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How one Denver HOA is foreclosing on its residents



Last week, Denverite published a story featuring Green Valley Ranch resident Fronzo Gilkey. He’s a Navy veteran and retired postal worker who lost his Park Hill home in the 2007 financial crash. It took some hard work, but he managed to start over and buy a new house in Green Valley Ranch in 2013. Now, he says the Green Valley Ranch Master Homeowners Association is trying to take that away from him — and all because of an old Volkswagen Bug parked on the side of his house.

The HOA didn’t like it there, and slapped him with a court summons, a $1,400 fine, and the looming threat that this conflict — if left unresolved and fines left unpaid — could result in a foreclosure of his home.

He’s not the only one either. Dozens of neighborhood residents came forward recently with similar claims. Gil Gonzalez Ramos told Denver7 his $5,000 HOA fines swelled to $20,000 after late fees and legal fees snowballed out of control. Now he also could be facing foreclosure.

Foreclosure? Can HOAs do that?
Actually, yes. But a lot of people, including many of those in the Green Valley Ranch neighborhood, weren’t aware of their HOA’s power. In fact, one GVR resident said the district foreclosed on her home, and she didn’t even know until the new owner showed up on her doorstep.

When a homeowner breaks HOA rules or misses payments, the HOA can place a lien on the property and take the homeowner to court to file for a judge-ordered foreclosure.

“HOA’s have broad powers for collecting assessments and when those assessments, whether that’s fines, fees, or other assessments, are not paid, they can put a lien on a home. Those liens take precedence over even a mortgage loan. They are through the court system and their civil actions,” said Britter Fisher, director of the city’s department of housing.

And it’s happening a lot in Green Valley Ranch…
Denverite’s analysis of court documents revealed “HOAs citywide took residents to court more in 2021 than any other year in the last decade.” And the Green Valley Ranch Master HOA (aka Gilkey’s and Ramos’ HOA) was the lead offender. Of the roughly 100 HOA-related court cases in Denver last year, 52 were from the GVR HOA — and 41 of those cases resulted in foreclosure.

Why so many??
Jose Vasquez, a lawyer with nonprofit advocacy group Colorado Legal Services, thinks it might have to do with the pandemic. Though Colorado enacted a foreclosure moratorium to help homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage survive the pandemic, it didn’t apply to court-ordered foreclosures (different from mortgage foreclosures). Likewise, city-provided mortgage assistance can’t help with HOA fines.

“The same people who are falling behind on their mortgages are probably falling behind on their HOA fees, too,” Vasquez told Denverite.

Is anyone doing anything about it?
Over the weekend, District 11 Denver City Council member Stacy Gilmore, who represents the Green Valley Ranch neighborhood, hosted a community Q+A session to address the issues of at least 50 homeowners facing judicial foreclosure. 

“It’s very concerning that we’re seeing possibly 50 [foreclosures] out here in our neighborhood. And in other parts of the city, it’s less than five,” Gilmore said at the community meeting.

Last month, State House Rep. Naquetta Ricks of Arapahoe County introduced the “Homeowners’ Association Board Accountability and Transparency” bill, which aims to diminish an HOA’s seemingly impenetrable powers. The bill, which is currently under consideration, would require HOAs to offer repayment plans to homeowners facing foreclosure due to unpaid fees, and prohibits HOAs from collecting fees “for the purpose of generating revenue.”

Until then, councilmember Gilmore has said she plans to meet with Rep. Ricks to discuss other solutions.

Resources 👉 Denverite; Denver7


“So how do you get a busy restaurant? Well, one is you have happy healthy people that want to work there.”
Chef Frank Bonanno

A Toast to Our First Anniversary and Mizuna’s Future with Chef Frank Bonanno
Almost exactly one year ago, City Cast Denver welcomed its very first guest to the show: Chef Frank Bonanno. He and his wife Jacqueline run a growing empire of restaurants across the city. At the time, his flagship restaurant, and Denver culinary staple, Mizuna was celebrating its 20-year anniversary under the shadow of a possible sale and demolition.

Today, in the midst of Denver Restaurant Week, we invited Chef Frank back ahead of our very own one-year anniversary for an update on Mizuna’s real estate situation, a breakdown on some of the changes he’s made during the pandemic, and his thoughts on the future of Denver’s dining scene. 


🚨 96 deaths: That’s how many people died in Denver from homicides last year — the highest number recorded in the city since 1981 (when Denver  saw 100 homicide deaths). The record for 2020 is hardly better at 95 deaths, up from 63 in 2019. [Denver Post]

  • 💬 Denver District Attorney Beth McCann says: “I don’t think there’s a distinctive pattern. I do think the stress and frustration and anxiety that people have been feeling over the last couple years because of the pandemic and the economic uncertainty has definitely contributed.”

🥕 Denver schools’ greenhouse begins to bloom: Last fall, Denver Public Schools broke ground on the construction of a 28,000-square-foot, $3 million commercial greenhouse, with the goal of bringing fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the garden onto students’ plates. (Reportedly, it’s the first greenhouse of this nature in the nation.) Now that it’s spring and the building should be finished by May, planting has begun and students will reap delicious rewards when the fall semester kicks off. [CO Politics]

😷 More Denver institutions ditch mask/vax mandates: Denver’s Performing Arts Complex (home to Colorado Ballet, Colorado Symphony, Opera Colorado, and Denver Center for the Performing Arts) will begin to phase out COVID protocols. Throughout the month of March, each resident company will retire its proof of vaccine and mask requirements. See the phase-out schedule 👉 [9News]

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