By Rick Sallinger

SUPERIOR, Colo. (CBS4)– Sandy Quiller, like so many other Marshall Fire victims, cannot live in her home. But each month she must pay $362 in homeowners association fees.

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She told CBS4, “There’s no precedent for wildfires before and it’s difficult to know that I am paying for the upkeep of the exterior of my building when I don’t have a building.”

She lives in The Ridge at Superior. Only a few homes were destroyed, others still stand. The association has informed those who lost their homes that the HOA has bills to pay, too, and its bylaws require all to keep paying.

Quiller remarked, “I know the HOAs have a lot of things to pay, they have a lot of bills, but I wish I could have even a reduction.”

Some HOAs like Coal Creek have reduced the monthly payments required for those who lost homes.

Ashley Nichols is an attorney with the Community Associations Institute which advises HOA volunteer-run boards, including Sandy’s.

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“Associations make their budgets in advance and don’t prepare for big tragedies like this to happen,” said Nichols.

She says the HOA’s bills remain in place. Nichols advises HOA boards to show compassion when members are suffering. She points out that the services provided to the community still have to be paid for under contracts the HOA has signed.

When the Marshall Fire broke out last December, Sandy Quiller was spending the Christmas holidays with her son in Maryland. She is still there.

“I am going to have to pay for trash and water and all the same things I am paying for on my townhome that I can’t live in, so it’s just tough,” Quiller said.

She and other fire victims feel Colorado needs a law to help those who lost so much to keep from losing even more.

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An attorney representing The Ridge at Superior wrote in an email confirmed by the Community Associations Institute, “The Association remains responsible for paying fees associated with management, accounting and legal services for the community. Additionally the Association must continue to provide common area maintenance, road maintenance and repairs, landscaping, trash, pickup and pay all water and sewer costs.”

Rick Sallinger