DENVER — City leaders and homeowner advocates are calling for an investigation and change after the Master Homeowners Association for Green Valley Ranch filed 50 foreclosures in 2019.
This is according to a letter sent to Denver's city council from Sabrina Allie, the communication and engagement director for the city's department of housing stability last week.
The letter said that citywide, there were a total of 119 foreclosures filed by homeowners associations in 2019. Most organizations filed no more than five, according to the letter.
"GVR or Green Valley Ranch exemplifies the need for HOA reform," said Stan Hrincevich with the Colorado HOA Forum, an advocacy group for HOA homeowners. "There are abusive practices that have to be contained and you should not lose your house over the lawn being 2 inches higher than it is."
Homeowners in the neighborhood have said the foreclosures are due to unpaid fines.
“For example, someone not having the right blinds on the windows that face the street. Not pulling up their trash cans, the recycling bins, from the curb and putting them behind the fence," city council member Stacie Gilmore said. "We want to make sure that people are holding onto their homes, especially when they’ve paid years on a mortgage and perhaps during a global pandemic they weren’t able to pull their basketball hoop up to where the HOA wanted it or remove their trash cans from the curb of the street."
The board of directors for the HOA sent 9NEWS a statement Thursday that says Colorado law allows them to enforce fines and put automatic liens on properties.
It also says the large number of foreclosures in 2021 was due to the halt in foreclosures the year before due to the pandemic.
"The reported increase in foreclosures is nothing more than resumption of normal actions which were halted in 2020, along with more recent enforcement actions," the board said. "The Board has always and continues to remain open to resolution of these cases in an amicable manner."
Gilmore is now calling on the governor and attorney general to investigate.
A spokesperson for the governor's office released a statement saying they are "evaluating what can be done:"
"This is deeply troubling and another sign of how certain homeowners’ associations can be deeply flawed and have far reaching, unchecked powers," the statement said. "We are monitoring this situation and evaluating what can be done at the state level, or in partnership with the attorney general and state legislature. We are also supportive of legislative efforts to reduce the power of HOAs to prevent cases like this."
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