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  • 12/01/2017 4:22 PM | Bridget Sebern (Administrator)

    By Jeffrey B. Smith, HindmanSanchez P.C.

    Often times there is confusion as to who is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the association and the costs associated with damages in an association. It is easy to misunderstand what maintenance responsibilities are those of the owner, and which responsibilities are those of the association. 

    Pursuant to Section 307(1) of the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) it is the association’s responsibility to maintain common elements (including general and limited common elements) and it is owners’ duty to maintain their units in the absence of a statement to the contrary in the declaration.  Additionally this same provision authorizes associations and their agents to enter units for the purpose of providing such maintenance.

    If your association was created after July 1, 1992, and the governing documents are silent on the issue, Section 307(1) of CCIOA comes into the picture setting forth default maintenance obligations for both associations and owners.  Specifically, Section 307(1) provides that absent a contrary requirement in the declaration, owners are responsible for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of their units and everything inside their units.

    Section 307(1) also requires associations to maintain, repair, and replace common elements in a community.  The definition of “common elements” in CCIOA includes both general and limited common elements.  So absent a contrary requirement in the declaration, post-CCIOA associations must maintain, repair, and replace all general and limited common elements in their communities.

    In the case of many condominium communities, access to certain common elements is only possible by entering a unit.  In those situations, Section 307(1) requires owners to allow associations and their agents to access units if such access is “reasonably necessary” for the purpose of maintaining, repairing, or replacing common elements.  Therefore, if a community was created after CCIOA and the declaration is silent concerning access to units, the association can still utilize Section 307(1) of CCIOA as legal authority for gaining access to units for the purposes stated above.

    But associations should be careful as any damage caused by an association, or its agents, to a unit while maintaining, repairing, or replacing common elements accessible through such unit, will be the obligation of the association to repair.  By the same token, any common element damaged by an owner while maintaining his/her unit must be repaired by such owner at his/her expense.

    Owners are generally responsible for maintaining anything within the unit boundaries. However, every set of covenants includes different language and allocations.  One should always review the Declaration to determine who has the maintenance responsibility for certain items within their own association. Sometimes, if an owner or an association acts negligently through the course of its maintenance obligations, such party may be responsible for damage caused outside of their maintenance responsibilities.  The example below will show why it is not always easy for an owner or an association to determine who is liable for damages within an association.

    Take the example of a pipe within a unit that serves only that unit (call it Unit A).  This pipe freezes, breaks, leaks and causes water damage to Unit B and/or common elements.  Per the declaration, the owner is responsible for the maintenance of the pipe, so the owner of Unit A bears the expense for repairing the pipe within Unit A and any damage to property within Unit A.  Nevertheless, that does not mean the owner of Unit A must pay to repair or restore damaged property in Unit B and/or the common elements unless the declaration for the condominium association assigns that liability to the owner of Unit A or, absent that, unless the owner of Unit A was negligent.  

    The law provides that the occurrence of an accident does not raise any presumption of negligence on the part of either party.  An unforeseeable failure of a pipe or connection is not sufficient to support a finding of negligence.  Therefore, following the example above, the condominium association would be responsible for any repairs to common elements for which it had the maintenance obligation, and the owner of Unit B would be responsible for the repair and restoration of any property in Unit B for which that owner had a maintenance obligation, even though the damage originated from Unit A.  Thus, maintenance cost tracks or follows the maintenance responsibility in the absence of negligence.

    On the other hand, if there were signs or warnings of an approaching break (such as the owner of Unit A knowing the weather was going to turn cold and leaving the unit unheated), the conclusion may be different.  

    If there is ever a question as to who has the maintenance and repair responsibility within an association, you should contact legal counsel immediately for a thorough review of the governing documents to help prevent additional damages

    Jeffrey B. Smith is an associate at the law firm of HindmanSanchez P.C. where his practice focuses on covenant enforcement and litigation matters for homeowners associations.  Jeff may be reached at (303) 991-2066 or jsmith@hindmansanchez.com.

  • 12/01/2017 4:20 PM | Bridget Sebern (Administrator)

    By Will Denning, Palace Restoration

    DENVER, CO – For many, deep cleaning their carpet is often a response to a spill or an ornery pet. While this can restore the appearance of a room, it may not have much of an impact on the longevity of the carpet itself.

