Homeowners Associations are common in many areas of Colorado, and they often provide unique benefits to homeowners and communities. However, HOAs may also be frequent causes of strife, especially when homeowners feel certain rules or restrictions infringe upon their rights. While many disputes between property owners and HOA organizations end up in court, mediation may be a more efficient and satisfactory way to resolve issues.
The Denver Post explains that the relationship between HOA rules, state laws and property rights is complicated. According to the report, nearly two-thirds of the Colorado population lives under HOA governance. In fact, there are almost 8,000 registered HOAs in Colorado. There are state laws related to HOA governance, but many homeowners do not have a good understanding of how HOA enforcement works. There are also many cases where HOA regulations are not well-defined or easily accessible, so homeowners assume that the HOA governing body cannot or will not enforce them.
The Denver Post article indicates that many HOA disputes end up in the court system. While a court case will likely provide a resolution for the dispute, it may require a large investment of time and money from both the homeowner and the HOA board. In most cases, HOAs end up winning court battles, often because homeowners do not have the resources to defend legitimate claims. Mediation is an alternative that may be a better solution to HOA issues.
Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies provides many resources and links to mediation services for HOA members. These alternative dispute resolution services include government agencies and private organizations. The Colorado DORA provides these links to protect consumers and help both property owners and HOAs. Mediation may provide a way for homeowners and HOA boards to settle disagreements without committing extensive resources to court cases.