All too often, Homeowner Associations (HOAs) can possess far too much power and can destroy homeowners and families all too easily. HOAs often have a huge amount of power to regulate almost every aspect of your home and your life. Unfortunately, where there is power, there can be abuse.
When moving into a neighborhood that is controlled by an HOA, you’ll receive a Declarations of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (DCCRs or CC&Rs) package. These documents govern what an owner may or may not, or must do with respect to the real estate/property they are buying. When you close on your property, you will be signing a paper that says you have read the Covenants, understand and will abide by them, and if you violate any of these Covenants, you agree to a fine, forced compliance or have a lawsuit brought against you. You do not have the option to reject it.
HOAs have evolved over time. In the mid-1900s, they were racially motivated. In the 1960’s the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) authorized mortgage insurance exclusively for communities governed by an HOA encouraging associations to be formed. In the 1970s, developments used less land and increased density by clustering homes around ‘common areas’ that had to be governed. In the late 1970s, the U.S. Clean Water act required new real estate developments to detain storm water. Retention areas had to be built. HOAs had to maintain the retention areas after the development sold out.
Today, HOAs have evolved with a myriad of rules and regulations. HOAs can appoint corporate officers and create committees to watchdog house color, pools, landscape, decorations, driveways and so on It’s easy to be at the mercy of a nasty neighbor reporting you for the smallest misdeed or an overzealous person ‘on the hunt’, patrolling the neighborhood, looking for infractions.
If you fall behind in HOA dues, assessments or penalties, your HOA can place a lien against your property, which could lead to foreclosure. We are seeing more and more foreclosures brought against the homeowner by HOAs.
The horror stories are just that – horrific. Recently, a homeowner was slapped with two $25.00 fines for not removing the grass from the cracks in her driveway. The homeowner paid the fines, but began getting late fees. As they argued, the fees quickly grew until they were $1,500. The HOA placed a lien on the home and threatened foreclosure.
Another homeowner was slapped with a $400.00 fine for parking an ‘oversized’ van in his driveway. He explained the van was for his handicapped wife and gave the HOA documents proving his wife’s need for having the van. The HOA is suing him.
One of the worse cases of HOA abuse was in Florida. A father went through a devastating event in which a plane crashed into his home, killing his wife and infant son. His HOA had no sympathy, slapping him with a large fine for not having the shingles on his home match after they were quickly repaired.
In Colorado, HOAs have backed a lot of legislative laws and reforms, as evidenced by the expansion of CCIOA. Homeowners in Colorado are often found fighting their HOAs over vague and, sometimes, conflicting declarations. Fighting HOA covenant enforcement is often in the homeowner’s best interest, since fines and fees can escalate quickly.
We are experienced in fighting HOAs and protecting the interests of our clients. If you find your HOA is out of control, don’t fight this alone. Call us to discuss your legal options, we have many strategies and defenses to fight HOAs.
Keith A. Gantenbein, Jr. is a licensed, Colorado Real Estate attorney located in Denver and servicing all of Colorado. His real estate law practice includes foreclosure defense, foreclosure prevention, foreclosure assistance, HOA Defense, defense against HOA covenant enforcement, homeowner defense against CCIOA, HOA litigation, HOA liens, and HOA judicial foreclosures. He also handles loan modifications, short sales, residential real estate closings, bankruptcies, mortgage negotiations, lender liability, bank litigation, civil litigation, evictions, contracts and landlord/tenant. If you are facing a lawsuit or claim against your homeowners’ association, think you will be facing foreclosure, or are in the foreclosure process, or have had a wrongful foreclosure, contact Keith Gantenbein at (303) 618-2122 for a one-hour consultation where he will discuss your situation and go over all your options with you.
Gantenbein Law Firm’s Denver foreclosure defense attorney practice includes Colorado foreclosure help, foreclosure options in Denver, foreclosure help Denver, Colorado foreclosure assistance, Colorado Rule 120 Hearings, short sales, loan modifications, foreclosure help in Colorado, and all other foreclosure defense alternatives.
Please visit our website for more information: www.gantenbeinlawfirm.com
Gantenbein Law Firm’s Denver tax attorney also specializes in Colorado tax law. Please visit our Denver tax attorney website.