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Cottages at Ridgeview Home Owners Association Inc.

 

 

 

FAQs about Associations

 

 

We've compiled a list of some Frequently Asked Questions below.

 

 

 

Question: Master HOA letter

Answer:  Master HOA has mailed letters making statements about the Cottages HOA.

Cottage HOA collects assessments. Monthly checks are signed to pay the HOA bills to accountant for state and federal taxes preparation, annual CPA assessment, bookkeeper services, water/electric bill, landscaper bill, and lawyer fees on delinquent owners. The Master HOA even emails us and asks status of dead trees and we respond for the property the Cottages HOA is responsible.

We and the other sub-HOA do not receive a discount or credit for the Master HOA not performing responsibility they are legally responsible. Since the Master HOA pays for a management company to manage and enforce the rules, this lessens the Cottages responsibility and need to meet. The only monthly responsibility is to sign the checks to pay the HOA financial obligations. The only remaining reoccurring meeting requirement is the annual membership meeting is to vote on the annual budget to the owners. Since we reduced the assessment and maintained the amount for the last two years, no one shows up to the meetings. Last meeting in 2013, only four owners bothered to show up for election of officers and vote of the budget. It takes 67% of the membership (300 owners) to disapprove a budget. Therefore, the budget is automatically approved. It takes a quorum of 30 owners to hold a members meeting to vote on directors to the board.

Nonfunctioning? You be the judge.

 

Question: Is enforcment of public street parking legal?

Answer: To answer, this covers a couple of issues.

1. Our streets are maintained by the city, not the HOA. It is a public street that anyone can park in front of your home. To date, no one has taken to court beyond the municipal level to establish case law. The Colorado Springs City code does not say either way that the city delegates enforcement to an HOA nor not to an HOA. The hierarchy of law states state and city law is above HOA rules. 

2.￿The HOA does not validate you own the vehicle parked in front of your home. You are assumed guilty of violating the CCR's without any proof just because a car is parked in front of you home on a public street. The HOA cannot obtain who owns the vehicle. So, the letter you receive states you violated the CCR's as a car (make, model, and license plate number) was parked in front of you home on XX date. The Master HOA cannot fine you as you are entitled to due process of a hearing. I stated at my hearing that it is a public street and anyone can park in front of my home and the HOA and I cannot do anything about a car parked legally on a public street. I was treated like I was quilty and asked why I did not request a visitor parking pass. 
If people get together and park in front of each other homes overnight, each owner can legally state they are not violating any rules and that they do not own the car and no one in their home owns or possess the car that they received a violation notice from the Master HOA. The Master HOA should dismiss the violation letter. It is the Master HOA that must prove you have violated the CCR's. Not that you are guilty and you have to prove your innocence. If common sense does not prevail, it would be a shame, but you have to request arbitration (to get a third party who actually knows Colorado law) ￿ 

3. The HOA must enforce rules equally upon all. Right now the two townhome HOA￿s on Article and Snowy River are not being enforced of street parking by the Master HOA. The Master property manager stated by cannot enforce parking on the townhomes because they are so close together they cannot tell whose vehicle is parking in front their home or not. At my hearing, The Master HOA President stated they can delegate enforcement to the sub-HOA and their lawyer told them this is legal. While it may be legal to delegate enforcement to a sub-HOA, they actually have to accomplish it in an agreement signed by both entities. So, when the Master President dismissed my augment, they had no agreements with none of any of the sub-HOA￿s. I checked by requesting all contracts with sub-HOA, and no such agreements are in place. So, when the Master President dismissed my argument that both HOA are responsible to enforce the rules, and since the Master abandoned enforcement, they cannot selectively enforce on me and not on the townhome HOA owners.

4.  More to follow soon.   

 

Question: If the Master HOA does the covenant and architectural control, why do I pay the Cottages?

Answer:  A couple of people have asked this question.  To answer this question, it is really several related issues. 

