News 5 Investigates

Jul 22, 2014 11:03 PM by Eric Ross

News 5 Investigates: Homeowners Associations writing speeding tickets

What would you do if you got a speeding ticket not by police, but your Homeowners Association?

It's a controversial topic that has some homeowners living in a condominium complex in The Village at Springs Ranch on the east side of Colorado Springs upset.

As News 5 uncovers, this practice is perfectly legal, as long as the HOA states their enforcement policies in their covenants.

Amy Pacheco, a six year resident of this HOA-governed community recently received a speeding ticket in the mail. There's no indication exactly how fast she was going. The letter only stated she had been driving above the posted 10 mph speed limit which residents are required to follow.

"I don't disagree with enforcing excessive speeding," Amy said. However, it's the way they are going about it. They will literally look at your vehicle and determine with their own eyes whether you are going faster than 10 mph. There's no proof or devices being used to determined the speed."

We took her concerns to Marie Haller, the HOA board president for Amy's neighborhood.

"You can tell when someone is going more than 10 miles per hour," Haller said. "We are not required to use radar. We're not required meet the burden of proof the police department is required to meet."

Don't like the ticket?

Residents are able to contest it during the HOA monthly board meeting.

"The problem is the people reporting you for the speeding violation are the ones who are the witness, jury, and judge," Amy said. "So you can say all day long you weren't speeding but in the end, their word is better than yours."

Haller says the board didn't hand out tickets until a driver went the wrong way through the community's front gate, causing extensive damage.

"The gate closed on the vehicle," she said. "It did about $8,000 worth of damage to the gate."

Since that incident, the HOA wanted its residents to be more aware of their safety, and felt issuing tickets was a good way to get the message across.

"When you're not aware of how fast you're going, you're also not aware someone may be coming out of two parked cars and a car part," Haller said. "There's also small children here. The greatest interest here is keeping the residents safe."

No points on your license can be assessed from these fines. However, failing to pay could land you in hot water with the HOA who does have the ability to put a lien on your house.

Fines range from $100 to $200.

Police say these tickets are a civil matter and if you don't agree with them, contest it during the monthly HOA board meeting.

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome, homeowners can take their HOA to court.



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