To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)….
A time you may embrace,
a time to refrain from embracing.
(- lyrics by Pete Seeger)
The Colorado 2023 Legislative Season has come to a close, and, much like the lyrics above, you may find yourself embracing and perhaps refraining from embracing some of this session’s Bills and subsequently, the Laws that came out of those. As of this posting, the governor has signed about 232 bills so far this session. We’re not going through each one, but a few of the more pertinent bills relating to homeowners associations are listed below.
Bills signed into Law:
- Xeriscaping and Gardens (SB23-178: Water-wise Landscaping in Homeowners’ Association Communities): Signed into law by the governor on May 17, 2023. In brief, HOAs cannot prohibit the use of nonvegetative turf grass (i.e., artificial turf) in the backyard of a unit; cannot unreasonably require the use of more than 20% hardscape of a unit’s property; must allow unit owners an option consisting of at least 80% drought-tolerant plants; and, as a cherry on the xeriscape sundae, may not prohibit vegetable gardens in the front (or side or back) yard. If your association currently has a xeriscape policy and landscaping rules, those will need to be updated. If your association does not have this policy in place, we recommend having a policy drafted asap, because this law becomes effective in August, 2023 (and the association will be fined if it violates the law).
- Metro District Transparency (SB23-110: Transparency for Metropolitan Districts): This bill requires, among other things, that a proposed metro district that submits a service plan to the county commissioners board or municipality boards to include the maximum mill levy that may be imposed for payment of general obligations, the maximum debt that may be issued by the metro district (as determined by the county or municipal board), and that the metro district board hold an annual meetings to address specific issues including projects and bonds. This bill was signed into law on April 3, 2023.
- Homeowner Insurance (HB23-1174: Homeowner’s Insurance Underinsurance). Signed into law on May 12, 2023, part of this bill increases the notice time to 60 days advance notice prior to an effective date of cancellation or refusal to renew an insurance policy. It also guarantees replacement cost coverage to repair or replace damage or destroyed structures.
- Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (HB23-1233: Concerning Energy Efficiency and, In Connection Therewith, Forbidding Private Prohibitions on Electric Vehicle Charging and Parking). This bill, which requires associations to allow an owner to use or install (at the unit owner’s expense), a level 1 or level 2 electric vehicle charging system on or in the unit, an assigned or deeded parking space that is part of or assigned to a unit, a parking space that both the unit owner and other unit owners use, or a limited common element parking space, carport or garage owned by the unit owner or otherwise assigned to the owner through the declaration or other recorded document, was signed on May 23, 2023. This bill also prohibits an association from restricting parking based on the vehicle being a plug-in hybrid or plug-in electric vehicle. Of course, much like the xeriscaping bill, this bill should prompt you to update your association’s electric vehicle charging station policy, or have an electric vehicle charging station policy drafted asap, since this law also becomes effective in August 2023.
Bills still pending signature:
- Homeowners Association and Metropolitan District Homeowners’ Rights Task Forces (HB23-1105: Concerning the Creation of Task Forces to Examine Issues Affecting Certain Homeowners’ Rights, and, In Connection Therewith, Creating the HOA Homeowners’ Rights Task Force and the Metropolitan District Homeowners’ Rights Task Force, and Making an Appropriation): This bill creates a task force to examine issues regarding HOA homeowners’ rights, including fining, foreclosure and communication. It was sent to the Governor on May 17th, 2023 but has not yet been signed. Governor Polis has 30 days to act (either sign or veto). We will keep you posted as this bill is not yet in the clear.
Bills that didn’t make it:
- Land Use (SB23-213: Concerning State Land Use Requirements, and, in Connection Therewith, making an Appropriation): While it would have required the allowance of accessory dwelling units on property statewide, it failed to pass by default when it wasn’t called prior to the expiration of the legislative session. As this was Governor Polis’ initiative, we anticipate a similar bill in the future.
- HOA Budget (HB23-1131: Majority of Unit Owners Required for Home Owners’ Association Budgets). As originally drafted, this bill would have required that a majority of unit owners be present at the board meeting at which the budget was discussed. It was later amended to require that a majority of owners present at a member meeting affirmatively approve a budget. The bill was postponed indefinitely. (Best guess here is that a similar bill will also be presented in future sessions given the continuous efforts to improve the proper function of owners’ associations).
- Energy (HB23-1127: A Bill for An Act Concerning a Guarantee of a Customer’s Right to Use Energy). This bill did not make it too far through the process at all; however, had it passed, it would have required an association to allow owners to use natural gas, propane, solar photovoltaics, micro wind turbines or micro hydroelectricity in order to generate electricity, heating or cooling and/or cooking. (We will likely see more Energy bills in the future since this remains an ongoing topic of discussion).
So, for now, keep on keepin’ on. Check out our Legislative Tracker for a full listing of all the bills for his year’s legislative session. And of course, contact any of the Altitude attorneys at [email protected] or 303-432-9999 if you have questions!