The 2017 legislative session opens today in Colorado! For those of you who are political junkies, following the recent elections, here is what you need to know about the makeup of the Colorado House and Senate:
As many of you know, the association is entitled to collect a super lien payment from a foreclosing lender when a property enters into public trustee foreclosure. The super lien amount consists of up to six months of regular assessment charges that came due prior to the filing of the foreclosure. This is a monetary threshold rather than a requirement that there be six months of unpaid assessments due. For example, if an association had monthly dues of $100.00, a super lien could be claimed for $600.00 so long as the account ledger showed this balance as due. The balance could be comprised of any combination of assessments, late charges, interest, legal fees or other charges.
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times, you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary, because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.
Is your association increasing, or even decreasing, its annual assessment fees for 2017? If so, it is important that the association follow its governing documents when providing notice of the change to all owners. In addition to providing owners with proper notice of any change, the association should also notify its attorney. This will help to ensure that any accounts and/or payment plans that are with the attorney for collection are properly noted, and any increase is accurately accounted for and collected.
In addition to payment plans that may be affected by the increase of assessment fees, there are also notification requirements and deadlines the association must comply with for certain owners who have filed for bankruptcy. Advising the association’s attorney of any change will allow the attorney to take the proper measures to ensure that the association retains the right to collect the new assessment fee.
If you haven’t already notified your attorney that your assessment fees have changed, or will change, for the New Year, pick up the phone or send an email to your attorney – I’m sure he or she would love to hear from you!
Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne is pleased to announce that Brianna Schaefer has joined our firm. Brianna is an accomplished attorney specializing in the practice of community association law and is an outstanding addition to our law practice. Brianna has been practicing in HOA law since 2004 and has primarily focused her practice in the areas of collections and foreclosure. She enjoys finding creative ways to assist communities to thrive financially and encourages open communication between board members and owners. She is also an enthusiastic educator and enjoys developing and teaching classes on association related topics.
As we’ve discussed earlier this year, Congress recently passed the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA), which was signed into law by President Obama on July 29, 2016. While the act addresses many aspects of housing and federal housing assistance, of particular interest to us and some of our clients is one part of the act that addresses FHA Mortgage Insurance for Condominiums. The act requires that the Secretary of HUD streamline the project certification requirements that are applicable to insurance for condominium mortgages to that recertification is substantially less burdensome than certifications. In addition, the act requires that the Secretary of HUD also consider and modify other factors and practices in FHA project approvals for condominiums, including the amount of commercial space in a mixed-use project, transfer fees, and owner-occupancy requirements.
Short-Term Rentals (“STRs”), which can encompass everything from nightly rentals to thirty day rentals to six month rentals, have become a hot button issue in common interest communities since the inception of websites such as airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. The market for STRs in Colorado increased exponentially with the legalization of recreational marijuana. The dramatic increase in STRs has compelled many common interest communities to consider ways to restrict, or at least regulate, leasing in their communities.
When a common interest community wants to restrict leasing to eliminate or control STRs, the first question is whether this can be done by the Board through the adoption of a rule or policy, or whether it requires an amendment to the covenants upon approval of the required percentage of the owners. The prevailing view is that leasing restrictions may only be imposed by an amendment to the recorded covenants, and not by the adoption of a rule.
The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act, C.R.S. § 38-33.3-101 et seq. (“CCIOA”) contains several provisions regarding the use of property within common interest communities. C.R.S. § 38-33.3-205(1)(l) requires that restrictions on the use, occupancy, and alienation of units be contained in the recorded declaration. C.R.S. § 38-33.3-217(4.5) requires that no amendment may change the uses to which any unit is restricted in the absence of a vote or agreement of at least sixty-seven percent (67%) of owners, or any larger percentage specified in the declaration. Similarly, the Restatement of the Law on Property/Servitudes provides that, absent specific authorization in the covenants, an HOA does not have the power to adopt rules that restrict the use or occupancy of individually owned units.
Many owners in common interest communities might assume that when their association takes steps to increase security – such as installing street lights, security gates, surveillance cameras, etc. – they are providing additional protection to the owners who live in the community. However, the opposite may be true. If a community’s governing documents do not require the association to provide security, the association may be undertaking responsibility where it has none. While security measures are a good idea in principle, community associations must be careful not to unintentionally increase their liability for third party criminal acts.