A state Senate committee on Thursday approved a bill to set up a pair of task forces that will separately identify problems within homeowners associations and metropolitan districts and offer possible legislative fixes.
In a 5-2 vote, the Senate Local Government and Housing committee moved House Bill 23-1105 to that chamber’s panel on appropriations. It had passed the full House in mid-April.
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In a relatively short hearing Thursday, when fewer than a dozen witnesses offered testimony, advocates for the task forces said while the legislation doesn’t offer immediate solutions to long-standing concerns, it opens an avenue toward them.
“Would you like to live in a place that’s not governed by its citizens?” asked Geoff Withers, a lobbyist for the Colorado League of Women Voters. “That’s one of the problems people in metro districts have — to discover their boards are not made up of people who live there. Shy of the shortcomings of representation, we hope this task force works.”
The bill creates an HOA task force of 13 members, most of them appointed by the Speaker of the House, whose function is to study issues, such as homeowners’ rights. That would include HOAs’ authority to fine homeowners or foreclose on properties within its boundaries. It must issue a final report of its findings and recommendations by early January 2024.
Similarly, the metro district task force will consist of 14 members chosen in the same manner and whose focus will be on issues, such as a district’s taxing authority over district residents. The task force must consider the report of the HOA task force and issue its own final report by early March 2024.
“Perhaps this task force can get to the bottom of why there are so many HOA problems and that we can never get to a solution,” said Ruthie Wexler, an HOA resident. “This isn’t some type of fluke.”
Bill co-sponsor Sen. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, said the number of complaints she’s heard from across the state about both types of homeowner groups requires the task forces.
“We are trying to understand collectively the best approach to the issues they’re challenged with,” Fields said.
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The legislature has been bombarded with a variety of measures the past several years focused on issues that have arisen within HOAs and metro districts, although not all fixes made it through the legislature.
Groups representing HOAs and metro districts have fought hard against substantive changes to how they operate, but have also offered their own solutions that, in some cases, critics have said were weak at best.
Rather than piecemeal any reforms, the task forces are designed to bring a comprehensive approach, co-sponsor Sen. Lisa Cutter, D-Littleton, said.
“These task forces will allow us to pause and reflect about where we want to go,” Cutter said. “They will provide an important opportunity for stakeholders, take stock of our actions to date and work collaboratively to propose practical solutions we can bring forth the next legislative session.”
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