First.  You the owner of a home in the Cottages HOA are a member of the Cottages HOA.  The Cottages HOA exists because the builder, Melody Homes, created a sub-HOA (Cottages HOA) under the Ridgeview at Stetson Hills HOA (also called the Master HOA).  When you purchase a home in the development, you received from the title company, a Schedule B, exceptions and exclusions.  On that document contains document numbers registered with the state as part of you purchasing the home.  If you go the CCR's, you will see one number on the Master CCR's and a different number on the Cottages CCR's.  You will see both of these numbers on the Schedule B.   This binds you legally to the HOA when you signed to purchase you home.  You are supposed to know these are HOA numbers and that you agree to the CCR documents at are filed by the title company as part of your home purchase.  These documents are tied to the property documents filed with the state with your home purchase.  You cannot exclude these as they are part of the title when the builder created each lot.  So, when you purchased the home, you as an owner, became legally bound member of the HOA's listed on the schedule B.   When the HOA's create a budget and sets the assessment (dues) that each owner must pay the HOA (non-profit Colorado Corporation).  

 

If you pull the "official" PLATT for the area, you will find these numbers also recorded to the "land segments" surrounding the Cottages HOA and the Master HOA (common areas).  Since the state, county, and city expect the "land segments" to be maintained by the corporation (i.e. the HOA's), Cottages HOA (homeowners are members of the HOA), the owners are legally bound as members of the corporation by the Schedule B filed when you purchased your home.  The corporation, Cottages HOA is required to maintain the property under its legal responsibility.  Cottages HOA (non-profit corporation) then collects association dues and uses those funds to pay electric and water bills, and contract and pay a landscaping company.  The Cottages pays for a company to accomplish the bookkeeping.  The HOA ensures proper dues are paid so it can pay the bills and build reserve funds to replace future costs to maintain/replace fences and walls.

   

Summary:  You the owner are legally bound to the HOA's via the title filing of your home purchase.   

 

Second. You the owner of a home are also a member of the Ridgeview at Stetson Hills HOA (also known as the Master HOA).  You pay the same amount of dues as the other +3300 homes in the area.  The three condo complexes (about 700 units) in the Master HOA area also pay their sub-HOA dues as well as the Master HOA dues, just like us.  Their Sub-HOA dues cover the landscaping but also cover the building structure replacement (roofs), paving the interior road, and painting the buildings.  Our sub-HOA (300 units) dues cover landscaping cost (and water/electric) and a company to do the HOA bookkeeping. 

 

It cost about $20,000-$25,000 or more for a full management company to provide services to support a HOA.  A HOA board is composed of volunteer homeowners voted in by the owners.  A management company provides the expertise and time to manage an HOA of covenant control, write letters to violators, following up on calls from owners complaining of lawns not being kept up, dogs parking, parking in front of other homes, RV's and trailers parked in the street for weeks, collecting dues, sending out bills, working with the landscaping company, on and on and on.  This cost is not cheap.  Some HOA in Colorado Springs are run entirely by volunteers, but in our area, volunteers are far and extremely are to come by.  Most persons complain A LOT, lots of advice, but do not participate.  

 

So our HOA has no pool or common club house or anything else other than as strip of land that is from the inside of the sidewalk to the fence and the fence from Snowy River to Tutt to Article that the Cottages HOA is required to maintain, and the Master maintains the sidewalk to the street.    The Master HOA maintains from the street to the sidewalk to the fence and the fence on the rest of the entire surrounding area of the Master HOA, except in our little corner.  

 

The Master HOA refused (many requests of the years by me) to provide a legal document releasing covenant and architectural control to our HOA.  We had a lawyer validate that the Master CCR states they have legal power to enforce the Master Architectural Guidelines on all the sub-HOA￿s.   While, the Master HOA legally cannot relinquish control unless they change their CCR unless 67% approve the change, they can delegate the responsiblity.  But, it must be in a legal document that the sub-HOA accepts the responsiblity inplace of the Master, and if not enforcing, the Master must enforce.  The Master cannot say they delegate but not allow the sub-HOA not to enforce the Master rules.  If the Master enforces parking, the Master delegates the enforcement, the sub-HOA cannot decided to not enforce the rule.  The agreement cannot violate the Master rules, and if the sub-HOA does not enforce, the Master has to enforce as thier rules covers all 3300+ owners.    

