Saturday, September 13, 2014

HOA Transfer Fees Still Burden Home Owners

HOA Transfer Fees will continue to financially burden HOA home owners despite new disclosure guidelines in the Colorado HOA property manager (Community Association Manager, CAM) licensing Bill effective July 2015.  This is a fee imposed on home sellers to subsidize the CAM industry, is not mandated by law, and funds are retained by the CAM not the HOA.    The fee, ranging from $100 to over $1,000 has never been justified by work performed, must be paid or the home sale can't be completed, and is not negotiable in amount (it's whatever the CAM decides, no if's, and's, or but's).  The cost to Colorado HOA home owners is over $10 million a year and nationwide the tab runs to several hundred million dollars a year.
Colorado began a road to reform on this fee with the introduction of a Bill in 2014 to limit the fee in amount, require CAMs to justify the reason and amount of fee, and show how they were not already compensated for all Transfer Fee work in their contract with the HOA (which to date they have never done).  The Community Association Institute (CAI) effectively killed the Bill and our legislators allowed them to re-write the Bill to preclude any dollar limits, negotiation of fees, or require justification and itemized disclosure of amounts charged.  Instead, HOA home owners got the issue pushed to the CAM licensing guidelines in the form of "requesting" the fee be disclosed ensuring nothing will change and it will continue to be a "pay it or you can't sell" situation.  The detail of disclosure can be a one liner "Transfer Fee" on a closing statement with no specific explanation or justification.    Also tacitly supporting this abusive fee was the Colorado Association of Realtors who refused to take a stand on the fee to help the folks who put bread on their plates: home sellers and buyers.
Our organization, Colorado HOA Forum, will again in 2014-2105 seek legislative sponsors to limit or end this fee.  The CAI will also be there to peddle their influence and kill any home owner efforts to end/limit this fee.

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