Homeowners, Now Is Your Chance!

Do you have a problem with your HOA?
For decades, Coloradans had nowhere to turn if their HOA did something wrong.
But soon—good news!—a series of meetings will allow everyone affected by HOAs to say what’s wrong and suggest how to fix it.

You haven’t heard of these meetings?
You’re not alone.

I don’t know one homeowner who received the email announcing meeting dates, and providing a link to the HOA Survey, which Governor Jared Polis says he’ll take very seriously. Here is all that info below.

Polis Surprise
In order to attend “Community Association Stakeholder Meetings”—in DORA offices, 1560 Broadway on August 14 (9-11 am); August 29 (1-3 pm) ; September 12 (9-11 am) and October 9 (9-11 am)—you must register online. Here is the link. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSewgRXVhojzKRtDRmq433-Pf9GZ1ji9b0Mw1lGeTjDHjo6WVg/viewform
Here is the Survey. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSes-GNGswoF2NH3EauvOv2sqcSxqhOSAEefnKK7J4x5mBfMqw/viewform

You can also give input by emailing: dora_division_realestate@state.co.us

How It Started
On May 31, Polis vetoed a bill everyone “knew” would pass. HB 1212 revived licensing for property managers but, like all others before, the bill first had to go through CAI (Community Association Institute), the lobby controlling the HOA Industry—and emerged denuded, stripped of all regulations. That made no sense to Polis, who knew “consumer protections” were needed. He issued an executive order: the state would now take a long, hard look at HOAs.

Consumers R Us
HOAs began with good intentions. People happily paid dues to keep their neighborhoods attractive and safe. Owners liked how democratically elected neighbors made all decisions. Cities liked how HOAs funded their own grounds and roads and saved them money.

So HOAs were given more autonomy, and businesses saw creative profit avenues in this wild west world. Nothing could stop management companies from charging higher fees and more elaborate fines. Nothing could stop human nature, either. People who’d previously lacked power now reveled in the mitigated power found on HOA boards, often using it to punish a neighbors they’d fought with or creating rules to benefit themselves.

It took a while—it’s still taking a while—for homeowners to realize the pickle they’re in.

Solutions
The reason HOAs have few consumer protections is: CAI wants it that way. State laws are on the books, but CAI has successfully arranged it so ordinary people can’t get those laws enforced.

What would really help is something called Alternate Dispute Resolution, a process where volunteer professionals investigate abuses and resolve conflicts. CAI killed that option a few times in the past, though it would save the state lots of money—and allow homeowners to feel more safe.

It is hard to feel safe when your home can be taken.

If an owner is behind in their dues, the HOA can place a lien on the home and levy any size fine. If an owner disputes a fine, that also effects a lien. Another way is the HOA decides on expensive “improvements” and assesses owners to the tune of 30K Most owners can’t do that, so here comes a lien—and an eviction. Then investors who buy cheap and flip.

Seniors on fixed incomes are particularly at risk.

The Time is Now
The Survey’s first pages contain legalistic, confusing questions. Keep going! Important questions start on p.4.

I believe Governor Polis wants Colorado to be the first to change this insanely unfair HOA situation.  I believe we have to raise our voices, loud. I urge all homeowners to take part in this process, whatever way you can.


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