More HOA Q & A From Your Boulder Realtor

Tom Hindman published his article HOA Answer Man on a couple of interesting topics such as can an HOA make the swimming pool ‘adults only’; what to do about an HOA spending money on Christmas or other holidays that some people may not participate in and where in the heck do you park the RV in the winter. This Boulder Realtor thinks it’s worth reviewing…

A reprint of his Q & A article follows and we have some other timely or interesting posts on blowing out sprinklers, fall landscaping tips , advice from The Donald .

Living in a homeowner or condominium association has become the norm for ever growing number of homeowner. Relationships between community association and owners can become strained, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Tom Hindman, a leading Colorado authority on HOA law, provides both legal and common sense solution to the many and sometimes contentious issues that arise from community association living. Hindman’s answers to questions follow.
Q: I’m sick and tired of children monopolizing our neighborhood pool. I moved to this community to be retired and at peace. I don’t want other people’s children splashing and jumping into the pool when I’m trying to nap in the sun. May my board of directors pass a rule stipulating that the pool is for “adult use only”?
A: No. Under the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and similar Colorado statures, any rules that discriminate against children or in some manner single them out for special treatment are unenforceable. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has become particularly hard, especially in the last couple of years, on associations that discriminate against children. “Adult only” pool hours, rules prohibiting children from playing ball or skateboarding and similar rules are no longer legal. Rules requiring that “children under 18 years of age be accompanied by an adult” are also no longer valid.
Q: My board of directors spends thousands of dollars every year to fund social committee events. And this year they spent thousands more on Christmas light, which were not included in the budget. Some of us don’t celebrate Christmas! Is there a way that we homeowners can stop the board from spending HOA funds in this way?
A: It depends upon whether your association’s governing documents authorize these expenditures. If they do not authorize paying for social events and Christmas decorations, the homeowners in your association have the right under the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA) to file a lawsuit against the board. This lawsuit would seek a court order direction the board to cease making such unauthorized expenditures. (However, before you sue, I strongly recommend you contact the board directly or hire an attorney to try to resolve the problem short of court action. A lawsuit should be a “last resort” action.) If your association’s governing documents do authorize such expenditures, the authority to make such decisions rests with the board, which was elected by the homeowners. Your only recourse would be to use the democratic process to elect new board members who believe the association’s money should not be spent in this manner.
Q: I have an RV and I want to park it in my driveway. The country ordinances say I can, but my HOA won’t let me and is threatening to sue. Who’s right, the country or my HOA?

A: We’re talking apples and oranges. They are both right. Only the HOA, not the county, can enforce its covenants and rules, even if they are more restrictive than the country ordinance. In turn, only the county can enforce its ordinances. HOA covenants and rules restrictions parking activities can be, and often are, stricter than local ordinances. This gives greater protection to owners and provides additional enforce3ment mechanisms for activities the community dislikes or finds offensive. Therefore, your association can enforce its parking restrictions. You’d better find a new place to park that RV.
Q: My association’s board of directors often uses e-mail to communicate with each other in between board meetings and they refuse to copy homeowners on the distribution. Is this legal?
A: Yes, there is no Colorado law that prohibits communications in any form between board members outside of a formal meeting. Only board meetings by law must be open to attendance by owners. Therefore, since communications informally by e-mail is not a “board meeting,” owner inclusion is not required. Although boards have no statutory obligation to include owners on the distribution list, including interested owners on the distribution list, including interested owners reinforces trust and good relations between board members and owners.

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