Ask the Expert

10% reserve threshold

One of your articles mentioned that federal guidelines called for 10% of the budget to go towards a reserve fund. I am president of a Colorado HOA and am unfamiliar with these guidelines. Could you provide some direction on what they are called and how I might find them?

Prohibiting manager access to unit

I am a condo owner in the Colorado mountain environment. Our HOA manager enters each unit once a month and just before extreme cold weather sets in to check on thermostat settings. Although I have no issue with these safety checks, I have typically found that the thermostat is reset to about 70 degrees. This appears to be too warm, particularly when the unit is vacant for an extended period. A setting between 50 and 60 seems to be more appropriate and not as wasteful; the board has stated that a minimum of 50 degrees is satisfactory. Many other owners have found their units well above 70, some even in the 90's. What is your recommendation for the owners? The board won't listen to our concerns. Can a homeowner prohibit the board or manager from entering the unit?

Amending quorum requirements.

We have several homeowner associations that share some common areas such as private roads, walkways and landscaping. These common areas are looked after by an umbrella association. There are a total of 423 owners under this umbrella association. Our Bylaws are very outdated as they were created in 1971 and require a majority of the owners present in person or by proxy for a meeting. Naturally, we can never get a quorum. To amend the Bylaws, we also need a 51% approval of the membership. Our board is largely ineffective, we can never get anything approved, the common areas are under serious disrepair. My main question is, how can we change our Bylaws so that we can lower the quorum and have effective voting, as well as be able to conduct business properly?