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When Does Collecting Fees and Costs Mean Retaliation?

  • February 3rd, 2016
  • Miles Buckingham
  • Comments Off on When Does Collecting Fees and Costs Mean Retaliation?

February 3, 2016 – Colorado State Senator Morgan Carroll has introduced SB16-082 which seeks to prohibit Colorado homeowners’ associations from retaliating against an owner who undertakes ” a lawful action” to complain about “violation[s]” in a community. The proposed law, which can be read HERE, fails to define retaliation, nor states how it is to be harmonized with the right of prevailing parties to collect attorney fees and costs in a suit implicating the Colorado common Interest Ownership Act. Notably, the bill contemplates an award of fees for someone complaining of a violation, but none (apparently) for an association or community manager who overcomes such a charge.

A cynical reader might see the bill as an attempt to make any effort by an HOA to recover against an owner who sued it an act of “retaliation” which swings the entitlement of an award to the losing, suing homeowner. The bill, as currently drafted, has the potential to up-end the Colorado law about prevailing parties in HOA actions, and invite even more litigation into an area where there is a fair amount already.

As the bill is considered by the Colorado legislature, we will update you with developments.

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