By Rachel Brand
Coloradans’ top HOA issues lie buried in the paperwork.
According to data released in January by the Colorado Division of Real Estate, “records and transparency issues” were the most frequent reason people complained about their homeowners associations. The second most frequent complaints centered on boards or management companies failing to follow governing documents.
The state’s Division of Real Estate opened the HOA Information Office and Resource Center last January to track inquiries and complaints about HOAs. Common interest community associations must register annually with the office.
In the first year, the office registered 8,019 HOAs comprising 837,622 units and 2 million Coloradans. As of December 9, 2011, office staff had spoken with more than 2,000 people and received 477 complaints.
Homeowners facing “significant blow-back,” HOA chief says
“Transparency is a big issue,” Colorado HOA Information Officer Aaron Acker told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “Home owners trying to get information are getting significant blow-back from their management companies or HOA boards.”
The complaints ranked as follows:
• 17 percent: records and transparency issues;
• 14 percent: boards/management companies failing to follow governing documents;
• 13 percent: boards/management companies not addressing or listening to homeowner concerns;
• 12 percent: boards/management companies not performing maintenance; and
• 11 percent: homeowner harassment.
El Paso leads the state in complaints
Not surprisingly, El Paso County, Colorado’s most populous county, led the state in complaints.
Perhaps more counterintuitive: most complaints came from low-income mid-rise condominium associations. Few complaints came from single-family home communities.
What happens to these complaints is an open question. The HOA office acts a clearinghouse for information concerning homeowners’, declarants’ and HOAs’ basic rights and duties under the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act. Personnel do not have any regulatory or investigative powers.