Tuesday, January 13, 2015

HOA Property Manager Licensing: Fees Transparency is a License to Abuse

The Community Association Institute (CAI), HOA lawyers, and large property management companies know one thing is certain: laws on transparency and disclosure will not inhibit abusive practices in the HOA property management industry.  In 2014 these groups combined their legislative, political, and financial efforts to kill a Bill (HB 14-1254) that would have ended or limited the dollar amount of the illegal and unjustified HOA home sale transfer fee.  They legislatively completed this by changing the Bill to address the transfer fee as a "disclosure item" in the upcoming property manager licensing law.  This was completed to avoid any direct oversight, scrutiny, or rules to ensure no change took affect.  Even the idea of real disclosure and accountability on justifying the legality/use of the transfer fee were so feared in the watered down Bill that ALL definitive language was removed:  no requirements to disclose why the fee was charged, who determined the amount and pocketed the fee, who benefited from the fee, what work was performed that was extraordinary/unique due to the sale of a home that was not already paid for by HOA dues, that the HOA did not mandate the fee and it was neither a mandatory or legal requirement, and that if not paid could hold up the sale of a home.  The modified Bill also avoided stating that that any excessive and unjustified fee COULD NOT be challenged by the home seller/buyer and if found to be inappropriate by the State property manager licensing authority COULD NOT be directed for refund or reduced in amount .  Thus the crafted disclosure Bill had nothing to do with justifying the fee or reining in abuse but only to ensure its' unabated continuance.

So the lesson in Disclosure and Transparency Legislation 101: A Bill portrayed to rein in abuse and misuse through disclosure will present the illusion of change, enforcement and consumer protection but change nothing with the most significant impact being that the abused be informed (and only minimally) of how they are to be abused.

The Colorado HOA Forum will continue its' efforts to educate the public and legislators on HOA issues and to legislatively end/limit the HOA Transfer Fee to save Coloradans millions each year.

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