The Colorado Civil Rights Division (“CCRD”) of the Department of Regulatory Affairs yesterday disseminated a news release describing a year long investigation into the towing practices of Kimberly Hills which is located in Federal Heights. While Kimberly Hills is not a homeowners’ association (“HOA”), the same principles apply and the story is instructive for HOAs.
Management for Kimberly Hills is alleged to have used discriminatory towing practices against residents of Mexican national origin “. . . by vigorously applying a ‘no tolerance’ towing policy against some of the community’s most vulnerable residents.” In particular, the Director of the CCRD noted that “The Commission determined this was a case of abusive treatment that willfully violated residents’ civil rights by towing their vehicles, often with no notice in the middle of the night, while allowing other residents to have inoperable vehicles remain onsite indefinitely. The investigation found that Kimberly Hills residents of Mexican national origin were unduly subjected to costly impound fees at the direction of their landlord for no other reason than their national origin. Many who could not afford to pay repeated fines lost cars to the impound lot or moved from the community to avoid further discrimination. CCRD took this matter very seriously and that is why our agency conducted a thorough year-long investigation, including the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum, review of multiple documents, and interview of numerous witnesses.”
The case against Kimberly Hills is scheduled to be heard before an administrative law judge in late August.
While this is an extreme example of discrimination based upon national origin, it’s a good reminder that HOAs are required by law to enforce all covenants, policies and rules and regulations against all residents of the HOA in a consistent and nondiscriminatory manner. Federal and state law prohibit discrimination in housing based on: race, color, creed (state only), religion, national origin, ancestry (state only), sex, sexual orientation (including transgender status – state only), disability, familial status, marital status (state only) and retaliation for engaging in a civil rights protected activity.