The Colorado Court of Appeals, in the recent court decision of Abril Meadows Homeowner’s Association v. Castro, 211 P.3d 64 (Colo. App. 2009), ruled that an association whose declaration of covenants was unsigned did not have the right to enforce its covenants against its homeowners.

The association sued two homeowners to foreclose a lien for unpaid covenant violation fines which exceeded $100,000. At trial, the homeowners argued that the declaration of covenants was invalid since it was never signed by the developer. The trial court found in favor of the association, however, the homeowners took an appeal.

The appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision and found in favor of the homeowners. The court stated that the association could not prevail since the declaration of covenants was required to be signed and executed in the same manner as a deed. The court further rejected the argument that the association’s signed and recorded property plat was sufficient, since it did not specifically incorporate the terms of the declaration or state that the property was subject to the covenants.

The court’s decision underlines the importance of verifying that the association’s covenants are properly signed and recorded in the public records.