Seminars planned to help HOAs deal with new state laws
The new state laws on common-interest communities have some homeowners association officials on the Western Slope a bit confused, so a couple of experts are coming to town to help.
On Saturday, three Denver attorneys who specialize in laws on homeowners associations, or HOAs, are offering a couple of free seminars on the subject, with a particular focus on laws approved by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Colorado Legislature earlier this year.
First, Denver lawyer David Firmin will be at the Clarion Inn, 755 Horizon Drive, to provide a general overview of the new laws, from licensing requirements for HOA managers to registering HOAs themselves.
The second event, to be Nov. 19 at the Glenwood Springs Community Center, will feature Denver attorneys David Graf and Wes Wollenweber talking specifically about new debt-collection rules and other banking and insurance issues.
“All of these new laws are just confusing the heck out of people,” said Barbara Lucks, owner of a Fruita-based homeowner association consulting firm, Your HOA Team. “This is not only confusing them, but regulatory compliance appears to be requiring an awful lot of resources.”
The new laws require paid HOA managers to be licensed by the state. They also must:
■ Be at least 18 years of age and have a high school degree or its equivalent;
■ Have a professional community management credential;
■ Maintain professional malpractice insurance; and
■ Pass a fingerprint-based criminal history background check.
Paid managers can be audited by the Colorado Division of Real Estate when there are complaints and can face fines of up to $2,500 for violating provisions of the law.
The HOAs themselves also must register with the state regardless of their size, eliminating the previous exemption for smaller organizations.
One other law that went into effect this year bars HOAs from prohibiting homeowners from xeriscaping or using other drought-tolerant landscaping. Another prohibits HOAs from referring homeowners’ accounts to a collection agency or attorney without first giving them a chance to pay.
That law requires HOAs to offer homeowners a one-time opportunity to pay an overdue bill over a six-month period, and list legal ramifications such as foreclosure on property.
Lucks said those laws and other tax issues can complicate the operation of HOAs.
“We’ve got a lot of HOAs that are very small, like between 20 and 75 people with budgets that may not exceed $5,000 or $6,000 a year,” Lucks said. “When a new law comes into place that may require document revisions for the most part are best done by an attorney, that really becomes a tremendous burden.”