The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (a/k/a CCIOA) was adopted by the Colorado legislature in 1992, to govern common interest communities in Colorado. Communities that do not fall under the definition of a “common interest community” are not subject to CCIOA or any of its requirements or benefits. But what exactly is a “common interest community” and how do you know if your association fits into this category?
Section 103 of CCIOA defines a common interest community as “[R]eal estate described in a declaration with respect to which a person, by virtue of such person’s ownership of a unit, is obligated to pay for real estate taxes, insurance premiums, maintenance, or improvement of other real estate described in a declaration.” To summarize, a “common interest community” must entail all the following factors:
- Real estate must be described in a declaration of covenants (i.e. condominium units or lots); and
- Owner of such real estate must be required to pay fees (i.e. assessments) associated with real estate taxes, insurance premiums, maintenance, or improvement of other real estate (i.e. common areas or other property maintained by the association); and
- Such other real estate must be described in the declaration.
Based on the above, the key components of the definition of “common interest community” are the requirements that owners of homes in the community be required to pay assessments and that at least a portion of the assessments be used to maintain or improve common areas or pay for insurance or pay for real estate taxes. It is important to note that CCIOA does not limit the payment for insurance premiums to a community’s property policy. Therefore, assessments that are used to pay insurance premiums for directors and officers insurance policies or fidelity policies are sufficient to satisfy this definition and create a common interest community.
Based on the above definition, it stands to reason that communities who do not have mandatory assessments do not satisfy the prong requiring owners to pay assessments by virtue of owning land in the pertinent community. Therefore, voluntary associations do not fall under the definition of “common interest communities” as defined by CCIOA and are not subject to CCIOA or any of its provisions. What does this mean? By way of example only, It means these types of communities are not required to adopt the nine good governance policies required by CCIOA. It also means these communities do not have an inherent right to adopt and enforce rules if such authority is not granted to them in their governing documents. Therefore, such communities are almost entirely dependent on the terms of their governing documents and cannot refer to CCIOA for any default powers.
Notwithstanding the above, even communities not bound by CCIOA can benefit by utilizing some portions of CCIOA and adding such provisions to their policies or governing documents. For example, most, if not all, communities (regardless of whether they are bound by CCIOA) can bridge the gap between their boards and owners by being transparent and adopting policies and procedures setting froth processes and providing notice to owner concerning how their associations are governed, managed, and operated.
Should you have any questions concerning the definition of a common interest community, please do not hesitate to contact one of our attorneys at 303.432.9999.