Residents of an income-controlled HOA in Denver are complaining that some of their HOA management companies are charging them $35 to send a certified letter stating that they may face penalties for HOA violations. Rowcall, a management company, is charging residents $75 for certified mail notifying them of late payments.
“They charged me $35 just to send a weed letter!” Jacinta Lobato, who has owned Moline Street for three years, is furious. “It’s absolutely ridiculous. No one should have to pay $35 to get a letter,” Lobato said.
When she fell behind on her HOA payments, RowCal sent her a certified letter notifying her of the delinquency and charged her $75 for postage.
Not far away, Macarena Salazar, a neighbor, was also charged $35 for a letter that warned her she would be fined if she didn’t trim the bushes in front of her house.
In a community with low- and moderate-income families, a monthly HOA fee of $105, a $35 fee for mail or a $75 fee is putting a strain on some bank accounts.
“It’s $35 — I can fill my gas tank with that,” Salazar said.
Last year, the Colorado Legislature passed the HOA Accountability and Transparency Act in an attempt to improve the relationship between HOAs, their management companies and their residents. Signed into law in June 2022, HOAs and their management companies must notify residents of various issues by certified mail and other means. The legislation doesn’t specify who should pay for those certified letters, but Rep. Naketa Ricks (D-Arapahoe County), the bill’s lead sponsor, said she anticipates that mailing costs will be borne by HOAs and their governing bodies. Fees already paid by residents.
“The HOA fees you pay every month should cover those letters,” Ricks said.
She said the law was not intended to target residents and increase their costs.
“That’s not the intent of the bill,” Ricks said. “This shouldn’t happen.”
CBS News Colorado tried to reach RowCal twice by email, but he did not respond to inquiries. In dealing with residents, he said certified mail fees are “an administrative fee to send the violations by certified mail. That’s RowCal’s fee, and that’s the money we pay RowCal to staff to reimburse third-party mailers.” To send these letters.”
The HOA was already paying RowCal $550. According to the HOA documents for a month for the services.
When RowCal did not respond to questions from CBS News Colorado, the news station sent RowCal a certified letter to their Minnesota office. The cost of that certified mail was $5.01—much less than $35 and $75. You have been paying to send certified mail.
“They don’t have to increase the value of the letters,” Ricks said. “Don’t do this – it’s exploiting the owner of the house.”
“To me, they’re double dipping, charging the HOA and then charging the residents,” said Marnie Scheer, another Moline Street Townhomes resident. It was just about kicking someone down, it’s low-hanging fruit to make money.
Sher said that after the residents pushed back on the certified mail fee, RowCal resigned as the HOA’s management company and a new management company promised not to charge residents for certified mail.
“I don’t think either one of us thought this was right,” Lobato said.
Sher said residents have learned to inquire, ask questions and get involved with their HOA and management company.
“I learned that a community can be strong and come together and bounce back,” Sher said.