Community association governance recognizes inherent rights, but these are not exclusive of inherent responsibilities. As a homeowner, you would be better served, and better serve your association, by understanding what rights and responsibilities do exist.
Colorado State Statutes, that govern community associations, specify these rights and responsibilities. The Community Associations Institute, the national organization for community leaders and managers, further defines them. Although too detailed for a thorough review in this article, a preview of the most important is warranted.
- Homeowners have the right to honest, fair and respectful treatment by their community leaders and managers, who shall remain responsive, competent and prudent in managing the affairs of the community. Access to community association books and records, as well as the timely receipt of all financial summaries, governing documents, and other public disclosures, are now stipulated by Colorado law.
- Homeowners have the responsibility to treat their leaders honestly and with respect, are obligated to pay their assessments on time, and are expected to participate in elections and other community issues. They must read and comply with their governing documents and ensure their tenants and guests adhere to established rules.
- Community leaders have the right to the productive input and support from residents. They are to conduct meetings in a positive and constructive atmosphere. Their privacy at home is a right that should always be respected.
- Community leaders have the responsibility to abide by applicable laws and fulfill their fiduciary duties to the community, as well as exercise discretion and sound business judgment that always places the needs of the community first and foremost. Business must be conducted transparently and with full accountability. Related educational opportunities must be provided to homeowners on, at least, an annual basis. Conflicts of interest are to be disclosed completely and timely.
By residing in a common interest community, an owner must accept that certain desires and needs of the community will take precedence. It was once said “the right to wave your fist ends where your neighbor’s nose begins.”