There are some that say we should control our own area, not the Master.  Well, since they are legally bound to enforce covenant and architectural control and while they can delegate, the Cottages must enforce the same way as the Master.  Why should you pay twice for the same service of a management company.   Why should you the owner get hassled by two HOA calling and sending letter threating fines?  So, we dropped the Cottages HOA management company, saving over $25,000 and dropping the Cottages dues for each owner by $80 per year.

   

Summary:  Two HOA's legally control you the owner under the rules of the CCR's, By-law, covenant/architectural control.  The Master has higher authority.  You are legally bound to pay both HOA's.  So, if you are already paying for a management company in the Master HOA, why pay for another to do the same task?

   

Third.  So what currently remains for Cottages responsibility is a volunteer board that pays the  1.) Sign the check for the monthly cost the landscape contract that pays for taking care of the grass and landscape from the inside of the sidewalk to the fence and the fence from Snowy River to Tutt to Article and the landscaping to the mailboxes on Morse Bluff. 2.) Sign the check for the monthly costs of the water (as you know water cost have go through the roof)  3.) Sign the check for the monthly cost of the electric running the water control boxes.  4.)  Sign the check for $500 per month fee of collecting the dues, depositing the checks and cutting the checks for the board to sign each month.   5.)  Sign the yearly check for the insurance.  6.)  Sign the yearly check for the accountant for the corporation state and federal tax preparation.  7.) Sign the yearly tax form for mail to state tax board and IRS.  8.) Prepare the annual budget that takes 67% of the membership to disapprove.  Yes, that means the budget is automatically approved.  (67% of 300 Cottages owners)

 

So why do I pay the Cottages HOA?  The short answer is you are legally bound by Schedule B as part of title that contains reception number 201136925 (Cottages at Ridgeview HOA) w\hen the Cottages HOA creates an assessment, you are legally bound to pay.  While the correct answer, it would not have made much sense to you the owner.  Of course, the long answer is all the information above as well as some of the other FAQ￿s on this web page.   

 

Summary:  While it appears you should not be paying for a second HOA, you are legally bound if the second HOA has financial responsibility and there are costs the second HOA is responsible for.  While those of us that have volunteered, have stumbled and fell working to support the Cottages, costs have be minimized as far as they can be reduced.  Right now the only cost reduction to be taken is to lower the current landscape contract and cut the watering down to brown grass. 

   

Wrap-up:  The only way to eliminate the Cottages HOA is to have an entity take over responsibility of the common area and fence that is designated in the PLATT.  Do you know of anyone that will take over the financial responsibility of someone else￿s property without being paid?  That is why we are stuck with the Cottages HOA.

   

I am an owner just like you that volunteered my time.  When I got involved in March of 2005, I was just as blissfully ignorant of the legal and process details of ownership that involved HOA￿s when I purchased my home in October of 2003 in this area.   Now, I have the background and understand in property transactions relating to HOA's,  local statues, state statues of HOA's, corporations, and non-profit corporations in Colorado.  More than I ever wanted to know.....  

Question: What is a homeowners association?

Answer: A homeowner association, legally known as a common interest development, is a non-profit corporation that is controlled by a volunteer, non-paid board of directors elected by the property owners that own property in the development. So, a director can own a house but not live in the development.  A renter cannot be a director.  The purpose of these associations is to maintain the integrity and appearance of their community's common areas. A common-interest development may be a single-family community, townhome development, condominium development, or a stock cooperative.

Question: Do I have to belong to the association or can I "opt" out of the services offered by the association?

Answer: When you purchase a home in the development, you received from the title company, a Schedule B, exceptions and exclusions.  On that document contains the schedule number registered with the state as part of you purchasing the home.  If you go the CCR's, you will see one number on the Master CCR's and a different number on the Cottages CCR's.  You will see both of these numbers on the Schedule B.   This binds you legally to the HOA and the association dues.   

