Rules tighten on homeowner groups



Here’s a listing of some of the new laws going into effect elsewhere in the nation on Tuesday.

• Illinois: People can’t possess, sell or distribute shark fins.

• Kentucky: People can’t release feral hogs into the wild.

• Maryland: Same-sex couples can marry, making it the ninth state to do so (Maine’s gay marriage law went into effect today).

• California: Certain car washes are require to recycle at least 60 percent of the water they use.

• Florida: Swamp buggies qualify as motor vehicles.

• Oregon: Employers cannot advertise job vacancies if they won’t consider applicants who are currently unemployed.

• Illinois: Sex offenders are banned from distributing Halloween candy and playing Santa or the Easter Bunny.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Homeowners associations in the Grand Valley and elsewhere in Colorado are going to have to do a lot more recordkeeping starting in 2013.

One of a handful of new laws going into effect Tuesday is a bill approved by Colorado lawmakers during the 2012 session that requires HOAs across the state to retain such documents as meeting minutes, records of claims for construction defects among their members, all written communications and a record of votes cast by HOA board members.

In short, nearly all of the same records required of other governments in the state, from counties to special districts, will be required of HOAs.

And like state and local governments, the HOAs will be required to make those documents available to any homeowner in their association who requests it, but the homeowner no longer has to state a “proper purpose” for wanting to see the documents.

The law requires the records to be maintained for as little as one year for such things as voting records to as many as seven years for tax returns.

The associations, however, are allowed to withhold from public view such things as communications with legal counsel and the names, addresses and other personal information of their homeowners.

The new law doesn’t impact fees HOAs can charge. It does allow them to charge to make copies of the documents and assess any labor charge in gathering that information. Those fees, however, cannot exceed the cost of producing those records.

Other laws going into effect Tuesday include making ballot question titles more clear and requiring paid solicitors to disclose when they are asking for donations to non-tax-deductible charities.


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