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Vail and its surrounding areas are currently experiencing a huge surge in interest from new homebuyers. The Colorado Sun have termed the movement of families out of large urban centers as ‘the great urban exodus’, with huge pressure building on Vail home builders and renovators in their efforts to tap into the demand. For many new residents, newly built family homes within existing homeowner associations (HOAs) are likely to be the easiest place to settle down. However, laws are changing across Vail and wider Colorado when it comes to HOAs, giving food for thought.
HOAs do a lot of good, but can contribute to bad situations, too. HOA president bully issues, like the over-enforcement of bylaws and selective punishment, have put many residents off joining HOAs. In Colorado, state lawmakers are making a conscious effort to rein in some of these excesses. CBS Local has highlighted the efforts of legislators to prevent HOAs from enforcing draconian laws, such as those railing against yard signs and flags outside of properties. Many of the issues that arise in HOA disputes arise from small, petty disputes that are given too much time and energy by parties stretching to retain their liberties, or maintain order within a HOA.
Carving out influence
A major benefit of living in one of the valley’s HOAs is the collective bargaining it brings. By bringing together dozens of homes under one voice, HOAs bring the type of political and social power that can make real change in planning decisions. The Colorado Gazette reports that downstate, in Colorado Springs, HOAs successfully prevented the building of a number of new housing estates that would have severely impacted quality of life and fire safety within the area. A single homeowner arguably doesn’t have as much voice on their own as they would together with other similarly minded families; HOAs create opportunities for wider social and political changes to be influenced, in positive or, perhaps, negative ways.
Trouble on the horizon?
A recent city ordinance drafted in Avon would allow the use of off-road vehicles on major roads throughout Vail Valley. Given the volume of off-road activity going on in the surrounding area, this has been something that residents are potentially looking forward to. Pushing back against the proposal is the revival of the Wildbridge HOA to enforce a covenant of 1982; not that it has been enforced. The use of power in this way has brought into sharp focus the role and powers of HOA on wider community issues. While a niche problem, these minor problems can impact the enjoyment and quality of life of some homeowners. Be fully informed because getting involved.
For all of the good and bad that HOAs do, one thing is certain – they’re changing, rapidly. New laws and regulations come in regularly, and this can make HOAs more complex to make a decision on. The key before joining is to build awareness, both in terms of the pros and the cons.