If you pull the "official" PLATT for the area, you will find these numbers also recorded to the "land segments" surrounding our HOA and the Master HOA.  Since the state, county, and city expect the "land segments" to be maintained by the corporation, Cottages HOA and we as homeowners, are legally bound as member of the corporation by the Schedule B filed when you purchased your home.  The ciorporation, Cottages HOA is required to maintain the property under its responsibility.  Cottages HOA (non-profit corporation) then collects association dues and uses those funds to pay electric and water bills, and a board to contract with a landscaping company and ensure proper dues are paid to build reserve funds to replace future costs to maintain/replace fences and walls (see reserve study).

Q: Why did I not receive a bill or quarterly statement?

A:   Payment Coupons are now available on the Cottages Official Web Site as the official distribution method and posted for download and printing.    The annual statement is mailed each year with the payment coupons for the next year.  This was accomplished at the end of 2009 as part of the cost reduction initiative of the new board that decreased the $65,000 budget by over $25,000 (dropped your quarterly dues from $54.60 to $34.60 per quarter).  The change included dropping the expensive management company and taking over violations saving over $20,000, annual mailing of statements saving cost of labor, materials, stamps, and dropping the old management web page that saved over $1000 per year.   The flip side is that volunteer home owners run the complaints and question from owners.  We are volunteers, not an expensive paid management company.  The company we contract with is just to be our bookkeeper, not the managemant company.  So, if you don't get a response in a period you expect from a professional company, that is normal. 

The 2011 year could have resulted in an addition reduction of another $10,000 for the previous years by changing lawyers.  This stopped previous board policy of letting the old management company and lawyer automatically spend money to pursue members that have not paid 2 quarters of dues.  But due to the water rate increases in 2010, wiped out all the saving we achieved that could have be passed onto to the owners.  So, we were able to maintain the previous year assessment amount.

You can, at any time, contact the management company for a current account statement.  To obtain your account information please call:

Bennett-Shellenberger Reality, Inc.

Attention: Bruce Beers

1710 Pikes Peak Ave, Suite 200

Colorado Springs, CO 80909

Ph# 471-1703, Email:  bbeers@bsrsince1890.com

UPDATE:  The Master HOA is accomplishing the covenant control and architectural approvals.  Since we pay for this service anyway in our dues for the Master, this will keep our HOA dues from the $25,000 to pay for duplicate management company that was never needed.  This is good since there were no volunteers to accomplish this function.

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Q: What is a "management company," what do they do, and how do I reach them?

A: A management company is an independent contractor hired by the Board of Directors to provide such services as: Billing and Collection of assessments, supervision of subcontractors, obtaining bids for subcontracted services, providing regular financial statements, as well as serving as a general clearing house for problem solving, communications with homeowners and the Board of Directors, and to serve in an advisor capacity. The management company reports directly to the Board and all decisions are made by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. The management company holds no decision-making authority.  The management company may be by phone/email from the information listed on the contact page on this site.

UPDATE:  The Master HOA is accomplishing the covenant control and architectural approvals.  Since we pay for this service anyway in our dues for the Master, this will keep our HOA dues from the $25,000 to pay for duplicate management company that was never needed.  This is good since there were no volunteers to accomplish this function.

The Cottages HOA no longer have a professional management.  We have contracted with a company to perform only the bookkeeping function.  As part of the cost reduction initiative of the new board that decreased the budget by over $25,000 (dropped your quarterly dues from $54.60 to $34.60 per quarter) by dropping the expensive management company since we all already pay the Master HOA dues to do the same function.  The change included dropping the expensive management company and taking over violations saving over $25,000.  The company we contract with is just to be our bookkeeper, not the managemant company.  So, please contact them only for account status and copies. 

