Protecting Homeowners

(April 9) – Two bills that make reforms to Colorado’s laws dealing with homeowner associations passed the Business, Labor & Economic & Workforce Development Committee today.

HB13-1276, sponsored by Rep. Angela Williams (D-Denver), passed the committee by a vote of 7 to 3 and requires HOAs to establish debt collection policies modeled after the Colorado Fair Debt Practices Act. Under this act, HOAs will be required to provide clear information about these special assessments and offer payment plans to struggling homeowners.

“HOAs shouldn’t be able to immediately place a lien or foreclose on a home against homeowners who have been struggling in this economy,” Rep. Williams said. “This bill protects homeowners while allowing a reasonable procedure for HOAs when members don’t pay their fees.”

HOAs will not be allowed to file a lien until a homeowner has been given six months to pay off the special assessment, except when the HOA’s executive board has formally approved a foreclosure action. Homeowners will be required to stay current on regular assessments as they pay off their arrears.

HB13-1134, sponsored by Rep. Su Ryden (D-Aurora), passed the committee by a vote of 6 to 4 and improves upon the HOA Information Resource Center. Under this bill, the HOA Center will act as a hub of information by compiling a database of HOAs, coordinating reference materials regarding rights and responsibilities of HOAs and unit owners, monitoring law changes relating to HOAs, and posting relevant information on their web site. All HOAs will be required to register with the center and include more detailed contact information for the HOA.

“I believe this is really and truly a nonpartisan issue,” Rep. Ryden told the committee.

The bill also directs the Division of Real Estate to conduct a study regarding the functions and duties of HOA offices in other states, such as investigation and resolution of complaints and efforts to mediate disputes.

“The goal is to look at what other states are doing and come up with a Colorado solution for dealing with HOA complaints and conflict resolution with homeowners,” Rep. Ryden said. “It is important for homeowners that HOAs have more transparency and more information available to them.”

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