Deed restricted homeowners in Aspen, Pitkin County may get relief on improving aging units |

Deed restricted homeowners in Aspen, Pitkin County may get relief on improving aging units

Increasing current 10% cap for capital improvements being considered by Aspen-Pitkin County Affordable Housing Authority board

Homeowners in the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority inventory who are limited in making capital improvements without being reimbursed at more than the current 10% cap could see some relief in the future.

APCHA Deputy Director Cindy Christensen told the board during its meeting on Wednesday that the agency has had requests from owners to enter into updated deed restrictions in order to receive the benefit of doing additional capital improvements to their homes.

In most cases, they are people who have owned their home for over 10 years and have maxed out their reimbursable capital improvements.

Some of the older deed restrictions have a flat 10% cap for the life of the unit, according to Christensen.

The set amount never depreciated down, and once it was used, the next buyer would not receive credit for any capital improvements.

There also are quite a few that do not have the ability to do above the 10% maximum for energy efficient items or safety issues, Christensen added.

“This is something that would allow them to do more stuff to their property,” she said. “We think this is a good thing as long as we have some specific criteria for people who are interested in doing this.”

Board chair Carson Schmitz said he knows of situations in his homeowners association in which his neighbors who have lived in their units 20 to 30 years and have made capital improvements up to 10% of their maximum resale value.

“Now they want to replace the windows, for example, and it costs $30,000 or $40,000 to do,” he said. “Because their deed restrictions are so old, they are no longer qualified to add that capital improvement because it’s an energy efficiency thing, so I know there are a number of people in my HOA who would be interested in signing a new deed restricted.”

APCHA board member and Aspen City Councilwoman Rachel Richards said finding the right number is key and based on a lot of moving parts, like what the market bears to make improvements such as the cost of remodeling a bathroom.

“Let me put it this way, I wouldn’t want to be overly generous and say, ‘OK, 30% capital improvement cap’ and I also don’t want to short it and say 12%,” she said.

The board informally supported Christensen’s proposed criteria for people to qualify, which includes that the current language in an owner’s deed restriction does not take into consideration the additional capital improvements and anyone who has a deed restriction that does not have the current appreciation allowed — 3% or CPI, whichever is less, as well as any owner who is currently under a deed restriction dated back to 1992.

Other criteria is the owner has owned the affected property for at least the past 10 years, the home currently meets minimum standards and the owner is in good standing with their HOA.

Christensen said she plans to return to the board with a final set of criteria for approval.

Like the rest of the board, Schmitz said he supports the proposal.

“I would err on the side of making it easier for people who are under an old deed restriction and want to come under a new one,” he said. “I think that is something that we should be encouraging.”