To obtain your account Cottages HOA information please call:

Bennett-Shellenberger Reality, Inc.
Attention: Bruce Beers
1710 Pikes Peak Ave, Suite 200
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
Ph# 471-1703, Email: bbeers@bsrsince1890.com

 

For your Master HOA information:
Diversified Property Management, LLC
4325 North Nevada, #100
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
719.578.9111 
email: info@diversifiedprop.com
Web site address: http://www.stetsonhillshoa.com/

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Q: What is an association?

A: It is a non-profit corporation registered with the State and managed by a duly elected Board of Directors. Its purpose is to maintain and govern the community in accordance with the provision of the legal documents: CC&Rs, Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and in accordance with applicable State Statutes. The governing legal documents for the association may be obtained from the governing documents page on this site. The corporation is financially supported by all members of the association. Membership is both automatic and mandatory.  This is due to the title company filing the schedule B document you were provided prior to closing and filed with the title transfer paperwork with the state as part of the state required documents in title transfer.  On that schedule B document contain so words of "Restrictive Covenants" and at the end of that paragraph states "Under Reception No. XXXXXXXX".  If you check that number(s), you will find it is the El Paso County filing number of the CC&R document.  If you are a filing 9 owner, you will have 2 paragraphs of this type.  If you are a filing 11 owner, you will have 3 paragraphs of this type.  

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Q: What are the CC&Rs?

A: The Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) are one of the governing legal documents; this document sets up the guidelines and structure of the planned community as a non-profit corporation. The CC&Rs were recorded with the County's Clerk & Recorder's office of the County in which the property is located and are included in the title to your property. The recorded plat, State Statutes and Federal Statutes hold higher authority than the CC&Rs.  Failure to abide by the CC&Rs may result in a fine to an owner by the Association. The CC&R document for the Association may be viewed on the governing documents page of this site.

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Q: What are the Bylaws?

A: The Bylaws are the guidelines for the operation of the non-profit corporation. The Bylaws define the duties of the various offices of the Board of Directors, the terms of the Directors, the membership's voting rights, required meetings and notices of meetings, and the principal office of the Association, as well as other specific items that are necessary to run the Association as a business. The Bylaws document for the Association may be viewed on the governing documents page page of this site.

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Q: What is the Board of Directors?

A: The Association is a corporation and therefore, a governing body is required to oversee its business. The Board of Directors is elected by the members (the Owners) following the authority of the Declarant to appoint members of the Board. The limitations and restrictions of the powers and the obligating duties of the Board of Directors is outlined in the Association governing documents that may be viewed on the governing documents page of this site.

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Q: Are there any other rules?

A: Most associations have developed Rules and Regulations (aka Community Standards), as provided for in the CC&Rs and adopted by the Board of Directors. Rules are established to provide direction to the homeowners for common courtesies with regard to parking, vehicles, pets, etc. In addition, your Association will adopt Design Guidelines with procedures for submitting requests to make exterior changes to your home. Such changes may include patio covers, decks, landscaping, exterior color changes or extensive interior changes and additions. These rules and guidelines are set up to maintain the aesthetic value and integrity of the community on behalf of all owners, and hopefully protect the market value of your investment as well. Violations of these rules may result in action by the Board of Directors and a fine (Enforcement of the Declaration, BYLAWS, Rules and Regulations and Schedule of Fines). In addition, if you proceed with an exterior improvement or change, without written approval of the Board of Directors, or Architectural Committee, as applicable, you can be required to remove or correct the alteration (at your expense) and/or be fined for the violation.

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Q: If I am having a problem with a neighbor for a violation of the Policies and/ or Guidelines, what can I do?

A: If residents cannot resolve a situation between themselves, you might be able to your Association. Should you have a situation that does not appear to be resolved through neighborly means, and you are willing to actively participate in the enforcement provided by the Policies and Guidelines, you may call 

Diversified Property Management
719.578.9111
email: info@diversifiedprop.com
http://www.stetsonhillshoa.com/

If the situation is deemed in violation of the Policies and Guidelines, the Board of Directors may institute enforcement.  Please note this is an administrative process that only fines the violator.  

