The HOA Time Bomb

APA Colorado Chapter


Friday, October 6, 2017
8 a.m. - 9 a.m. MDT

CM | 1
L | 1

Add to My Log


For decades, cities and counties have required that Homeowners Associations (HOAs) be created to operate and maintain roads, parks, trails, and other amenities that the community requires in new development, but that the city or county does not want to maintain. The problem is that many of those HOAs do not have the financial strength to carry out their obligations. This session will address the growing problems created by over-reliance on HOAs as partners in infrastructure maintenance, and what options local governments have to addressing HOA failures and potential failures.

Learning Objectives

1. Learn about the growing reliance on HOAs for property operation and maintenance and common structures used to implement it

2. Learn about the inherent problems created by reliance on HOAs that are too weak or too small to carry out their duties

3. Learn about strategies to avoid relying on HOAs that are likely to fail or be unable to fulfill their functions.

4. Learn about tools and strategies that local governments can do when HOAs fail or are threatened with failure.


  1. Introduction to speakers and topic
  2. The pressures leading to increasing reliance on HOAs
    1. Tax limitations
    2. Anti-growth atttitudes
  3. Basics of HOA finance
    1. Legal authority
    2. Standard HOA structure
    3. Size and diversity of product types matter
  4. Scenarios for failure
    1. Soft housing market
    2. Zombie subdivisions
    3. Below-standard infrastructure
    4. Aging infrastructure
  5. And when they fail – the local government’s dilema
    1. Accept and maintain the infrastructure
    2. Allow the infrastructure to fail/deteriorate
  6. Potential solutions to the challenge
    1. Size and diversity criteria for new HOAs
    2. Better infrastructure quality standards
    3. Government created taxing/assessment districts
    4. Expedited lien procedures

Conclusion – Questions and Answers

CM Criteria

1.    This session addresses a growing trend of general concern to both city and county planners, and one that can have serious financial implications for local governments if not addressed promptly.

2.    None of the cases presented were designed or implemented by any private firms included in the presentation, and the examples are not promotional.

3.    The presenters all have experience either drafting legal provisions for local governments or HOAs, or in negotiating solutions to the problems of failing HOAs.

4.    All of the tools presented are those available to experienced planners that can put them to use after education about the risks involved in HOA reliance and the warning signs of unsustainable HOAs.

5.    The session is presented with ample opportunity for raising local examples from attendees and discussing potential solutions to those challenges.

6.    Attendance will be taken, an evaluation of the session will be administered, and the organizer is a responsible point of contact for administration of the session with significant experience in organizing and administering CM sessions in the past.


Mark K. Payne

Invited Speaker

Mark Payne is the managing partner at Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne, LLP where he specializes in representing community associations in Colorado. Mark provides general counsel to homeowners associations, including counseling boards about responsible governance; preparation of opinions and recommendations for boards of directors; review and amendment of association governing documents; drafting and amendment of contracts; completion and build-out of incomplete communities; and assisting newly-formed associations during the period of declarant control and transition ... Read More

Donald Elliott, FAICP

Confirmed Speaker

Donald L. Elliott is a Director with Clarion Associates, LLC, a national land use consulting firm. Don’s practice focuses on land planning and zoning and international land and urban development issues. He is the author of A Better Way to Zone (Island Press 2008), co-author of The Rules that ... Read More

Contact Info

Shelia Booth,