    Let’s face it – carpeting for a house is a major expense. It’s an even bigger one for an entire managed community. Unfortunately, most don’t realize that the expense of a carpet doesn’t disappear when the installer leaves. If neglected or cared for improperly, this expense can quickly end up on the shoulders of the property manager, even just a few years after construction is complete. However, if regularly cleaned and vacuumed, it is not unrealistic to expect carpet to last for 10-15 years.

    Vacuuming regularly is the easiest way for property managers and tenants to preserve the life of their carpet. As dirt and dust build up on carpet fibers, they attract even more dirt and dust. Pretty soon, you are walking on a breeding ground for bacteria and allergens. Now consider the kids and pets who come into close contact with this carpet daily and you’re got a recipe for stuffy noses, breathing problems or worse.

    Of course, you can have your maintenance team rent carpet cleaning equipment to improve the look of the carpet but the consumer-grade equipment and cleaning products this process uses will come up short on invigorating the carpet fibers themselves. Regular, professional carpet cleaning can not only remove dirt and stains but the high grade cleaning products the pros have access to will eradicate bacteria and restore the structure of the fibers themselves.

    The result is not only a clean-looking carpet, but one that will be devoid of germs and just as soft as the day it was installed.

    Be forewarned, however. Not all cleaning services maintain professional credentials that ensure their ability to identify all the different carpet fibers and the proper cleaning methods for each of them. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the official body for certifying restoration contractors in everything from carpet cleaning to mold and smoke remediation. Be diligent when seeking out a contractor that retains certifications for their firms and technicians that require training on all current regulations, cleaning methods, and carpet types.

    While the cost of professional carpet cleaning may at first seem like a lot to swallow, consider the cost of replacing that same carpet every five years. Now multiply that by however many buildings are in your community.

    Protecting your carpet investment is not just the bottom line. Clean, healthy carpet is an investment in a clean, healthy community for kids, pets, and everyone else.

  • 12/01/2017 4:18 PM | Bridget Sebern (Administrator)

    By Gary Heslington, TRA Snow and Sun

    Are you tired of dealing with damage caused by ice dams and icicles?  Are you frustrated with having to fix roof penetrations each spring that are damaged or broken off during the winter?  Does the thought of repairing or replacing one more rain gutter make you lose sleep at night?  Then you need to finish reading this article.  

    For many, dealing with such problems has just become one of those annoying issues you are forced to deal with each year.  But what if you didn’t have to deal with it?  What if there was a permanent way to avoid these issues each year?   Well there is a solution!

    It is called “Snow Retention Systems”.  That’s right – put a system on the roof that will hold snow and ice in place and keep it from sliding or moving.  Sounds a bit crazy at first, doesn’t it?  We always think we need to get that snow off the roof – not keep it on.  But think about it for a minute.  The problems we just talked about are all the result of snow and ice moving instead of staying put.

    So, is this the trendy, new “fidget spinner” of the roofing industry?  No way!  In fact, snow retention has been around for centuries.  For some reason, the pendulum just swung away from it for a while here in the Western United States, but many architects and building designers are now utilizing it in their designs, especially in areas with heavy annual snow fall.  But there are a lot of buildings out there that should have it but don’t.   

    I know what you’re thinking right now.  This sort of makes sense but are the roofs I deal with really going to hold all that snow?  Especially those years with really heavy snow fall?  Yes, they will, at least in most cases.  Due to updated building codes, almost all buildings constructed since 1975 were designed to be able to hold all that snow on the roof.  Good to know, isn’t it?

    Now let’s discuss some issues related to snow and ice moving or sliding off roofs that you may not have considered.  To begin, go to this short YouTube video.  You will love it.  It will introduce you to a new concept – Roof-alanches:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rstKvsXSjzI

    Pretty cool isn’t it?  Could you feel the power of all that snow cascading off those roofs?  Unfortunately, it isn’t too uncommon for people to be trapped and even killed in such occurrences.  When it does happen, insurance companies like to consider it an Act of God.  But is it really?  Especially when it is completely avoidable?  What a great reason to utilize snow retention!!  Use it to save lives and avoid the liabilities that, unfortunately, always follow.

    Snow and ice cascading off roofs can also result in severe property damage such as crushing cars and A/C units.  It also regularly tears off gutters, balconies and patio railings. 

