“My HOA stinks!”. I hear that all the time from my friends who own a condominium, townhouse, or another type of property in a planned development such as a gated community, leased land property and property in various subdivisions. Homeowner’s Associations are comprised of the residents of these communities. Yes, if you live in a neighborhood or complex that has homeowner’s dues, you are a member of your Home Owners Association!
Every time you pay your HOA fees, which may be monthly, quarterly or annually, you are paying for the upkeep of common areas, property taxes on the land and common areas (which you own as tenants in common with your neighbors, but we’ll get to that later), and amenities, such as a pool, lawn service, snow removal, trash removal, etc. In short, HOA fees help preserve the quality of life for the community’s residents and assist in protecting property values for all owners.
How to Complain To An HOA
If you don’t like something that your Home Owners Association is doing or spending money on, here are your options:
- Do nothing. Just sit at home and gripe about how your money is being spent. Obviously, I am happy to listen anytime.
- File a legal complaint with the State of Colorado.
- Go to your HOA meetings. Be a voice! You can find out when your HOA meets by calling them or your Realtor to find out the name and contact information.
- Get a seat on your HOA board. It may sound daunting but it’s a great way for you to not only have a voice but an actual hand in changing how your HOA spends your money.
Civic Duty to Your Association
When I was growing up and attending Cherry Hills Village Elementary School, my dad, and now real estate partner, became president of the Cherry Hills Heights Homeowners Association. He said it was his civic duty. “Every homeowner should take a turn volunteering for the HOA”, he would say. “After all, it is those volunteer hours that keep our expenses in control and our services good.”
Thanks to the new implementation on July 1st, 2015 all HOA managers must now be licensed. Why does that matter, you ask? The state of Colorado got over 1,440 complaints related to HOAs last year, of which 548 were directed at community association managers, according to a report from the state’s HOA Information and Resource Center. The most common complaints were that managers did not maintain a community, bad communications with homeowners, and did not follow the governing HOA documents.
While HOAs can be your saving grace when it comes to having your neighbor paint their home a hideous color; they can also be a pain in the butt by imposing rules that require you to shell out lots of cash for repairs that you may not deem necessary. Before purchasing a home, make sure to have your Realtor look into the HOA and during the escrow process, you will have a chance to thoroughly look over all the rules, regulations, upcoming special assessments, and other information regarding the HOA.