A new law intended to protect HOA residents in Colorado may need some revisions or clarifications according to the sponsor, after acharging high fees to send certified letters to HOA residents.
"I think those charges are excessive," said state Rep. Naquetta Ricks (D- Arapahoe County) after a CBS News Colorado report showed one management company charging residents $75 for a certified letter letting them know their account was delinquent and $35 for a certified letter notifying residents of a code violation.
"I consider this punitive," Ricks said, after learning of the charges. A certified letter in Colorado costs about $5.
But a nationwide management company, Rowcal, which manages numerous HOAs in Colorado, has been notifying residents of the costs of the certified letters saying they are an "administrative fee." Rowcal has not responded to numerous inquiries from CBS News Colorado seeking more information about the fees.
Naquetta's 2022 HOA "Accountability and Transparency" law now requires HOAs and their management companies to send certified letters to residents for certain issues to ensure homeowners are clearly aware of potential charges related to their properties. The law did not specify who would pay the cost of the certified letters but Naquetta said she assumed the costs would come out of homeowners regular HOA dues.
Instead, Rowcal is charging those certified mailing costs back to homeowners at rates Naquetta calls unfair, "I think they're using the law as an excuse to charge an additional fee to the homeowners and that was not the intent of the law."
In Littleton, Rowcal recently took over management of the Millbrook Townhomes where Nikki Greer has owned a townhouse for nearly two decades. She received a notice from Rowcal notifying her of how much she would be charged to be informed of a code violation or delinquency.
"I think they are inflated for sure," said Greer. "It's ridiculous. Who gets that money? They say it's for administrative fees but that's pretty expensive for administrative fees. It just bothers me how these management companies come into our communities and act like we rent from them, when in truth, when you are in an HOA you own every inch of land the property is on, not the management company."
Ricks said she and an HOA task force may now have to look at revising or clarifying HB 22-1137 or adding an amendment to deal with the certified letter charges. She says one option is capping how much management companies and HOAs can charge for certified mail.
Greer says the new charges from Rowcal "seem shady."
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