Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Colorado HOA Property Manager Licensing: make it effective and not burdensome

The HOA Property Manager Licensing Law HB 15-1343 has now been fully implemented and some obvious weaknesses and flaws exist that should be addressed.  Two issues stand out that need attention: changes to the law and DORA's administration of the law.  This posting addresses changes to the law.
Community Association Manager (CAM aks HOA Property Manager) law:
The law requires small HOA CAMs to pay and complete the same requirements as mega-CAMs.  This has caused CAMs serving small HOAs (in particular in rural communities) to end their services: the financial burden was too much.  Relief should provided in the law, similar to small HOA registration requirements, to reduce educational and other fees requirements but NOT eliminate them for those CAMs serving less than a total of 25 units.
This law, similar to HB 14-1254, Disclosure of Fees, was supposed to require full disclosure of any fees assessed and/or collected by a CAM (from the HOA or home owner).  DORA has allowed this to be defined as a one-liner in a contract or on home closing documents with no detail, no receipt to the home owner, no justification of the fee, and no mention that the CAM, not the HOA, determines the amount of the fee and retains it.  Disclosure is particularly important when CAMs assess HOA Transfer Fees that average $350 on the sale of an HOA home and provide no legal basis, receipt, or work justification.  Disclosure must be not only required in detail but clearly defined what detailed disclosure means.  Any fee assessed home owners, in particular the Transfer Fee, must be in compliance with State law SB 11-234 that authorizes and limits this fee. Note this law can't limit the amount of, refund, or adjust a fee but it is a first step in reining in this abusive fee.
The CAM law needs to be more clearly defined and strengthened to include requirements that CAMs must comply with State laws and the HOAs own governing documents.  DORA has refused to include explicit rules and the law should be updated to clearly include:
        CAMs must comply with all State HOA laws and with the governing documents of the HOA they serve and knowingly violating or being aware of such violations is subject to fines and/or revocation of license.
       If a CAM is aware of an HOA Board being in non-compliance with State HOA law or their own governing documents they must immediately advise the Board and their legal representation of such non-compliance and suggested corrective action;  if the corrective is not taken the CAM must apprise both Board and the HOA's legal representation in writing of such violation and recommended corrective action;  if corrective action is not taken within seven days after CAM notification, the CAM will notify DORA and the HOA's legal representation.

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