This morning as I was driving to work, I was thinking about the interpersonal conflict I have recently been observing in some HOAs.  While it may be convenient for folks to blame all of the nastiness on a full moon, I truly believe much of the conflict in associations simply comes from folks not listening to each other.  The truth is that deep down inside every person wants to be heard and treated with respect.  Even if folks don’t always agree with us, the simple act of listening without reaction and with empathy can work miracles.

To be fair, when I talk about conflict, I’m talking about everyone involved in the HOA world.  So I’m calling on all homeowners, board members, managers, association employees and HOA attorneys to stop for a minute and to truly listen to what the other gal or guy is saying.  If we take the time to really hear what the other person is saying and to acknowledge their feelings, we are much less likely to react with personal attacks and are more likely to find an acceptable solution to the problem. 

 

 

 

On January 1, 2014, new legislation went into effect requiring associations to provide a specific written notice to delinquent homeowners. This notice is required prior to turning over a matter for collections to an attorney or collection agency.

The details of the notice are as follows:

a. It must contain the amount due with an accounting of how the total was determined (a running balance ledger going back to a -0- balance is sufficient);

b.  A statement as to whether the opportunity to enter into a payment plan exists and instructions for contacting the community association manager and/or board member to enter into such a payment plan;

c.  The name and contact information for the individual the unit owner may contact to request a copy of the unit owner’s ledger in order to verify the amount of the delinquency; and

d.  A statement that action is required to cure the delinquency and that failure to do so within thirty days may result in the unit owner’s delinquent account being turned over to a collection agency, a lawsuit being filed against the owner, the filing and foreclosure of a lien against the unit owner’s property or other remedies available under Colorado law.

Continue Reading Clarifying the Collection Notice Requirements to Delinquent Homeowners

I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions because I believe that if something needs to be fixed, it should be fixed at that time – not on an arbitrary date.  However, many folks do like their resolutions, and I’ve heard several resolutions from my clients. 

We resolve to adopt our policies.  The responsible governance policies mandated by Senate Bills 100 and 89 have been required for nearly a decade!  Adopt your policies, already!

Continue Reading New Year’s Resolutions

We’ve all received the party invitation with a note letting us know that gifts are not requested–Your presence is present enough. Some of us take the cue, while others go above and beyond and bring a gift despite the note. I like to think that association board members, through their election or appointment to their boards, receive an invitation to the big party of the boardroom. And I’d like to encourage you to thank your association’s board members for their presence on the board this holiday season. I realize you’re busy attending parties at work, gathering with family and friends, going to your places of worship, and finding time to relax amidst the bustle of the season. Whew–this is a busy time of year! But this one quick and easy task can be accomplished by email, in passing at the mailbox, or through a handwritten note or card. I sincerely encourage you to reach out and say "thank you."

This is my "thank you" note to board members:

Continue Reading Your Board’s Presence Is Present Enough: Don’t forget to say “Thank you” this holiday season

After a long day at work, it’s sometimes nice to sit down with a lovely glass of red wine or a cocktail.  However, at the risk of sounding like an old fuddy duddy, I have to say that alcohol and HOA board meetings are just not a good mix.

Directors attend board meetings to conduct the business of their HOAs.  It is not unusual for directors to consider complex or controversial issues which require their focused attention.  While I have luckily never witnessed an intoxicated director at a meeting, directors are required to fulfill their fiduciary duty to the associations they serve and to exercise their sound business judgment.  It’s no secret that the consumption of alcohol can interfere with an individual’s judgment.  

Continue Reading Alcohol and HOA Board Meetings Just Don’t Mix

My household includes a Grinch and a Clark Griswold.  "Clark’ wants to put up holiday decorations last weekend.  "The Grinch" thinks holiday decorations are overly-expensive cat toys to be avoided at all costs.  The Grinch received the following poem by Nena Groskind this morning, and somehow is now in a bit of a Christmas mood.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we have, and prepare reasonable rules and regulations in the spirit of the season!

Continue Reading A Community Christmas Carol (sort of)