    But snow and ice doesn’t have to come off in dramatic Roof-alanches to cause damage.  Sometimes it only slides from one part of the roof onto another.  For example, snow can slide from the main portion of the roof to a dormer.  When the sliding snow hits the dormer, it will many times stop, but the force of the moving snow will often cause severe damage to the dormer.  Sometimes you have no idea what caused the damage once the snow and ice has melted and the damage is visible.  With asphalt shingles, we often see an even more subtle type of damage.  Ice only has to move a very short distance to damage these shingles once the ice has frozen to the granules on the surface.  The ice pulls the granules free and then they are washed away when the ice melts.  The result is premature aging of the roof. 

    I think you get the idea.  So how do you find out more about utilizing snow retention systems?  Simply contact a snow retention company and ask about a free engineered layout and estimate.  It is an easy, no cost way, to get started.  So, don’t’ delay!  Protect your properties with engineered “Snow Retention Systems” and start sleeping better at night.

    Gary Heslington has been working for TRA Snow and Sun for nearly two years as their Business Development Manager.  TRA Snow and Sun is a pioneer in modern, fully engineered, snow retention systems and are leading out in establishing codes and standards in the snow retention industry.  For more information go to www.trasnowandsun.com.

  • 12/01/2017 4:17 PM | Bridget Sebern (Administrator)

    By David A. Firmin, Esq, HindmanSanchez P.C.

    Winter in a community association can be beautiful, serene, and of course wrought with perils from freezing pipes to slip and falls. In addition to the pipes and snow, the association also must consider the pressures of its budgets. Associations will look to trim snow removal costs in order to balance budgets by increasing the inches of snow that falls prior to calling for snow removal. These strategies, while well intentioned, may cause more problems than they are worth. 

    Associations have legal responsibilities under the governing documents and through established common law to take sufficient steps to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers of which the association knows or should know upon reasonable inquiry. With this standard in mind, the association can take several steps to mitigate risks and avoid potential pitfalls that come with the winter months. 


    As with all factors, education of both the owners and the board can go a long way. Prior to the first freeze of the season, the association should discuss the winter issues, including the importance of keeping a minimum level of heat in the units. Additionally, keeping cabinet doors open at night can assist in the air flow in the unit allowing warm air to keep pipes from freezing. 

    The board should also take time to walk the property with its elected snow removal contractor. Point out to the contractor problem areas that tend to collect ice along with where the snow storage areas will be located. The board should also point out those areas that may need extra attention, which can be given while the contractor is there during the first snow push allowing for proactive snow removal. 

    These problem areas can also be pointed out to the owners and residents within the community. This will assist residents in avoiding these problems areas. 

    Be Proactive 

    When dealing with snow removal issues, the association should look for ways to address the issues prior to their becoming a problem. Proactive ideas for winter issues include email blasts to owners prior to freeze and snow events reminding owners to turn up heating, opening cabinet doors, and if needed moving cars to allow efficient snow removal.  The association may also consider placing ice melt or sand stations in problem areas (identified in the snow walk).  

    Encourage owners to promptly report problem areas as soon as they are known. The association can then take steps to mitigate these issues.  

    In the Event of a Lawsuit…Don’t Panic

    Of course, even the most prepared and diligent association can run into trouble. In order to ensure that the association is in the best possible position to defend a suit, the association should establish and follow policies and procedures for regular inspections, snow and ice removal, supervision of vendors, and posting warnings. If the association is notified of a slip and fall, the association should investigate the alleged area of the fall. Photographs of the condition of the area should be taken and maintenance logs preserved.  

    Finally, risks can be shifted and insured through appropriate insurance coverages for the association, and through indemnity provisions in contracts with vendors and warnings. Associations should team with their insurance professionals as well as legal counsel to ensure coverages are sufficient to withstand these perils. In addition to the association’s master policy, the association should encourage its owners to revisit their personal policies. Make sure the owners and tenants have sufficient coverage for their personal property along with items not covered by the association’s policy. 

    If the association takes the appropriate steps, “Winter is Coming” will not strike the association with fear of slips, falls, broken pipes and lawsuits (or dragons), but rather good tidings and cheer.

    David Firmin is the Managing Partner at HindmanSanchez P.C. in Lakewood, CO. HindmanSanchez is a HOA law firm serving the Denver Metro area, Northern and Southern Colorado, and the mountain communities.

  • 12/01/2017 4:15 PM | Bridget Sebern (Administrator)

    By Evelyn Saavedra, CMCA

    Q: Explain the differences in maintenance between high rises and single-family homes?

    A: Maintenance is important for all homes; however, what you do, or don’t do, in a high rise can leave your neighbors at risk.

