We sometimes receive questions about the owner education requirements required by the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA), and what it takes to comply. CCIOA says that the association must provide, or cause to be provided, education to owners at no cost on at least an annual basis as to the general operations of the association and the rights and responsibilities of owners, the association, and its executive board under Colorado law. The criteria for compliance with this section shall be determined by the executive board.
There you have it – the criteria for compliance is determined by the board. There is nothing else mandated, no further guidance. So, what should the education consist of?
Here are some ideas:
- The hierarchy of the governing documents;
- Applicability of CCIOA;
- Responsible governance and the interplay with the mandatory policies (you do have those, don’t you?);
- Structure of the association’s governing bodies, including the role of the members, board of directors, committees, manager and attorney;
- What the budget covers and how it was determined;
- What happens when a homeowner doesn’t pay his assessments;
- How does a lender foreclosure affect the community;
- If the community is under control of the declarant, what rights that gives the declarant, and when do those rights expire;
- What does control by the declarant mean;
- What factors are considered when approving architectural or design changes; and
- What insurance is the association required to carry and what does it cover.
It is often helpful to have the association’s manager, insurance agent, attorney or other professionals on hand at a meeting to be able to address some of these topics and issues. Newsletters or website articles discussing these topics may be sufficient.
How much time should be devoted to the owner education, you ask? However much time the board feels is necessary to educate members in the operation of the association. Maybe one hour is enough, or maybe four hours. It likely will depend on the size of your community and how interested your members are in participating. The important thing is that the board make a plan for the education and follow through on it.