Homeowner's Association (HOA) legislative reform has proven to be extremely difficult in Colorado. Whether the recent HOA manager licensing law, HOA debt collection policy, limiting HOA Transfer Fees, or requiring the justification of HOA fees the result has been watered downed or "killed" Bills by interest groups such as the Community Association Institute (CAI) to the detriment of home owners.
Possibly one HOA issue can gain success in our legislature with support from home owner's groups and the CAI: HOA foreclosure reform. The abusive and not uncommon practice of HOA's foreclosing on properties for pennies on the dollar is financially devastating to home owners and financial institutions. Too often HOA's foreclose on a property and questionably, but legally, sell the home to speculators, investors, and sometimes privileged parties for a fraction of the home's value to gain payment of HOA debt. The buyer pays off all liens and obligations encumbered on the property, gains title to the property free and clear, and can then proceed to sell the home for fair market value. No requirement to for the HOA to pursue or accept fair market value offers. No net proceeds on the sale go to the bank to mitigate the loss on the defaulted loan nor will any proceeds be used to pay down the home owner's mortgage balance. Too often these foreclosures turn into absentee landlord rentals to the detriment of the community. All this courtesy of Colorado's HOA "super lien" law.
Nevada has recently addressed this problem with legislation. Basically, when an HOA sells, for example, a $400,000 home for $25,000, the mortgage company will have a 60 day period after the sale to intervene and pay off all previous liens, reimburse the purchaser of the property for the sales price plus identified costs incurred. Home ownership would be reverted back to the mortgage company and placed on the market for sale at or near its' fair market value. The net proceeds from the sale would reduce the outstanding mortgage balanced owed by the home owner, reduce the banks losses, and most likely result in a full-time home owner in the community. Thus the practice and incentive of foreclosing/selling HOA homes for pennies on the dollar is mitigated.
Colorado has an HOA "super lien" law promoting this predatory practice. In general, the law allows HOA's to foreclose on homes ahead of first-mortgage providers, giving HOA assessments “super-lien” status that extinguishes first deeds of trust upon foreclosure. Thus if the HOA lien is not paid and HOA foreclosure is completed the buyer is free and clear of any mortgage obligation. HOA legislative reform similar to the Nevada law would address this abusive practice. The Colorado HOA Forum, www.coloradohoaforum.com, will be asking our legislators to sponsor a Bill similar to the Nevada legislation to mitigate this abusive and destructive foreclosure practice