Friday, April 11, 2014

HOA Issues Not Sexy but Costly to Home Owners

Homeowners Association (HOA) issues continue to avoid the political limelight and continue to cost home owners millions of dollars a year in unjustified and abusive fees and leave home owners with an inability to enforce their HOA governing documents and State HOA laws.  It would seem HOAs deserve more consideration from our legislators when over two thirds of Coloradans live under HOA governance and the State’s HOA Office has received thousands of home owner complaints.  HOA bills have been passed but ALL are basically unenforceable from the home owner’s perspective.  They require residents to take their complaint to our costly, time consuming, and litigious court system that is impractical and unaffordable for most homeowners.  Furthermore, most well intentioned HOA reform Bills have either been watered down to provide more illusion of reform than effectiveness and/or written by the special interest group, Community Association Institute (CAI), whose practices the Bill was targeted to restrain.  The most recent example of the illusion of HOA legislative reform is HB 14-1254.  The Bill was intended to limit the unjustified, abusive, and costly ($15 million a year to home sellers) HOA transfer fee imposed by property managers (made illegal on all residential home sales except HOAs in 2011).  Again, a well-intentioned Bill, rewritten by the CAI with the improper and tacit approval of DORA (Department of Regulatory Agencies), into a meaningless disclosure Bill with no restrictions. 

The only explanation for the continued lack of exposure of HOA problems and ability of our legislature to pass effective HOA laws seems to be that the issue simply is not “sexy” enough for the media and/or an inability by politicians to turn HOA matters into voter motivation.  Our organization, Colorado HOA Forum, considers HOA issues a sleeping giant based on the growing numbers of citizens living under HOA governance and the increasing number of complaints received by the State’s HOA Office and our representatives.  Those politicians realizing the importance and potential voting block of HOA residents can only benefit from the unquestioned metrics of this citizen interest group. 

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