Colorado HOA Laws

Colorado HOA Laws

Last Updated: June 15, 2023 by Corrin Swintosky

In Colorado, many planned communities are managed by a homeowners association (HOA). The laws governing HOAs in Colorado are set forth by various local and state regulations, as well as by each individual HOA’s governing documents.

Who Regulates HOAs in Colorado?

In Colorado, HOAs are regulated by the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act found in Title 38 Article 33.3. This act governs the formation, management, and powers of housing developments where units are individually owned with common areas and facilities.

HOAs traditionally have documents that regulate themselves. Every HOA is different, however, the governing documents typically include: Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restriction, and other rules.

HOAs in Colorado may be subject to applicable federal laws such as:

HOAs may be subject to certain state laws such as:

How to Find HOA Regulations in Colorado

HOA governing documents are not public records in Colorado. It is up to the HOA whether they will allow non-members to view or inspect its governing documents. Potential purchasers of a property in the HOA may be able to obtain the governing documents through their real estate agent or broker.

A declaration and other supporting documents about the structure of the HOA property are required to be recorded in every county where the HOA holds the property. To obtain these documents, visit the local county clerk’s office.

HOA Powers in Colorado

In Colorado, an HOA has the power to:

  • Regulate common areas
  • Collect charges to maintain and operate the common areas
  • Levy reasonable fines

Also, HOA governing documents can grant more powers such as restrictions on exterior paint colors, fencing, membership, and parking requirements.

Can an HOA Impose Fines on a Homeowner in Colorado?

In Colorado, an HOA can impose fines on a homeowner for the operation of common assessments, charges for late payment of common assessments, and violations of any rules or regulations. Before an HOA can impose fines, the homeowner must be given proper notice and an opportunity to be heard.

An HOA cannot fine a homeowner for (or generally prohibit) any of the following:

  • Failure to water vegetation or landscape according to the governing documents when restrictions from the local water entity are in place
  • Displaying a flag that does not show commercial messages on the homeowner’s property
  • Installing flagpoles on the homeowner’s property
  • Displaying religious imagery on the entry door or entry door frame
  • Removing trees, bushes, or other types of plants for fire mitigation purposes
  • Modifying the homeowner’s unit as necessary to accommodate a person with a disability
  • Using a rain barrel to collect rain on the roof of the property
  • Operating a family child care home
  • Installing an energy efficient measure
  • Installing electric vehicle charging stations
  • Installing satellite dishes and antennas

Reasonable rules and regulations about the placement, manner, and display of any of the items listed above may be included in the HOAs governing documents.

Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in Colorado?

In Colorado, an HOA can foreclose on a home after providing necessary steps and options to the homeowner on how to pay a lien that resulted from late payment of assessments.

Before taking legal action, the HOA must first send a notice of deficiency to the homeowner. Rather than imposing daily fines, the HOA has to provide the homeowner with two 30-day periods to remedy the violation.

Additionally, the HOA is required to offer the homeowner a payment plan in monthly installments that are $25 or greater. If the homeowner accepts the offer and is late or fails to make 3 or more payments, the HOA can file a claim in small claims court.

An HOA can evict a homeowner and tenants for unpaid common assessments. This process is similar to placing a lien on the property for unpaid fees that can result in foreclosure.

Can an HOA Enter a Homeowner’s Property in Colorado?

In Colorado, there is no provision in the law that allows an HOA to enter a homeowner’s property. However, most governing documents contain a provision allowing an HOA to enter the homeowner’s house as reasonably necessary to maintain the units, common elements, or shared utilities.

Units are solely used by the property owners but have certain spaces that require maintenance by the HOA, such as balconies. Common elements are the shared spaces in and around the house that are collectively owned by the HOA, such as a pool. Shared utilities may include water or sewage that are provided directly through the HOA.

Before entering a property, except in the case of an emergency, an HOA should give prior notice to the homeowner. Typically, an HOA will give 1-2 weeks’ notice, but notice requirements are determined by the governing documents.

Where Do Homeowners File Complaints Against Their HOA in Colorado?

The appropriate agency to file a complaint against an HOA depends on the type of complaint.

If a homeowner feels they are a victim of housing discrimination, they can file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, the U.S. Department of Urban Housing, or file a private lawsuit in Colorado state or federal court.

For complaints concerning HOA fees, a homeowner can file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, homeowners may also file in state or federal court within one year of the violation date.

A homeowner can bring all other complaints to state court in the appropriate jurisdiction by filing a claim.

Joining and Leaving an HOA in Colorado

In Colorado, there are two types of HOAs that govern joining and leaving clauses. Documents explaining the HOA and its membership rules should be presented at the closing for a new owner’s home purchase.

  • Mandatory HOAs. When a person buys a home, they automatically become a member required to abide by any HOA rules listed in the governing documents. This usually includes that a homeowner is not able to leave the HOA freely.
  • Voluntary HOAs. When a person buys a home, membership is a choice for each homeowner. If they choose to become a member, they may leave at any time by stopping their payments with the HOA.

To leave a mandatory HOA, a homeowner can sell their house or try to petition the HOA to have their home removed. However, there is no guarantee the petition will be granted.

How to Dissolve an HOA

The dissolution process of an HOA in Colorado may be found in the HOA’s governing documents. If it is not, members of the HOA need to come to a majority vote of at least 67% in favor of dissolution.

If the HOA members secure a majority vote for dissolution, the HOA must file a termination agreement in each county where the HOA is located. The HOA is considered dissolved once recorded with the county.