Reminder:  The HOA is an administrative non-profit corporation.  It does not have authoritative powers such as police for legal issues.  Please use the police code enforcement for weeds over 9 inches.  Please use police, and animal control authority as the Human Society for other legal issue of noise and animal issues.  Please see the Contacts page for those web pages and phone numbers. 

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Q: Are Board Meetings open to all residents? If so, where and when are they held?

A: Yes. Normally the notice of the time and place of any regular board meeting will be noted in the community newsletter or shown online.  This Board will host a period of time at the beginning of each Board meeting for residents to present concerns or simply dialogue with the Board.  Please note, that once a board meeting begins, members can only listen and are not participants of the board meeting.  

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Q: If I want to serve on a committee, how do I find out what committees are active and how I can get involved?

A: The Contact page of this website will inform you of the status of current committees organized and committee contact information. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the board or email.  Committee members are appointed by the Board of Director.

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Q: What is my assessment?

A: The assessment is the periodic amount due from each owner to cover the operating expenses of the Association and provide for deferred maintenance and reserve funds for replacement of common facilities in future years. Our assessments are paid quarterly and therefore due on the first of the month of that quarter.  Statements will be only be mailed once a year (to save money) prior to our annual members meeting and the payment coupons may be mailed prior to the start of each year.  The official distribution is the Cottages Web pages that the payment coupons will be posted for download and printing.  You can request a statement at any time by contacting the management company.

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Q: How is the amount of my assessment determined?

A: Assessments are established according to the approved annual budget at the annual members meeting.  The total expenses are divided by the number of units built in the development.  The budget must provide funding of anticipated expenses based on the obligations assigned to the Association in the governing documents as well as services offered.

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Q: Will my assessment go up?

A: From time to time, it does happen!  The Board of Directors may propose an increased budget, increasing your assessment in order to cover increased costs of operating and maintaining the common area and sufficient reserve funds.  The Homeowners association has contracts with the management company and with the landscaper.  As with everything, contract costs do increase and therefore, the assessment.  

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Q: What happens if I don't pay my assessment?

A: The services provided by the Association are dependent upon timely receipt of the assessments due from each owner.  The CC&Rs allows the Association to charge accounts that are not paid by the due a late fee and interest and proceed with a lien on your property, personal suit in court or foreclosure proceeding for nonpayment of assessments.   These actions are allowed by Colorado Law as long as the statue due process is followed.  

 
                                                                                                                                                                                        
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Q: Do I need Architectural Approval?

A: Most associations have developed Rules and Regulations (aka Community Standards), as provided for in the CC&Rs and adopted by the Board of Directors.  These rules and guidelines are set up to maintain the aesthetic value and integrity of the community on behalf of all owners, and hopefully protect the market value of your investment as well.  These rules are established to provide direction to the homeowners for common Architectural appearance of the neighborhood.  These are detailed in the CC&R's and the Design Guidelines.  Changes may include any additions as patio covers, decks, landscaping.  If you are changing existing as the exterior paint color or shingles, or any other exterior items, then you need an approved Architectural form.  

If you proceed with an exterior improvement or change, without written approval of the Board of Directors, you can be required to remove or correct the alteration (at your expense) and/or be fined for the violation.  So, submitting a request and receiving an approved form (you should hold on to this document, forever) protects you from future boards stating your changing is in violation. 

Reminder:  Once you received an approved Architectural, if you do not follow what is stated in the approved form, the hold the right to inspect the changes at a later date and require you to correct the alteration.  

UPDATE:  The Master HOA is accomplishing the covenant control and architectural approvals.  Since we pay for this service anyway in our dues for the Master, this will keep our HOA dues from the $25,000 to pay for duplicate management company that was never needed.  This is good since there were no volunteers to accomplish this function.  Submit your requests to:

Diversified Property Management, LLC
4325 North Nevada, #100
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
719.578.9111 
email: info@diversifiedprop.com
Web site address: http://www.stetsonhillshoa.com/

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