    In single family homes changes to the interior of a home typically don’t impact neighbors.  Residents transitioning from single family homes to condos have a lot more to consider when modifying their unit. For example, the underlayment for flooring used in single-family homes might not be neighbor friendly in a high-rise environment, depending on its STC/IIC ratings. What is STC/IIC? STC (Sound Transmission Class) is a rating for how well the underlayment reduces airborne sound such as music. IIC (Impact Insulation Class) is the rating for how well the underlayment reduces impact sounds such as someone walking.  Some high rises restrict hard surface flooring like hardwood altogether eliminating any worry about this; however, with proper ratings and installation hard surface flooring can be installed with minimal impact.  

    Maintenance of appliances and the unit itself is also important. A simple item can easily impact other units. Think about where the water from a leaking refrigerator hose could travel to. No one wants to be in the unit below that is “rained” on. Yikes!  

    Q: What are some key factors to consider for high rise maintenance?

    A: One of the most important factors is figuring out a way to prioritize and track historical issues. Life and safety equipment should always be the top priority, and providing utility services to units is secondary. Why are historical issues important? If a manager starts to see trends, it may point to bigger issues.

    In one of the buildings I managed, I noticed multiple complaints about the smell of marijuana coming from another unit. After looking at the locations of the complaints on various floors, we noticed there was one thing in common, they all were on the same exhaust stack. After conducting a simple airflow test on multiple bathroom exhausts, it was clear this was the path transferring the smell. We then discovered that the shaft was never fully completed, and the large section that was missing was causing the smells to be transferred to other units.    

    Q: What is a BMS System and why is important for a high rise?

    A: BMS stands for Building Management System also known as Building Automation System (BAS), which is a computer based system used to control and monitor a building’s mechanical and electrical equipment. With proper forethought and setup, this type of system can be used to identify issues before the residents experience the outcome of the issue.

    For example, installing a sensor on the water temperature output of a chiller that has an alarm set to sound if the water temperature reaches a certain point, gives managers an indication that there might be an imminent loss of air conditioning. This allows managers to get ahead of the problem and fix the issue before the residents are impacted.  

    Q: What can residents do to help with the building maintenance?

    A: While many people buy in high rises looking for a lock and leave situation, there are important things that need taken care of within each unit. First, don’t delay on repairing a running toilet or leaking faucet.

    It is also important to think about what is put down sewer lines and garbage disposals. It is shocking to hear about the things that plumbers pull out of sewer lines throughout the city. The garbage disposal is intended to grind down table scraps from your plate, with some small exceptions, not to be used as an in-sink trash can. As for pasta and rice? No way! Those items expand and swell, causing unnecessary clogs. Grease from a cooking pan also is not good for drains. It will solidify and act as a glue and plug with other items in the sewer lines. Things like this can lead to a sewer backup and, if not caught early enough, cause a lot of damage to everything around. Be kind, and remember in a high rise the sewer lines open to all of the units throughout the building.  

    Remember, in a high rise everyone has different perspectives on maintenance and what is important. Most owners and residents want to be able to have a simpler life, and no longer worry about snow removal, landscaping and many of the maintenance items to that come into play with a single-family home. On the other hand, the manager and staff must be concerned with these items to ensure a correctly working building. However, maintenance awareness from both managers and residents leads to an improved high-rise experience for everyone.

    Evelyn Saavedra is the Community Association Manager for the Residences at Penterra Plaza, a community managed by Hammersmith Management, Inc. Hammersmith Management provides a full range of management services for condominiums, single family homes, townhouse, high-rises and large-scale properties in Colorado.

  • 12/01/2017 4:11 PM | Bridget Sebern (Administrator)

    By Nicole Stone, LMI Landscapes Inc.

    Snow removal may sound simple, however finding a contractor to meet your needs can be more challenging than expected. To understand snow removal you must first know your property’s needs, the capacity of your snow removal contractor, and the art of communicating your snow removal needs to your contractor.  Finding a balance of the above is critical for the success of your snow removal. 

    In order to set the stage for success, one must first determine the needs of your property. What are the expectations of the community, what are the trigger depths, what services do you want to have done, and do you have time sensitive needs? When determining your needs, budgets should also be taken into consideration.  When you have a clear picture of the expectations of the community, talk to your contractor relay the information so they can also understand what you are looking for. These expectations will help determine what type and the amount of equipment needed. Create a property map that shows where you would like to have the snow piled, where are your critical points, and any other detailed items that your contractor may need. 

