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Landlord feels left out from Marshall Fire assistance as HOA assessments continue with no income coming in

Easing the assessment costs on just the owners who lost homes would require a unanimous vote from all of the owners and mortgage lenders.

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — The emotion that welled up was unexpected for Wendy Bohling as she walked past the rental unit she owned in the Wildflower Condominiums, now burned to the ground from the Marshall Fire. 

As a landlord, she feels left out from resources. 

“I think I’m going to lose this house. I don’t know how I’m going to pay for three to five years," Bohling told a neighbor. 

Within the Wildflower Condo Association, the Marshall Fire burned 30 of 93 units. 

Bohling doesn't think she can afford the mortgage and the $375 HOA assessment without the rent from tenants coming in.

"To have that kind of income just stop as well as these looming bills, it’s one of those things that you just think that maybe there might be some government assistance. but there isn’t. There really isn’t for landlords," Bohling said. 

Suzanne Leff, an attorney with Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne, is general counsel for the condo association.

"It’s a really tough message to deliver to people who are already experiencing a lot of very tough circumstances," Leff said.

She said easing the assessment costs on just the owners who lost homes would require a unanimous vote from all of the owners and mortgage lenders, an unlikely outcome because the association's costs are still there.

"The expenses for communities have not gone away," Leff said. "In fact, there are sometimes even more expenses for these communities that have suffered severe losses in the form of additional time that management needs to assist, there are legal fees to try to navigate these circumstances and a lot of the operating expenses continue." 

If it took five years for Bohling to rebuild, she calculates she would have to pay $90,000 in mortgage and HOA fees, without any rental income coming in. 

Her insurance only covers five months of loss of rent. 

“That’s a pretty extreme thing to think about for me, on how I would come up with that money. Maybe I could dip into my retirement," she said. “Maybe I go back to work. But I don’t know.”

Bohling has not known before. She said she fought breast cancer for the last three years, and during that time, income from the rental units kept her afloat. 

Bohling's daughter set up a GoFundMe to help with expenses.

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