Monday, January 6, 2014

Evergreen Highlands Assoc. v. West case brief

Evergreen Highlands Assoc. v. West case brief summary
73 P.3d 1 (2003)

Respondent property owner sued petitioner homeowner association challenging the validity of an amendment to the modification clause of the association's covenants. The association counterclaimed and sought damages from the property owner for breach of an implied contract. The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's judgment, which ruled in favor of the association. The instant court granted the association's request for certiorari.

The association operated in a residential subdivision. The property owner owned a lot bordering directly on a common park within the subdivision. When protective covenants were originally filed for the subdivision, lot owners were not required to be members of or pay dues to the association. Nine years after the property owner purchased his lot, at least 75 percent of the lot owners voted to add a new provision to the covenants which required all lot owners to be members of and pay assessments to the association, and permitted the association to impose liens on the property of owners who failed to pay their annual assessment.


  • The supreme court held the amendment to the covenants was valid and binding since its terms were within the scope of the modification clause of the original covenants, and it was duly enacted by the requisite majority of property owners. 
  • Thus, the property owner was bound by the terms of the amendment. 
  • Further, the declarations for the subdivision in effect when the property owner purchased his property were sufficient to create a common interest community by implication with the concomitant power to impose assessments or dues against individual lot owners.

The supreme court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals. The case was remanded to the court of appeals with orders to return it to the trial court to calculate the association's damages that resulted from the property owner's refusal to pay his proportionate share of the cost of maintaining and operating the subdivision's common area.

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