Don’t be misled into thinking your HOA by-laws are enforceable and/or somehow ensure financial disclosure and stability for your HOA. Current Colorado HOA legislation and homeowner by-laws are basically ineffective and unenforceable. The primary legislation is officially known as CCIOA (Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act). This piece of legislation has some very sound principles most of which serve as the guide to developing HOA by-laws. Related legislation such as House Bill 11-1124 addresses conflicts of interest with members of HOA Boards and House Bill 10-1278 creating a State HOA Information Officer/HOA Ombudsman to focus on HOA complaints. Appears the State is on top of HOA issues and ensuring homeowner’s rights?
Now comes the post-purchase blues with these pieces of legislation or as I call it, the illusion of government. I urge everyone living in an HOA to read these pieces of legislation that can be found on the Colorado HOA Forum’s website: www.coloradohoaforum.com While reading CCIOA and HB 11-1124 think in terms of what most legislation should include: content on the issue, enforcement provisions, and defined penalties for violators. You will feel comfortable that the guidelines are comprehensive and provide the HOA’s with good operating principles and procedures. Read much closer, and this point is easily overlooked, there are no enforcement or penalty provisions. This is empty legislation that gives the illusion of substance but not much else. Then there is HB 10-1278 that created a new State government office. Ask yourself what exactly is this new, mostly taxpayer funded office actually chartered to do? I can’t figure it out. It produces reports on consumer complaints and then what? Why has government spent so much time and taxpayer funds creating legislation that is basically unenforceable?
I understand most legislation is not perfect the first time out of the box due to trade-offs and “gives-and-takes” among legislatures. Then there are well-funded lobbying interest. However, how did all three of these pieces of HOA legislation effecting, by conservative estimates, well over 1 million people living in thousands of HOA’s in Colorado avoid inclusion of enforcement and penalty mandates?
These bills allow HOA’s and their Boards and property management companies to pick and choose when, what, and how to implement and obey such legislation (and your by-laws) mostly with impunity and without accountability. To have our legislatures claim victory for homeowners on one hand and then not be willing modify the legislation for enforcement is unacceptable (but not uncommon in the world of politics and lobbying interests).
“CCIOA and other State legislation are truly lessons on empty civics”. If you live in an HOA you are urged to contact your legislature and ask them to pursue modifications to existing legislation that will ensure your by-laws can be a trusted and enforced. The changes advocated by the Colorado HOA Forum are outlined on our web site. They are very simple and don’t in any way interfere with the effective governance of HOA’s or place any Board member in legal jeopardy when operating within the limits of their own by-laws.
The number of Colorado residents living in HOA’s will only grow and so will disputes between homeowners and HOA Boards and management companies. It would only be responsible on the part of our State legislature to re-visit the above legislation and include the missing parts of enforcement and penalties for violators of these well-intended HOA guidelines.