Our legislators can pass a bill naming the State Pet but treat HOA home owners like feral cats. The Colorado HOA Forum, the State’s largest home owners advocacy organization, has lobbied legislators for the past eighteen months to limit/end the illegally applied and costly (upwards of $10 million a year) HOA Transfer Fee on the sale of HOA homes. Last year lobbyist killed a bill to limit this fee. Realtors, legislators, many property managers (PMs), and home owners voice objections to this abusive and excessive fee. Many believe the fee is a mandatory fee for expenses incurred by the HOA/PM in the sale of a home: not true. The fee has been called extortion and highway robbery by PMs and legislators. When interviewed, The Colorado Association of Realtors didn’t understand the fee and wouldn’t object to having their clients pay it at home closing. A Denver News Channel 7 consumer reporter indicated if home owners are stupid enough to pay it they only have themselves to blame even if not paying it means no home closing. The fee is deceitfully presented to home sellers on sales documents as levied by the HOA, the amount determined by and pocketed by the HOA, and benefits the HOA by their recovering additional expenses due to the home sale: all not true. The law states the fee is assessed for expenses uniquely incurred by a PM in relation to a home sale else it is illegal. However, homeowners are never provided with an explanation or detailed invoice of transfer fee charges. The fee is well known to supplement PM income, charged “because it can” be, and used to low bid HOA contracts with the expectation of subsequent Transfer Fee income. Fees range from zero to over $1,150 with no relation or justification for work performed. The fee can preclude approval of FHA/HUD loans if part of the home sale transaction. The state agency in charge of real estate transactions (DORA) places no requirements for justifying the fee based on the law or even suggests a detailed receipt be provided the payee at closing thus enabling the fee to continue. Finally, the main justification for charging the fee by some large PM companies is that if home buyers want accurate information upon closing on a home as to any amounts owed the HOA they must pay extra for it. Otherwise, they will simply get the regular monthly billing produced for the home owner that has the same information: what is on the regular billing, inaccurate information! What else need be said to end this abusive fee!
Yes, this fee is a big deal. It is costly, abusive, unjustified, and amounts to an unwarranted tax on HOA home sellers. It should be easy to end/limit through HOA legislative reform but is viewed less important than identifying the State pet which passed without objection. The Colorado HOA Forum will continue to fight to end this fee.