Wednesday, December 16, 2015

HOA Property Manager Implementation: Problematic

Colorado fully implemented its' Community Association Manager (CAM) Licensing Program (aka HOA Property Manager) July 1, 2015.   DORA, the state Agency responsible for implementation and management of the program, had over one year to analyze, plan, design, develop, test, and implement the program.  The scope and complexity of the program are very similar to other regulated professions in the State thus making implementation neither new territory or requiring a host of new on-line applications.  Our organization, Colorado HOA Forum, offers the following status report on this program and it is not good:
  1.  The rules developed by DORA to ensure CAM compliance with the law and bring accountability to the profession are ambiguous and require change.  Specifically, (1) rules need to definitively and comprehensively state CAMs must comply with all State HOA laws and HOAs governing documents; (2) require CAMs to notify HOA Boards if any of their activities are in non-compliance with State HOA laws and/or HOA governing documents and recommend corrective action and if violations continue the CAM must report the event to DORA and the State's HOA Office;
  2. DORA requirements for full disclosure of CAM fees assessed HOAs and home owners are severely lacking and avoid accountability.  In particular, DORA requires nothing more than a one liner in an HOA contract or on home closing documents to represent full disclosure which is simply conceding to CAM industry demands to allow things to remain as is.  DORA full-disclosure requires no detailed explanation of a fee or why it is charged, who determines the amount of the fee and retains it, confirming and explaining that any fee doesn't overlap or duplicate any charge already paid for through HOA dues or by a Title Company ( (such as the HOA Transfer Fee), requires no receipt to the payee identifying charges by line item, and no requirement to justify the authority to charge the fee and a statement how any Transfer Fee is in compliance with State law HB 11-234 that defines and restricts this fee.
  3. The DORA web site complaint application requires changes to make it easier to use:  develop an on-line complaint status process;  assign a tracking number upon completion of complaint for users to inquire/determine the status of their complaint; allow users to mail in documentation that is not conducive to e-mailing; immediate on-screen confirmation when completed with complaint that indicates a successful filing;  the license lookup system doesn't list provisional/temporary licenses and only lists one licensed CAM for the largest of property management companies;  one can't enter an HOA and find the CAM; search results for a CAM license lookup results in display of information from all DORA programs (clutter!); allow for display all HOAs serviced by a licensed CAM; and provide options to classify the type of CAM complaint to make review and justification of complaints easier to complete and review.
  4. The time frame in which CAM complaints are resolved is extremely slow to non-responsive.  There are cases where DORA knows for months a CAM is not licensed and refuses to take action such as a cease and desist order and/or fine.  Closing out/decisions on complaints is very slow and too often complaints seem lost in a bureaucratic maze.
  5. DORA licensing, fees, and educational structure is burdensome to the smallest of CAMs and relief to these small businesses should be implemented similar to relief given small HOAs in registration fees.
  6. The licensing program to date is more of a fees imposition and collection system and sales promotion tool for educational courses for a private firm (Community Association Institute (CAI) than a program for bringing integrity and accountability to profession.
CAM licensing program deficiencies need to be addressed to serve the needs of the public vs catering to the interests of the very industry it is supposed to regulate.

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