DENVER (CBS4) – The Master Homeowners Association for Green Valley Ranch issued a statement over growing community concerns the association is going too far with violation fines and subsequent foreclosures. Of the 119 foreclosures in Denver, 50 of them are within the HOA’s community.
“The Homeowners Association of Green Valley Ranch creates curb appeal and increases property values by enforcing promises that the homeowners made to one another about the condition and upkeep of their properties,” the association wrote in a statement to CBS4. “The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act authorizes the HOA to enforce fines and makes those fines an automatic lien on property.”
Residents like Fronzo Gilkey say the HOA is targeting residents, unfairly issuing fines for minor issues.
“We don’t need an HOA if this is the way they’re going to run with these ridiculous fines. There were people with $4,000 liens against their home,” Gilkey said.
Gilkey used to serve on the HOA board, but says he got kicked out last year due to $1,400 in unpaid fines for things like his car parked next to his garage, an old dryer sitting outside waiting to be picked up from the city in a day, and a carpet on his front porch.
“When I did get this position, I went to two or three meetings, even the board meetings, and this board gets excited… they went into the videos and the pictures of the violations, and I saw then that they were just on this power trip,” Gilkey recalled.
His neighbors also believe the HOA hasn’t properly notified or communicated with residents to help resolve violations before taking drastic actions.
“We would get all different type of answers,” said resident Terry Meeks. “‘They’re going to look into it. They’ve been resolved.’ Everything from not even being notified of violations and then you turn around and you have $3,000 or $4,000 fines, then from $2,000 fines to right now $17,000 in fines.”
The HOA says it’s just doing its job.
“Enforcement is not a surprise. All owners are provided written notice of any violation and an opportunity to cure that violation,” the HOA said in a statement Monday. “Prior to any fine, a second notice is mailed informing the owner that they can have a hearing with the Board to explain any extenuating circumstances. If the Association and owner cannot resolve the violation a fine is levied and that fine is a lien that may eventually be subject to collection and/or foreclosure. It is only after repeated notices and nonpayment that legal intervention may be required.”
Asked about how nearly half of the city’s foreclosures are in this Green Valley Ranch HOA, the organization said:
“During the pandemic, bank foreclosures were stayed, but HOA foreclosures were not. Despite the legal right to do so, the homeowners association of Green Valley Ranch voluntarily suspended its collection and foreclosure of liens out of concern for housing during 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.”
Denver city councilwoman Stacie Gilmore met with angry residents over the weekend. She says much of this lies with the state to take action, but she will do what she can to help.
“At the end of the day, I want you to keep your homes, you have paid for them, you have been good community neighbors, and it’s a wealth generation for your loved ones,” Gilmore told the crowd Saturday.
The city of Denver’s Department of Housing Stability sent an email to city councilmembers on March 10 about the issue, writing:
“We have learned that of the 119 homeowners association (HOA) foreclosures filed citywide in 2021, most HOAs filed no more than five, while Master Homeowners Association for Green Valley Ranch filed 50. There are 15 foreclosures citywide that are in the process of being auctioned between now and June. We are reaching out to those homeowners to offer assistance. They include: one in Council District 9, one in Council District 6, one in Council District 2, two in Council District 8, and 10 in Council District 11. It is important to note that in HOA foreclosures, the income-restricted covenant is not released, so we would not lose homes from our affordable housing portfolio for an HOA foreclosure alone. There were eight homes in Green Valley Ranch in our affordable portfolio that were filed for foreclosure; all have been contacted, and we are following our compliance processes to ensure they remain with an income-qualified buyer. We have worked with both the Courts and Clerk & Recorder’s Office to ensure we are being notified of HOA foreclosure filings at the time of filing. We thank them for their partnership and acknowledge this is a labor-intensive process.”
Find informational material from the city about foreclosure assistance.
CBS4 reached out to the governor’s office to see if he plans to issue a temporary moratorium on these foreclosures to buy these folks some time. A spokesperson for his office issued the following statement:
“This is deeply troubling and another sign of how certain homeowners’ associations can be deeply flawed and have far reaching, unchecked powers. We are monitoring this situation and evaluating what can be done at the state level or in partnership with the state legislature. We are also supportive of legislative efforts to reduce the power of HOAs to prevent cases like this.”