HOA's Not a Favorite Subject of Incoming House Speaker


Incoming Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino brings a very personal perspective  on homeowners associations to the Colorado General Assembly when it convenes  next week.
He’s not a fan.
In fact, when I mentioned HOAs to Ferrandino during his newsroom visit  Thursday, he had this response:
“Don’t get me started!”
Seems the leader of the Colorado House had a rude introduction to life in  covenant-protected communities. You know, neighborhoods with volunteers to  enforce architectural and landscaping rules to maintain community standards and  protect property values.
“When I lived in an HOA, I thought of my HOA as being paid as part of my  mortgage,” Ferrandino said. “Our HOA fees were $25 a month. They didn’t do much  so it wasn’t really a lot of money.
“After living there about six months, I get a notice that there’s a lien on  my property. I didn’t realize I wasn’t paying my HOA.”
The Denver Democrat was echoing a complaint I’ve heard often by folks who  felt ambushed by the very existence of an HOA in their new neighborhood and the  need to pay dues.
Ferrandino was shocked that his HOA board would take such a predatory  approach to a new neighbor.
“The president of my HOA wasn’t smart enough to just walk down the street,  knock on my door and ask for a check,” said Ferrandino, a fiscal analyst who has  a master’s degree in economics. “I could have just written the check for  $75.
“I was good for it.”
Instead, he ended up spending upwards of $500 to cover the court costs and  legal fees associated with satisfying the lien.
“So you can understand my attitude toward HOAs,” Ferrandino said. “I actively  look for areas that do not have HOAs where I will live.”
It will not surprise anyone, then, that Ferrandino welcomes greater  regulation of HOAs, their managers and volunteer boards and expects several  bills to be introduced.
“There needs to be much more accountability and transparency in HOAs,” he  said. “We’re supposed to be a democracy. But sometimes they have dictatorial  authority within communities.”
So I asked how he felt about giving the new HOA Information Officer, Gary  Kujawski, power to investigate and enforce the 2005 Homeowners Bill of Rights as  well as subsequent efforts by lawmakers to rein in HOAs, led by Sen. Morgan  Carroll, D-Aurora.
“I’m open to it,” he said with enthusiasm. “I’d love to see a bill that gives  people in HOAs a way to enforce their rights. So they have someone to complain  to that can hold HOAs boards and managers accountable.
“We can pass all the laws we want, but if people don’t have a way to complain  and enforce those laws, they aren’t worth the paper we printed the laws on.”
This article was provided by Ascent Management Professionals.