Condo provisions start this month
December 22, 2005
SUMMIT COUNTY – A new law that took effect Jan. 1 will have a significant impact for condo owners and homeowners associations in Summit County, making it easier for members to gain access to an association’s financial information.The new disclosure requirements will be especially useful for people buying property, said Pam Boyd, chair of the Summit Association of Realtors. “I think, personally, it’s an excellent idea to make HOAs more transparent and responsible to property owners,” Boyd said, citing several examples of how the new law could benefit property owners.By making it easier to review HOA records, prospective buyers might discover that an association is planning a major assessment or planning to raise dues, Boyd explained. Boyd said real estate brokers encourage buyers to review association documents in any case. The new law makes it easier to get that information.Senate Bill 100 is essentially an amendment to the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA), governing condo associations and homeowners associations in subdivisions.”The HOAs hate the bill,” said State Rep. Gary Lindstrom, who voted in favor of the measure. The Breckenridge Democrat said the bill was passed in response to an outcry over “arbitrary and capricious” rules adopted by HOAs in questionable circumstances.According to Lindstrom, some associations reportedly collected money from members “without any accounting of where the money was going.” In other cases, associations were basically run by one or two people who would hold meetings and assess fees without a vote of its members, Lindstrom said. Other associations arbitrarily passed rules that prohibited property owners from Xeriscaping their lots or from flying American flags.The new provisions will make associations much more accountable to their members, Lindstrom said.In fact, the measure could help save water statewide by granting property owners broad rights to use low-water landscaping on their deeded property, and also enables homeowners to reduce fire risks by removing vegetation and replacing flammable roofing materials – both practices that were in some cases previously restricted by association rules.”It means an HOA can’t require you to plant bluegrass,” said local Realtor Russ Camp, vice president of the Soda Creek Homeowners Association.Camp said he thought the new law would have more of an impact on the Front Range than in Summit County. He said the new provisions also mean an HOA can’t prohibit a property owner from parking a work-related vehicle in a driveway, a rule used by some associations to enforce aesthetic values.The law requires associations to be audited annually by an independent Certified Public Accountant or by another individual selected by the board at least every other year. An audit is required if requested by one-third of the ownership and if the association has more than $250,000 in annual revenue.Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at email@example.com.