Home Buying in Denver>Question Details

Rachel Damma…,  in Westminster, CO

Can a HOA double monthly fees?

Asked by Rachel Dammann, Westminster, CO Wed Aug 31, 2011

Some friends built a custom penthouse and combined two units to make the largest unit in the area. After they bought it, the HOA voted to change how dues were determined and decided to charge fees based by square feet. My friend's unit is two or three times larger than everyone else in the subdivision and now their HOA fees are over $1000 per month. Do they have any chance to fight the HOA?

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As an agent I don't understand why you are getting involved in HOA politics, but the answer to the question is yes they can if they have a vote and it is majority. Secondly most HOA fees are set by square foot or by unit size, this is common! They haven't a hope of getting a variance on this unit.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 7, 2011
Rachel, I think it's very common that HOA fees are charged based on the square footage of the unit. Sorry, not good for your friends, but I agree with everyone here, that the only solution would be to fight it through legal channels. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 7, 2011
A "best practices" guidline for any Realtor is to not give legal advice! That does not mean we cannot refer a good Real Estate Attorney to answer your question.

I feel very comfortable referring Greg Parham at - (720) 838-2188 or gregparham@mac.com . He is a very good Real Estate Attorney and you do not have to be a Realtor or an attorney to understand him!

He also is a principal with Canyon Title here in the Denver Metro Area, he lives and breather Real Estate!

Good Luck!

Tim Higgins
Walker Realty Group, LLC
4380 S Syracuse St #400
Denver, CO 80237
303-887-3858
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 31, 2011
Rachel,

We have all seen the most outrageous things done by HOA boards. Some legally and according to the CIC documentsw and sometimes at their own whim. I would check the docs first and then go over this with a good Real Estate attorney to see what your options are. Best of success to your friends.

Robert McGuire
Your Castle Real Estate
http://www.rmcguire.yourcastle.org
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 31, 2011
Rachel it depends on how teh bylaws are written and what it takes to change them. In most cases it has to be approved by 2/3 of owners not just the board... Best bet is to read the condo docs
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 31, 2011
Check the HOA's bylaws. What's the procedure to change the method of dues assessment?

Then: Whatever those procedures are, did the HOA follow them in making the change?

If yes, your friends are probably out of luck. If no, then they may well have a legal leg to stand on. As noted below, it'll probably take a lawyer to get the HOA to pay attention.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 31, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
MVP'08
Contact
A great deal does depend on the CIC docs, but if they do go the litigation rout it's going to put a lot of pressure on the HOA to resolve because of financing issues if anyone tries to sell. I've seen 2 HOAs cave in to make the matter go away, and one down is still fighting with things causing no sales for nearly 1.5 years now in their development. Have your friends get ahold of a real estate attorney to see what is in their best interest. Sometimes board members of an HOA get a sort of "God" complex, and no one but attorneys and/or the courts can get through to them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 31, 2011
I agree with what has been said so far, the CIC documents say what the HOA can and can not do. However, if a hoa is involved in any type of litigation then it is impossible to get a loan on a property within that HOA (which means only cash buyers). If you are seriously wanting to fight this, the threat of litigation might be enough to get them to negotiate, or at least pay attention to you. I work with first time homebuyers in englewood, aurora, lakewood, littleton, and denver so I have a lot of experience in dealing with HOA's feel free to email me if you want to discuss this further.

Jim Groskopf
Your Castle Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 31, 2011
Of course they have a chance, a very small chance.
Usually it boils down to what is in the CCR's. Getting those changed will take an act of God. Also, a real estate attorney should be involved usually costing a lot of money. Your friends have potentially decreased the value of their property with the higher HOA fees compared to other units. From that standpoint, it might be worth fighting the HOA to get the fees reduced. When they decide to sell in the future, I promise this will be a major objection from a buyer.
Web Reference: http://www.chrismerman.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 31, 2011
My husband served on the board of an HOA for two years and he would tell you the same thing that's been advised here. It's difficult to get an HOA to pay you much attention on your own. Have an attorney write a letter to the board asking that they be grandfathered on the old system.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 31, 2011
I would suggest having them speak with an attorney. HOAs are very difficult to fight on your own.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 31, 2011
Yes. Regular dues are voted on by the owners. An assessment can sometimes be applied by an officer though.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 31, 2011
Rachel;
I think I'm in the Guiness Book of World Records as the Agent most un-infatuated with HOA's.
It is a record I have earned the hard way.

I would venture that they didn't research their CCR's before the remodeling.
I would venture that this is a matter for an Attorney.
I would venture that you should get a very quick listing out of this.

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 31, 2011
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