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My name is Finnegan and I live in an HOA.  Since I understand people complain a lot in HOAs about dogs, I thought it might be helpful for pet parents to hear directly from a beagle about the fundamentals of being a responsible canine companion. Here’s what you need to know:


Continue Reading Finnegan’s Fundamentals of Responsible Canine Companionship

This morning as I was driving to work, I was thinking about the interpersonal conflict I have recently been observing in some HOAs.  While it may be convenient for folks to blame all of the nastiness on a full moon, I truly believe much of the conflict in associations simply comes from folks not listening to each other.  The truth is that deep down inside every person wants to be heard and treated with

On January 1, 2014, new legislation went into effect requiring associations to provide a specific written notice to delinquent homeowners. This notice is required prior to turning over a matter for collections to an attorney or collection agency.

The details of the notice are as follows:

a. It must contain the amount due with an accounting of how the total was determined (a running balance ledger going back to a -0- balance is sufficient);

b.  A statement as to whether the opportunity to enter into a payment plan exists and instructions for contacting the community association manager and/or board member to enter into such a payment plan;

c.  The name and contact information for the individual the unit owner may contact to request a copy of the unit owner’s ledger in order to verify the amount of the delinquency; and

d.  A statement that action is required to cure the delinquency and that failure to do so within thirty days may result in the unit owner’s delinquent account being turned over to a collection agency, a lawsuit being filed against the owner, the filing and foreclosure of a lien against the unit owner’s property or other remedies available under Colorado law.


Continue Reading Clarifying the Collection Notice Requirements to Delinquent Homeowners

I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions because I believe that if something needs to be fixed, it should be fixed at that time – not on an arbitrary date.  However, many folks do like their resolutions, and I’ve heard several resolutions from my clients. 

We resolve to adopt our policies.  The responsible governance policies mandated by Senate Bills 100 and 89 have been required for nearly a decade!  Adopt your policies, already!


Continue Reading New Year’s Resolutions

We’ve all received the party invitation with a note letting us know that gifts are not requested–Your presence is present enough. Some of us take the cue, while others go above and beyond and bring a gift despite the note. I like to think that association board members, through their election or appointment to their boards, receive an invitation to the big party of the boardroom. And I’d like to encourage you to thank your association’s board members for their presence on the board this holiday season. I realize you’re busy attending parties at work, gathering with family and friends, going to your places of worship, and finding time to relax amidst the bustle of the season. Whew–this is a busy time of year! But this one quick and easy task can be accomplished by email, in passing at the mailbox, or through a handwritten note or card. I sincerely encourage you to reach out and say "thank you."

This is my "thank you" note to board members:


Continue Reading Your Board’s Presence Is Present Enough: Don’t forget to say “Thank you” this holiday season

After a long day at work, it’s sometimes nice to sit down with a lovely glass of red wine or a cocktail.  However, at the risk of sounding like an old fuddy duddy, I have to say that alcohol and HOA board meetings are just not a good mix.

Directors attend board meetings to conduct the business of their HOAs.  It is not unusual for directors to consider complex or controversial issues which require their focused attention.  While I have luckily never witnessed an intoxicated director at a meeting, directors are required to fulfill their fiduciary duty to the associations they serve and to exercise their sound business judgment.  It’s no secret that the consumption of alcohol can interfere with an individual’s judgment.  


Continue Reading Alcohol and HOA Board Meetings Just Don’t Mix

My household includes a Grinch and a Clark Griswold.  "Clark’ wants to put up holiday decorations last weekend.  "The Grinch" thinks holiday decorations are overly-expensive cat toys to be avoided at all costs.  The Grinch received the following poem by Nena Groskind this morning, and somehow is now in a bit of a Christmas mood.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we have, and prepare reasonable rules and regulations in the spirit of the season!


Continue Reading A Community Christmas Carol (sort of)

If you are like me, you will be happy when the election is over tomorrow and the nasty political ads are off the air for a couple of years. However, regardless of your party affiliation or beliefs, I hope you take the time to cast your votes and return your ballot. After all, we live in the greatest democracy on the planet and voting is at the heart of our fundamental rights.

The election also got me thinking about HOA annual meetings and the election of directors. While hopefully your HOA is drama free and every member votes, I thought this was a great time to remind boards, managers and homeowners about the requirements for utilizing secret balloting. 

 

The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”), at C.R.S. 38-33.3-310, requires secret ballots be utilized at membership meetings under the following circumstances:

 

●          Secret ballots must be utilized for contested positions on your board of directors. Simply put, this means secret ballots must be used when there are more folks running for the board than there are open seats. The requirement does not apply if your governing documents provide for the election of directors through delegates who cast votes on behalf of a segment of the membership. 

●          Secret ballots may be used at the discretion of the board of directors. Some boards like to use secret ballots for every item which is voted upon at a membership meeting. This gives members the ability to cast their vote without any perceived pressure from the board or their neighbors.

          Secret ballots must be utilized on any issue where 20% of the owners, present in person or by proxy at the meeting of the members, request use of a secret ballot on an issue. 

 

Once votes are cast at a membership meeting by secret ballot, here’s what you need to know:


Continue Reading Secret Ballots in HOA Elections – Keeping it Drama Free!

In 2012, the Colorado legislature changed the laws governing community association records, including requirements that Board members’ e-mail addresses be retained as official records.  At first, many of our clients balked at the new requirement.  As many of you are aware, it’s very easy to allow electronic communications to become uncivil, and Board members didn’t want these communications going to their private or work e-mails.

To address these concerns, we recommend that our association clients create e-mail addresses for the Boards, and that the Boards pass these along to new Board members as they are elected.  This ensures continuity of communications for homeowners, and it also protects Board members from the risk of having their personal or work e-mails subject to discovery in the event of litigation.  Board members can also create their own personal association e-mail addresses, although this does not have the bonus side of maintaining continuity as the Board turns over. Either way, Board members should have dedicated association e-mail addresses.


Continue Reading Board Communications and E-mails

We get questions about property insurance for community associations all the time – What insurance is the association supposed to carry? What insurance are the owners required to carry? Who pays the deductible under the association’s policy? Are there special coverages that the association should carry, even though it is not required to? These, and a whole host of other insurance questions are the topics of whole books on the issue. We don’t pretend to be experts in insurance – there are insurance professionals (and even some attorneys) who are. But it is probably useful to provide some basic understanding of association insurance coverage. This topic will warrant additional discussion in future blog posts. But for now, here’s some basic information.

As with so many other issues that an association has to deal with, when you need to know what insurance your association must carry, you should review your governing documents. Most of the time the declaration will set out in some detail what the requirements are. However, sometimes we see declarations that simply say that an association will carry the insurance required by CCIOA.


Continue Reading Property Insurance – Isn’t it All the Same?