BILLS TAKING AIM AT HOAS MOVING THROUGH ASSEMBLY

Published: March 21, 2013, 12:01 pm, by Bill Vogrin

 

Ryden Carroll X

While gun control debate has dominated the Colorado General Assembly, work is underway on a few bills dealing with  homeowners associations.

At the beginning of the 2013 session, legislative leaders talked about plans to rein in rogue HOA boards. A key proposal, by Sen. Morgan Carroll and Rep. Su Ryden, both Aurora Democrats, called for an overhaul of the HOA Information Office and Resource Center.

Carroll and Ryden want to transform it from a data-collection bureau into a watchdog agency with authority to investigate HOAs and enforce state laws regulating the boards.

They want to upgrade the role of HOA Information Officer Gary Kujawski to make him into what I call an HOA czar charged with investigating alleged HOA infractions and abuse.

They introduced their plan as House Bill 1134 but the proposal has not come up for debate. It sits in a House committee as its sponsors work to gather support.

“Some changes are being considered to figure out how we can get the enforcement we want within a budget we can afford,” Carroll said Tuesday.

Gary Kujawski

Colorado HOA Information Officer Gary Kujawski

While she may be frustrated at the slow pace of the bill, Carroll said she is encouraged that Kujawski is touring the state, holding a series of town hall meetings to hear for himself the problems being reported by many of the 2 million Coloradans living in 8,300-plus HOAs statewide.

In fact, Kujawski will visit Colorado Springs on Saturday to talk to area HOA residents about their experiences. (There are no remaining seats available for the event but I’ll report on it in Monday’s Side Streets.)

“He’s doing a listening tour to understand the scope of the problems,” Carroll said. “By going on the road and hearing the problems and seeing they are real, he’ll be able to come back and explain the depth of the need for enforcement power. It’s crazy not to be able to do anything about all these problems.”

An unexpected HOA reform bill making progress in the Legislature deals with electric cars and the rights of HOA residents to install charging stations in their condominium complexes.

The proposal, Senate Bill 126, would make it illegal for an HOA board or any landlord to block installation of a charging station at a tenant’s expense. Carroll said the bill was a response to a problem at a Denver condo complex.

Under SB 183, HOAs would not be able to fine homeowners whose lawns die because they observe watering restrictions, which are anticipated this summer amid the current drought.

It also overrides any covenants that demand water-guzzling turf lawns and ban xeriscape  landscaping methods featuring drought-tolerant plants.

The bill has passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House.

Colorado Statehouse Photo================