Last Friday, I blogged on a news story aired by Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks on CBS News 4. I opined that Ms. Brooks didn’t bother to take the time to investigate the claims made by a small group of disgruntled homeowners and instead opted to present an unbalanced point of view that HOAs are bad and abusive to residents. However, I did concede that not all HOAs are perfect and sometimes homeowners are treated poorly.
On Friday, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Community Associations Institute (“CAI”) jumped into action by making calls to News 4 to point out that there is another side of the story and to ask for the opportunity to respond. That evening, Ms. Brooks interviewed Aaron Acker of the HOA Information Office and Resource Center. The interview focused upon the fact that Mr. Acker is only permitted to take complaints from residents, cannot investigate or take action on the complaints and legislative or regulatory action may be the answer.
To the credit of News 4, the anchor of the Sunday morning newscast interviewed Mark Payne, managing partner of Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne, who was acting as the spokesman for CAI. The anchor graciously acknowledged that there are always two-sides to a story. When asked what residents should do when they have complaints about their HOAs, Mark made the following points:
●A couple of years ago, CAI National conducted a national survey about homeowner satisfaction in HOAs. Mark noted that 80 to 90 percent of all homeowners surveyed were either happy or satisfied with their HOAs. (CAI’s Foundation of Community Research contracted with Zogby International in 2009 to conduct this survey and compile the results.)
●When a resident has a complaint; the resident should contact the manager of their HOA about the complaint. If the HOA has no manager, the individual should contact the board of directors. If residents feel they are not being heard, they should be persistent in communicating their concerns.
●HOAs in Colorado are required to adopt and follow a policy addressing dispute resolution.
●Common complaints of residents in HOAs center on the “Ps” which include: Parties (noise related to parties), Paint (colors of paint that may be utilized when painting homes or whether painting is necessary), Poop (residents not picking up after their dogs), and Parking (folks parking their recreational vehicles and trailers in violation of the governing documents.).
A big thanks goes out to CAI and Mark for working with News 4 to provide a more balanced view of HOAs. Also, sufficient recognition cannot be given to homeowners, board members and managers who work cooperatively every day to make their HOAs great places to live!