    Once the needs have been established, the next step is to search for the right contractor to meet those needs. Finding a snow removal service might sound like a simple task, however this might be the most difficult task of all. Here are some guidelines to assist when searching for a snow removal contractor:

    • Are they a reputable company?
    • Do they have insurance? 
    • What services do they provide? 
    • What are their rates? 
    • How do they track the hours on the property?

     Snow storms do not operate under regular scheduled hours, so many storms take place throughout the evening when you’re fast asleep. This is when knowing your contractor’s reputation becomes crucial.

    After the storm has passed, walk with your contractor see what was done well and look at what could be done better or more efficiently on future storms. These walks are critical at the beginning of the snow season.  If this is your contractor’s first storm, understand that changes might be necessary moving forward. While a plan might be in place, many obstacles could change the direction of that plan. Having a plan to start with is important, understanding that it might change is just as imperative. 

    Remember, this is not a game of the Price is Right. This is finding the right contractor who can handle your community needs along with the ability to perform the services requested. Providing a clear picture to your contractor of your needs will help result in a successful snow removal season for all parties involved. This sets the stage for the art of snow removal. 

    LMI Landscapes Inc. has been successfully servicing the green industry in Dallas, Austin, and Denver since 1987. We are comprised of three divisions; Construction and Irrigation Installation, Maintenance, Enhancements, and Irrigation, and Snow Removal Services. 

  • 12/01/2017 9:17 AM | Bridget Sebern (Administrator)

    By Justin Foy, RS, Senior Vice President, SBSA

    Ready or not, community associations and all other occupancies within Denver will be required to construct green roofs, install a combination of green roof/solar energy collection, or pay a fee to be exempt from this requirement. Following in the footsteps of cities like San Francisco and Toronto, Denver voters recently approved Initiative 300. This environmental measure aims to reduce the heat island effect, naturally drain and filter stormwater, and reduce greenhouse emissions.  This Amendment to the Denver Building Code will go into effect January 1, 2018. 

    The law will apply to every building in the City and County of Denver that has a height equal to or greater than four stories or 50-feet and a gross floor area of 25,000-square-feet or more. The adjacent diagram shows how the green roof coverage requirement ratchets up with incremental increases in floor area. 

    The law will allow a combination of green roof and solar energy collection as long as the combination is no less than 30-percent green roof and retains or collects for reuse at least the first 1/4-inch from each rainfall or 50-percent of annual rainfall volume. 

    At a minimum, the law will require every green roof to be constructed with the following assembly (in order from roof deck up): an appropriate waterproof membrane for a green roof system, root repellent system, drainage system, filtering layer, growing medium, and plants, as shown in the diagram to the left. 

    Because the City wants to ensure that each building’s structure can handle a green roof system, the weight of the green roof and solar panels may require building modifications to the structural components. Consideration from the foundation to the roof will have to be made, including deflection and ponding due to permanent loads now affixed to the building. Without the original structural drawings, your community may have to deconstruct the interior finishes to determine the structural systems used. 

    If the vegetation areas are not uniform in loading, the effects of non-uniform or unbalanced loads, including drift loading against the sides of the beds, may have major impacts on the existing structural systems.

    A wind uplift pressure and scour report will need to be prepared and stamped by a Professional Engineer when applying for a permit. Although the overall weight of the green roof system may account for the vertical loads, individual layers must be evaluated for their ability to resist both uplift and wind scouring forces. The report will need to show how the green roof design addresses these forces.  

    To ensure structural and waterproofing integrity, test protocols that can be used to validate each component prior to application of the overlying component should be conducted. These include the use of sensors or other means to document pre- and post-conditions, such as:  

    1. Flood test
    2. Electric field vector mapping
    3. Impedance test
    4. Infrared thermal imaging 
    5. Low voltage testing
    6. High voltage testing
    7. Moisture sensors 

    The new law will dictate the vegetation performance and specify that the growing media be a minimum of 4-inches. No noxious weeds can be used. The plant selection and design will need to be used for urban agriculture or, within three (3) years of planting, the plantings will need to cover no less than 80-percent of the vegetated roof area. It is suggested that a landscape architect be engaged to provide recommendations and maintenance to ensure plant viability, particularly during droughts or winter.

