Consumer Advisory: Don’t let HOA neighborhood parking woes ruffle your feathers this holiday season

Included: Cooking Turkey in HOA Condos

DENVER (Nov. 23, 2016) -- You’ve spent hours getting your place ready for the holidays and inviting everyone over, but before the big day arrives, take five minutes to get wise by making sure you know the parking rules of your HOA.  The Division of Real Estate, part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, houses the HOA Information and Resource Center, which advises the following:
  1. Take a moment and review your HOA’s governing documents concerning visitor parking regulations.  
  2. Read the association’s rules and ask the HOA manager or HOA board if the rules are not clear.  
Depending on if you live in a condominium or single family detached residence, different parking rules will probably apply.  Are there enough parking spaces near your home for your guests?  Are there enough handicapped accessible parking spaces for those who need them?  Are there designated visitor parking spaces for your guests, so they do not park in a resident’s reserved space? Is there a designated HOA visitor parking area or available parking on the street?  The last thing that you and your guest need is a parking violation fine or having their car towed on this wonderful holiday.
 
Gary Kujawski, DORA’s HOA Information and Resource Center Officer, also recommends you make sure that you know where your community’s fire lanes and handicap parking spaces  are located.  “Often times a guest will show up late to dinner after sundown, and the parking areas may not be well-lit, so a guest will not know if a parking spot is in a fire lane or not,” he said. “We recommend that you provide your guests directions to designated visitor parking areas well ahead of time.”
 
Cooking turkey in a condo
Cooking the perfect turkey at your condominium can be a challenge, and with space in the kitchen being a scarce commodity, some seek the open area of the their balcony as a solution.  Using a grill or frying a turkey on the balcony may seem like a great way to cook, but be aware that there are both local fire code and HOA restrictions that you should follow in order to stay safe and protect everyone’s property.
 
As an example, the City and County of Denver regulates the use of barbecues and other cooking devices on balconies, patios and decks of residential structures in its jurisdiction having more than two (2) dwelling units, including apartments, condos and townhouses.  Fire Department officials state, “no gas-fired grills, charcoal grills or other similar devices used for cooking shall be used on any balcony or under any overhanging portion or within 10 feet of any structure.”
 
“Every year we get complaints from HOA residents who sustain property damage from the use of turkey fryers, smokers and grills on or around Thanksgiving,” stated Kujawski. He recommends researching alternative electronic methods of cooking your perfect holiday turkey for use on your balcony decks. "At the end of the day however, you need to make sure that you don’t violate the local fire code and the HOA’s governing documents."
 
 
So remember:
  • If you live in an HOA, review your governing documents and in particular its rules and regulations.
  • If those regulations are not clear, contact your HOA manager or HOA board to find out what is allowed for cooking on your deck.
  • The HOA’s regulations for the use of grills on one’s deck can be more restrictive than the city’s fire code.  
  • HOA’s can take enforcement action against an owner who does not follow the rules, which will surely put a damper on your perfect Thanksgiving and holiday joy for years to come.
For more information about the HOA Resource Center, visit askDORA.colorado.gov. Read all of DORA's helpful holiday-related "Take 5 to Get Wise" consumer advisories.
 
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About DORA
The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit www.dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 1-800-886-7675

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