DENVER (CBS4)- There are more than 7,500 homeowners’ associations in Colorado. They govern more than 2 million people. HOA’s are big business. And when neighbors are governing neighbors there are bound to be problems.
“Spending my money for other people’s expenses, didn’t sit well,” Karen Templeton said of her homeowners’ association.
“They wouldn’t let me see the books… could not see the books. I questioned financial statements, they wouldn’t tell me answers,” Jim Burneson said of his HOA.
“Where did the money go? What’s going on?” said Sue Williams about her HOA
A group of homeowners met with CBS4 to discuss their problems with their various homeowner’s associations. They represent several neighborhoods but describe the same sort of issues. Conflicts in homeowner’s associations can get petty and personal.
That's because private local government -- i.e. mandatory membership HOAs -- has a weak or nonexistent culture of governance. Instead, it's rule by Joe, Mary and Bob on the board. And when constituents demand the accountability to which they are entitled, the request is taken personally -- not surprisingly since it's government by personality.
By the same token, expenditures are also taken personally as Karen Templeton's comment illustrates. Rather than benefiting all constituents, they're seen as Joe, Mary's or Bob's pet projects financed with other people's money -- their money.
Not exactly a model for a sustainable form of local government over the long run but for now serves to generate short term revenues for the CID bar when the conflicts head to court.