    A plan that defines the routine maintenance and necessary inspections for the green roof media and plantings to perform their required function will be required to be submitted with the permit application. Community associations will need to be aware of the operating and reserve budget impacts with the new roof system and as a new common element will require a change to the declarations under the procedures outlined by Colorado law. 

    The new law provides exemptions or variances when it is proven that a community is unable to meet the green roof requirements. If two or more of the following circumstances are met, then an exemption may be permitted:

    1. The building is being used for seasonal purposes.
    2. The building is designed in such a way that it would not be possible to meet the requirements. 
    3. The building retains or collects for re-use at least the first 1/4-inch for each rainfall or 50-percent of the annual rainfall volume falling on the roof through systems that incorporate roof surfaces.
    4. The building has an Energy Star Building Rating of 80 or higher. 

    A community can also make a payment of “cash-in-lieu” of construction of a green roof for the reduced or exempted area based on the average actual cost of construction of a green roof, which at this time is $25.00 per square foot. Denver will recommend changes to the cost bi-annually.

    Regardless of whether a community association chooses to comply with the new law or make a cash-in-lieu payment, the impact of the new requirements will be far reaching if not impossible to meet. Communities will now need to carefully consider factors such as how to afford a new green roof system, the structure to accommodate a green roof, how it will be accessed, how it will be maintained, insurance policy updates, and reserve study updates.

    Justin has project managed over $120 million in construction repair and rehabilitation projects for community associations across the United States. He has conducted over 1000 property investigations, property condition assessments, and capital reserve studies.  Justin was designated the 59th Reserve Specialist (RS) in the United States in 2001. 

  • 10/01/2017 12:16 PM | Bridget Sebern (Administrator)

    By Elina B. Gilbert, Esq., HindmanSanchez

    Associations are oftentimes confused with the police.  After all, it is not atypical for community managers or board members to receive calls from owners complaining about crime in their communities and demanding the associations do something about it.  Whether it’s alleged drug use, car theft, or domestic violence, associations seem to be the first place owners turn to for help.

    Although many boards try to do the right thing and take steps to provide some levels of security in the communities, no good deed goes unpunished.  Oftentimes, such boards end up in court trying to defend themselves against claims alleging a failure to protect.  In other words, crime victims in the community allege the security measures were not enough to protect them, and blame the associations for not providing enough security or good security.

    So what is an association to do?  To minimize an association’s exposure to liability pertaining to security measures, consider the following tips:

    • Review the governing documents to determine if the community has a duty to protect or provide security.  If the association does not have such duty, it may not be worth the risk to begin providing security.  Remember, once an association starts providing security, it has taken on the obligation to provide such security in a good and reasonable manner.  Failure to do so exposes the association to liability.
    • Stay well informed of changes in the law.  For example, there are court decisions that held associations liable to owners who were crime victims in their communities because, for example, associations refused to add lighting to dark areas in communities or did not allow owners to install their own security measures.
    • Establish and follow procedures for regular inspection of premises (e.g., lighting, locks, fences, cameras, etc.).  This will allow the board to immediately repair and provide maintenance to those portions of the community that help keep it a safe place to live.
    • Consult with appropriate professionals prior to making modifications to lighting, fencing, cameras, etc. to ensure such modifications would not negatively impact the residents’ security.
    • Consult with your insurance carrier and legal counsel prior to taking any action with security implications (e.g., hiring armed guards or installing cameras).
    • If a community is installing cameras on the premises, it is imperative that signs also be placed with the cameras indicating the cameras are for surveillance purposes only and not for security.  This will ensure residents and guests do not rely on such cameras for their protection.
    • Promptly investigate and respond in writing to every resident’s request for protective measures, inquiry, or complaint about security.  Keep track of criminal activity in your community and neighboring communities and report to residents if you see significant increases.
    • Offer awareness and educational workshops for association residents (e.g., police department, private security companies, insurance agents, etc.).
    • Avoid use of the words “security,” “safety,” and “protection”.
    • Avoid making representations or giving assurances to residents and guests concerning security or safety in the community.
    • Notify residents in writing if the community reduces security for any reason prior to reducing the security.
    • Consult with your insurance representative to ensure you have adequate insurance (general liability and Directors & Officers) to cover claims and legal actions alleging a failure to protect.

    Elina Gilbert is a shareholder at HindmanSanchez P.C. and specializes in representation of Homeowners Associations and Community Association law.  Please visit www.hindmansanchez.com for more information.

