In my book, Neighbors At War, I wrote about a nasty little piece of HOA theft called ‘transfer fees. ‘ They’re hidden deep within the text of your CC&Rs and the vast majority of home buyers never even see them. Sometimes they’re not even in the paperwork. But they can cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars at closing time. What are transfer fees? They’re a scam. They probably refer to photocopying costs which at ten cents a page shouldn’t cost you more than about ten bucks. But the transfer fee is pure slush that pours into the pockets of the nearest property manager or lawyer.
Stan Hrincevich is the HOA Warrior in Colorado who’s long been trying to educate legislators about this scam. And Stan is Enemy #1 on the CAI’s list of really bad guys. To me he’s Colorado’s biggest hero. His battles against DORA (Department of Regulatory Agencies) are legendary. The Colorado Legislature created an HOA Ombudsman’s Office to try to shut Stan up. Sadly, the Ombudsman has no budget, no power and is dumber than a box of rocks. The only thing this ‘Ombudsman’ ombuds for is his own salary.
That’s the background.
Knowing that this same kind of situation exists in almost every state in the union I’ve asked Stan for permission to reprint a recent news release he sent to homeowners around Colorado.
by Stan Hrincevich (www.coloradohoaforum.com)
The HOA Manager licensing law requires disclosure of fees imposed by property management companies on home owners to be in their contracts with the HOA. If you know of anyone who has recently (after July 1, 2015) sold or bought into an HOA and paid an HOA Transfer Fee (this can be identified as a one liner on the closing documents) let us know. These home owners might be eligible for a refund and the management company fined. We will help in filing their complaint with DORA to pursue this issue.
The HOA Manager licensing rules are very weak for home owners and purposely left out specifics and justifications regarding fees imposed by management companies on home owners. However, there is still room for filing complaints and requiring HOA Boards and management companies to justify the imposition of the HOA Transfer Fees in HOA contracts and governing documents. Additionally, your HOA Board may also be required to inform home owners if they endorse such fees and to change the HOA governing documents/declaration to indicate the Transfer Fee is a financial obligation of the home owner upon the sale of their home (which may require a vote of home owners).
When someone buys a home in an HOA they are to be apprised of all financial obligations to the HOA as a home owner. This includes HOA dues and special assessments. The HOA Transfer Fee is rarely if ever disclosed as a legal obligation and therefore the property management company (and HOA) should be precluded from assessing this fee. The new licensing law precludes assessing fees unless it is in their contract with the HOA and/or supported by the HOA governing documents.
Filing a complaint costs zero and we will help as needed.
We will periodically issue this email requesting your cooperation on this topic.
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Boards should NEGOTIATE LOWER FEES! Photocopies (or simply emailing the HOA info) and changing the name on an account should NOT cost $400! This is ridiculous.