Colorado implemented an HOA Property Manager (PM) Licensing Program July 1, 2015. The intent is to provide home owner protections against unscrupulous business practices in the HOA property management industry. DORA, the agency managing the program, nabbed its' first culprit this past week after the program has been functioning for nearly six months. This is some good news for home owners and a flag waving and press release event for DORA. The Colorado HOA Forum, Colorado's largest and most recognized HOA home owner's advocacy organization, was a force to promote licensing and applauds this single event.
As always seems to be the case with DORA and HOAs and HOAs and legal enforcement of HOA related law, all that glitters is not gold. Let us bring the home owner up to date on what has and is really happening with the licensing program: serious backlog in processing complaints; known unlicensed PMs to DORA have gone months without any corrective action; although the recent culprit was prevented from practicing there should have been accompanying fines and recommendations for criminal prosecution; DORAs feedback to complainants (home owners) is slow, inadequate, or non-existent; DORA implemented licensing rules that favor the industry it is supposed to regulate thus making PM responsibilities and accountability more difficult to prosecute; the web site makes filing complaints and looking up licenses less than an easy and accurate experience ignoring suggestions for improvement; the law needs to be changed to provide financial and credentials relief to the smallest of PM's that in some cases the cost to acquire a license is more than a year's income; and requirements for full disclosure of HOA Transfer fees charged home owners by PMs involves an insulting definition of full disclosure, a one liner on a home closing statement, that ensures home owners can't challenge the legitimacy of this abusive and illegal fee that cost home owners nearly $10 million a year.
The licensing program to date has been more a fees collection, business cost imposition, and tool for special interests to sell educational classes than one of consumer protection. The licensing law and DORA rules have been unduly influenced by interest groups representing the PM industry, the Community Association Institute (CAI), with home owner input scant. DORA has had well over a year to implement this program and home owners deserve more. The law can and must work and home owners will benefit. Legislation is needed to rectify deficiencies in the law to make this program provide the consumer protections intended. Our organization will continue to work with legislators to have the voice of home owners and small businesses heard.