Today in the Denver Post, an opinion was published by Jose’ Martinez entitled The dark side of HOAs. While there is no question that not every HOA is perfect, it’s unfortunate that Mr. Martinez made the leap that based upon an anecdotal situation he observed – all HOA boards and management companies are bad. Mr. Martinez also referenced the 3000 queries and complaints outlined in the 2011 Annual Report of the HOA Information and Resource Center as evidence for the need to regulate HOAs. What Mr. Martinez failed to note is that for the 8,287 HOAs which are currently registered in Colorado, only 478 actual complaints were made and none of those complaints were investigated to determine if they are valid.
While it’s fair to say that some boards of HOAs are on power trips, act inappropriately and should be removed; it is also fair to say that the vast majority of boards, managers and management companies are acting with the best of intentions and in the best interests of the communities they serve. It’s also important to point out that serving as a volunteer on an HOA board is time consuming and can be a no-win situation for these folks. Directors of HOAs have the fiduciary duty to enforce the governing documents of their associations and to make tough decisions that are sometimes not popular. Managers have the unenviable task of communicating and acting upon these tough decisions.
Does the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act ("CCIOA") have teeth to ensure that HOA boards are complying with the “homeowner bill of rights” provisions of CCIOA? No, it doesn’t. Is this something that should be addressed by statute? Probably so – but in a balanced, thoughtful and appropriate manner. Is ongoing education an important component for HOA boards and managers? Absolutely. However, saying all of these things, I would like to salute the directors and managers of HOAs for all of your hard work and the contributions you make to ensure your communities are vibrant and great places to live. The job you do is sometimes thankless and I want you to know that painting all boards, managers and management companies as bad is truly unfair!