I bought my sfr 4 yrs ago in Aurora, CO and began to airbnb my primary residence in my residential neighborhood last May. We have a small hoa that has voluntary dues of $25.00 a year. Currently the hoa has a reserve of $5,000 which was about to be spent on one last project and then be disbanded forever. However my new neighbor who purchased in March of 2016 is now on the board and is trying to rally board members and residents to side against short term rentals thus giving the hoa some life. The hoa has done nothing for years, the president position has been vacant for over a year now. Since there were no covenants regarding the ban of short term rentals at the time of purchase, I believe I am grandfathered in. I have my business license with the city of Aurora codes and zoning department. The city of Aurora was one of the first cities to adopt regulations on airbnb. My question is am I grandfathered in and does my business license with the city of Aurora hold any weight in small claims court? Also I stay on premises during each stay to ensure my neighbors aren't to be disturbed. Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated.
My understanding of HOA law is that you are not grandfathered in unless the HOA creates a resolution that states that you are grandfathered. Otherwise, you are not. You are going to have to heavily petition the board and your neighbors to shut this new neighbor down.
Write impassioned speeches and communications about property rights and do your best to get this thrown out. Otherwise, you may have to go to court to get your grandfathering.
However, I am not a lawyer and, while I know quite a bit about Colorado HOA law, I am certainly no expert.
I can tell you, however, that as soon as you mention the word "lawsuit" to the rest of the board, they will look at their meager $5000 and probably cave very quickly. Better yet, spend $500 with an attorney and have them write an appropriately threatening letter and send it in.
(As a CPA, I can tell you that the legal costs are very likely tax deductible as you are defending your right to be in business).
I wouldn't screw around with this and I'd jump on it asap.
Also, get yourself voted into that President position as well
Linda, thank you so much for your input. Greatly appreciated!
Jonathan - Linda is right. You need to jump on this now. A lot depends on what your covenants (aka Declaration) state. If there is no prohibitive language regarding rentals, the Board can seek to change that with the appropriate number of votes from the members at large (normally 67%). There is no automatic grandfathering in Colorado. I regularly represent homeowners in disputes with their HOAs and have significant litigation experience under CCIOA (Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act). Assuming the Board jumps through the hoops, it can preclude you from short term rentals. If you would like to discuss, please feel to reach out.
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