  • 10/01/2017 12:15 PM | Bridget Sebern (Administrator)

    Sheriff's Office Behind the Badge Newsletter Topic: Is Your Home Secure? 

    Put it to the Test!

    Is your home ready to resist crime? Our crime prevention deputies are offering a short quiz on home security that can be taken in just a few minutes. A ‘no’ answer signifies the areas where you can improve upon your home’s security. Take the complete 75-question home security survey http://jeffco.us/sheriff/crime-prevention-safety/residential-security/

    Home Exterior

    The way a house’s exterior looks, and even how it sounds, can discourage a would-be thief from approaching. Crime prevention experts recommend a well-lit exterior with a bit of stone or gravel at points around the home. Landscaping plants should not be so thick that they can conceal a person approaching. Tree limbs should not provide access to upper floors.

    •Are your house numbers at least 4 inches tall (preferably 6 inches) and clearly visible from the street both day and night?

    •Are trees located so they cannot be used to climb to an upper level of the home?

    •Is there decorative stone or rock that makes noise when someone walks on it near the home?

    •Do household members routinely secure items of value such as bicycles, lawn mowers, ladders, etc. when not in use?

    •If there are detached buildings on the property (garage, shed, barn, etc.), are the doors and windows kept locked?

    •Are vehicles locked and garage door opener remotes removed from them?

    Doors & Windows

    Structurally sound and locked doors and windows are critical components of a secure building. Doors and windows can provide false comfort if they’re cheaply made, easily compromised or often kept unlocked.

    •Are exterior door strike plates secured to the frame of the house with screws at least three inches in length?

    •Have locking “Charlie” bars been installed in the center of sliding glass doors in lieu of wooden dowels in the bottom track?

    •Are exterior doors kept locked, even when someone is home?

    •Are door locks in good repair?

    •Do occupants of the home avoid hiding keys outside the residence (other than in a lockbox secured to the structure)?

    •Do basement windows have security bars, grills, or other locking covers? 


    The garage is all too often an easy entry point for thieves. Many people do not secure their garage doors as well as other exterior doors. 

    •Is the overhead garage door kept closed when not in use?

    •Is the pedestrian door between the garage and the home kept locked?

    •Are windows into the garage covered or frosted to prevent visual inspection of valuables from the exterior?


    Recording an inventory of valuables and securing important documents today can prevent future headaches if your home is burglarized.

    •Have valuable papers (birth certificates, titles, deeds, social security cards, checks, tax records, passports, etc.) been secured in a fire resistant safe or in a safe deposit box?

    •Do you have an accurate inventory of your valuables that includes make, model, and serial numbers?

    •Does the home have a safe for storage of firearms and other valuables?

    Simple steps are often the best crime deterrents, and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to educating residents about how to prevent themselves from becoming crime victims. We strongly encourage residents to be proactive about crime prevention. 

    Sheriff's Office Behind the Badge Newsletter Topic: The Power of Crime Prevention

    Did you know about two thirds of car “break-ins” in Jefferson County happen to cars left unlocked? Meaning there’s no “break-in” at all. As of the first of October, 634 car trespasses were reported in JeffCo. Of those, 66 percent were unforced. Clearly, criminals take the path of least resistance.

    Unfortunately, minor crimes like car trespasses often involve the theft of identifying materials like credit cards, licenses, or registrations – allowing thieves to commit much bigger identity theft crimes soon after. 

    Since criminals usually look for the lowest-hanging fruit, prevention methods are effective in keeping crime rates low. Yes, there will always be unpredictable and unpreventable crimes. But we know many of the crimes in our county can be prevented. 

    The Sheriff’s Office has a dedicated team of certified crime prevention deputies whose sole purpose is to work with citizens to prevent crime. Through on-site visits, phone calls, special events, child safety activities, and other opportunities, these deputies share vital information with the public on how to keep crime at bay. 

    Source and additional resources http://jeffco.us/sheriff/crime-prevention-safety/

    Jefferson County

    Crime Prevention deputies are available to attend community meetings and events to educate on various timely topics and address safety concerns. To learn more about crime prevention contact our crime prevention deputies at 303-271-5807 or email: crimeprevention@jeffco.us.

    Douglas County

    The DCSO Community Resources Unit offers free surveys of your home or business to help keep you, your family, and/or your employees, customers, or co-workers safe. A DCSO staff member will come to your home or business and walk through the facility and evaluate security. They’ll give you a written assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the physical security of the facility, along with recommendations to improve it. For a security survey please call 303-660-7544.

