HOA refuses to accommodate
HOA Wall of Shame
16 February 2017
Neil David Brooks, a disabled man, tried to reach an accommodation with
his Ft. Collins, Colorado next-door neighbor over barking dogs in 2009. Brooks
house master bedroom window was just a few feet away from the neighbors dog
The neighbor failed to address satisfactorily a series of reasonable
seek available anti-bark training for his dogs and Brooks was forced to
further action due to the lack of peace and sleep was further
failing health. The battle raged for nearly seven years.
An extensive video, photo, and paper trail of what appears to be a
series of requests that were stonewalled by the neighbor and subsequent
series of escalated requests for help from the Property Management
Board, Ft Collins City Animal Control Services, Ft Collins Police
Department, Ft. Collins City Mediator (a friend of the dog owners who destroyed the
city files of the case and left her job), all of which were stonewalled and
apparently denied or ignored.
Mr. Brooks states that he professed and offered to document his
each stage of escalation. It appears the Americans for Disabilities Act
considered or applied to Mr. Clark’s case at any stage of escalation.
Finally, his already poor health deteriorating further, Mr. Brooks and
sought a lawyer and went to court suing the HOA for not enforcing the
covenants specifically prohibiting dog barking, disturbing sound, and
The relevant covenants can be found in “Declaration of Covenants,
Conditions and Restrictions for West Vine Bungalows”, Sections 8.5,
8.15, and Section
The outcome of the case was that the Judge Dan Court awarded a
Judgement in favor of the defendants. My study of the court transcript
and depositions support Mr. Brooks. In my opinion, the facts do not
decision to grant a Declaratory Judgement. It is also my belief that
was unfairly denied a trial by this judgement.
To add insult to injury, the court awarded court costs to the HOA’s
company in the amount of $70,000. His own legal expenses exceeded
$100,000. Mr. Brooks, an unemployed disabled man, was assessed his entire life
savings of $170,000. The stress and loss of security was too much for his wife, so
she left him. Today, after his seven year battle, he sits at home nearly blind,
in severe pain, alone, and destitute.
This is a sad story. One that occurs often in Colorado District Courts. Justice is
often denied to righteous HOA homeowners. Judges will very rarely rule
against HOA boards, even those whose acts or inactions to cause irreparable
harm to homeowners. Case law in Colorado favors HOA board protectionism.
Comment on This Case:
In my opinion, this case was won early in the process. Mr. Brook’s dog
owning neighbors were active, popular, and contributory in the HOA. They took
their case to the membership securing their support with a mass mailing.
may have assured that the board would not enforce the covenants. A negative
rumor mill was possibly instituted that made Mr. Brooks appear arbitrary and
capricious in his demands. Such a rumor mill can inhibit investigations by police
and other authorities. A rumor may have also been spread that Mr. Brooks was not
disabled as asserted and supported by the records. I say this because the
association lawyer asserted this possibility as a possible defense.
I suggest a series of actions to counter such tactics in my book “HOA
Survival Source Book”. In chapters 5 and 6. In escalating a dispute
board or management company to a complaint and or litigation stage, it
important that you have the support and involvement of a substantial
segment of the membership. You should also try to share the costs of litigation
with likeminded neighbors, if possible. I also point out that you must expect and plan
for retaliation through threats, lies, and rumor.
Finally, I point out in the book that you need to search through all
federal, and local, and get everything going for your dispute possible.
requirements for lot set-back and spacing requirements should have been
checked to see if the developers meets state and local requirements.
mentions that he regrets that he did not file a Federal and State
complaint, early in the process.
Other Views And Relevant Information
Neil Brooks was interviewed by Shu Bartholomew on her “On The Commons
Radio Show broadcast weekly from Fairfax Virginia about his HOA
nightmare. The Show presented the crowding aspect introduced by what
planners call “Smart-Growth.”
“Neil Brooks joins us "On The Commons" this week. Neil has experienced it
The photo in this promo is an aerial view of the rooftops of Neil’s
his three closest neighbors, built just a few years ago. This is what
growth” looks like. As you can see, there is next to no private space,
as far from the notion of the American Dream as one can get.
to Neil, find out how living in such close proximity to his neighbors has
affected him and his health and we’ll learn how responsive the police have been
when it came to enforcing local ordinances.
Of course, you will not be
surprised to find out that the HOA isolated him instead of trying to help, while all
his neighbors stood idly by, too afraid to come to his defense or say a
word lest they get targeted.
We’ve also heard about the physical violence that
seems to be present every time someone makes a ripple in the status quo in
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