    Arapahoe County

    Two deputies are assigned as Crime Prevention Specialists providing educational programs and safety information to local businesses and homeowner associations. Crime Prevention is a top priority for the Sheriff's Office, requiring the cooperation of law enforcement and the community, working together toward a common goal. Contact Deputy Brian McKnight 720-874-3750 or bmcknight@arapahoegov.com.




  • 10/01/2017 12:13 PM | Bridget Sebern (Administrator)

    By Chris Vetter, Transcend Security Solutions

    A Community Association Board has many responsibilities including, but not limited to, setting goals and approving budgets, developing and enforcing CC&R’s, and hiring quality vendors such as landscapers, security providers, janitorial companies, pool companies, etc. While the Community Manager’s responsibilities include many areas of service, providing the board with guidance in making important decisions is certainly one of the most important. 

    Crime within or against a community not only has an emotional impact on the community; it has a financial impact as well. In-the-end, Community Association Boards have a responsibility to protect the investments of their community members, because a home is typically a person’s largest financial investment. Consequently, protecting property values should be a core concern of any Community Association Board.

    In that vein, one of the toughest decisions for any Community Association Board is the selection of a contract security provider. Community Association Boards that make this decision based solely on price often find themselves dissatisfied with the services provided and end up moving from security company to security company, which can create a lack of confidence between the Community Association Board, the residents, and ultimately the Community Manager. This is where the expertise of a Community Manager is of vital importance.

    The general goal of this article is to provide Community Managers with some guidance, useful tips, and practical tools for themselves and the community they represent before, during, and after a security program is put into place.

    Prevention is the most effective action against crime. And the only way to accomplish “prevention” is to put into place an effective security program, targeted specifically for the community it is being put into practice for. Factors to consider before establishing a security program or selecting a new contract security provider:

    • What potentials for danger and crime exist in your area? Utilizing free online crime statistics reporting outlets such as Community Crime Map (www.communitycrimemap.com) assists greatly in the overall development of a sound security program.
    • What security related requirements are in a community’s governing documents?
    • What exactly and/or who specifically does the community want to protect?
    • Who will be responsible for researching, implementing, and evaluating the security program?
    • Are there insurance considerations and/or security related liability issues?
    • How will a community measure the effectiveness of their security program?

    If the determination has been made to implement a security program, it’s now time to select a capable security provider. In order to ensure that all efforts are made in selecting a capable security provider, and to make certain that their Community Association Board is obtaining all of the information and experience they require and deserve, here are some relevant questions for Community Managers to ask those security providers who enter the bidding process to provide community security services:


    • What does the application process entail? (Phone Interview, face-to-face interview, virtual interview, etc.)
    • Are assessments conducted? (How are officer candidate competencies verified)


    • Do they conduct and meet your state, and/or local municipalities training requirements?
    • Is additional training provided?
    • Is community-specific training available and/or provided?
    • How is the training conducted (live, on-site, virtual, etc.)?
    • Is the training verifiable?

    Reporting & Verification Process:

    • Is reporting done with pen and paper or electronically?
    • How long are reports stored?
    • Can the Community Manager access reporting data?

    Equipment & Technology:

    • Are there added costs for equipment? (cell phones, tour systems, bikes, etc.)
    • Who owns the equipment and technology at the end of the contract?
    • Is the technology provided proprietary?
    • Will the Community Association Board and/or Community Manager have access to incident, maintenance, and analytic reports?


    • Is a waiver of subrogation provided?
    • Is a primary and noncontributory endorsement provided?
    • Is the policy a “per policy” or “per project” policy?
    • Do they have a key loss endorsement?

    After a security program has been implemented, it now becomes essential to determine if the security program is actually working. The security provider, together with the Community Association Board, should be able to answer the following on an ongoing basis:

    • Has overall crime increased or decreased?
    • Has crime affected property values? (this information is typically gathered by the Community Manager)
    • What is the security providers response to crime?

    The bottom-line is simple, contracting with a competent security provider is not only beneficial to the community, it is essential to provide a safe environment for the community residents. 

    Chris Vetter is chief executive officer and co-founder of Transcend Security Solutions. Chris brings more than 20 years of leadership, expertise, and executive management experience to the company. Through Chris' leadership, the company has experienced rapid growth since inception, allowing Transcend Security Solutions to be recognized as one of the premiere contract security providers in Arizona.

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