Capitol Connection: April 18, 2014
HB 1136 Signed by the Governor
CAR initiated HB 14-1136, which effectively provides a state licensing agency, such as the Real Estate Commission, the authority to approve education programs from providers of CE toward its licensees without an additional layer of approval from the Department of Higher Education. The legislation also removes the restriction of membership among trade associations offering education programs. In each scenario, the program must be consistent with the purpose or mission of the providing organization.
We’d like to thank Governor John Hickenlooper for signing HB14-1136 into law on Monday, April 7th.
Staff at the Colorado Division of Real Estate staff has acknowledged the passage of HB 14-1136, which takes effect immediately. REALTOR® Associations may now offer CE to all licensees for approved courses. No additional action or approval from the Division is required on your part.
Thank you for your feedback and patience as this issue was being addressed. CAR would also like to thank primary bill sponsors Representative Diane Primavera and Senator Nancy Todd, as well as the Department of Higher Education for their support on the legislation.
Ballot Initiative 103
Ballot Initiative 103 was approved for the ballot on Wednesday. Business groups have already begun expressing their deep concerns over this proposal. Click here to view an article Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI) distributed earlier today, which thoroughly explains the initiative and provides the ballot language. The Colorado Association of REALTORS® Political Action Committee (CARPAC) will be evaluating and establishing a position on the initiative in the upcoming weeks.
HB 1017 Passed the Senate
HB 14-1017 has passed the Senate on third reading, and is awaiting the House to concur on amendments before being sent to the Governor’s desk. This bill makes several changes to both the Home Investment Trust Fund and Housing Development Grant Fund under the Division of Housing (DOH).CAR is supporting this legislation because it is important to make sure that there is adequate amount of affordable housing throughout the state. The fund was originally established with money from the National Mortgage Settlement to help increase rental housing affordability. This expands the scope of which the money can be used, including development or redevelopment of already occupied property.
CAR has always been an advocate of affordable housing and understands there is a need for more affordable product in Colorado. We have always sought targeted and reasonable policy solutions that help foster affordable housing, while ensuring that proposals will not unfairly burden developers, property owners, buyers and seller. HB-1017 offers a solution that meets these criteria.
Construction Defects Legislation
We need your support on this one. As you’ve probably noticed, construction is once again revving up across the metro area. Those cranes and crews are a good sign as we continue to recover from the recession. But, one area of construction continues to lag because of almost-guaranteed litigation, and it’s impacting our residents and their housing options.
Along the 122 miles of FasTracks rail, in areas around Union Station and across the West Line, redevelopments and new developments are sprouting new high-density buildings—but we aren’t seeing a diverse array of housing options. Particularly, almost no affordable condominium homes are being built. In fact according to a recent article by the Denver Business Journal, only 2 percent of our new housing stock is condos, compared to around 20 to 25 percent in other metro areas around the country.
That means an entire segment of homebuyers—from young families and first-time homebuyers trying to build equity to empty-nesters and retirees who are downsizing—is being shut out from affordable homeownership.
Why the drought of affordable condos? Our members tell us that the likelihood of a construction lawsuit makes building affordable condos virtually impossible.
When there is a dispute with a builder over construction, a simple majority of the board of directors of a condo homeowners’ association (HOA) can decide on behalf of all owners to file a lawsuit. In Colorado, it’s less a question of if a lawsuit will be filed and more a question of when. Costs from litigation and additional insurance ultimately have to be paid by the consumer (in this case the homeowner). That means the only condos that are being built today are more expensive. And, when the association ties condo owners to litigation, they then face hurdles when it comes to refinancing or selling their home. Their units are encumbered by the litigation.
Mayors in the metro area have been working on this issue for months, and we have joined their effort. State Sen. Jessie Ulibarri has committed to helping us solve this problem with legislation that would ensure all owners are engaged in the decision to pursue legal action and have information about options to resolve the issue, as well as the anticipated costs and potential impacts on home value resulting from a lawsuit before pursuing litigation. The potential legislation could also require that if alternative dispute resolution (ADR) was a condition in the original purchase agreement, then ADR must be used to try to address any alleged defects.
We feel that this legislation will help rationalize how owners and builders deal with disputes and engage owners in the decision to litigate, fully aware of its potential consequences. It also preserves owners’ right to pursue litigation if they determine that’s the best course. Unfortunately, this potential legislation faces a number of major hurdles—starting with simply being introduced in the legislature.
Here’s where you come in. We need you to contact Senate President Morgan Carroll and House Speaker Mark Ferrandino to tell them why this legislation is so important to Colorado’s business community. Just click here to take action and send them a message.
We hope this bill will be the first step toward ensuring home buyers in Colorado can find the home they want. We believe that as lawsuits decrease, insurance rates will go down and our builders will no longer be deterred from offering a full array of housing options. Join us in supporting Sen. Ulibarri and encouraging community growth in Colorado.
Construction Defects Testimonials
CAR is still requesting that if you have a story or testimonial of a client who was looking for a particular price range, particularly in the more affordable $150-200,000 range, in a particular area but was forced to broaden search area in order to find an affordable property, or a client who was looking to buy near transit-oriented development but could not find any affordable housing, or one who had trouble receiving financing or re-financing due to construction defect litigation taking place in the association please let us know so we may use these scenarios to help explain the need for this legislation and the impacts that it would have on affordable housing in Colorado. Please send these to GovAffairs@coloradorealtors.com.
Join NAR’s First Ever TWITTER Call for Action!
NAR has launched its first Twitter CFA asking members to tweet their Senators about patent reform. Get in on the action now, and tweet your Senators to ask them to help put a curb on patent trolls. http://www2.realtoractioncenter.com/site/PageNavigator/rac_action.html It’s easy and quick, and you can make your voice heard in 140 characters!
Register Now for REALTOR® Party Convention
NAR’s Midyear Meetings have been renamed the “REALTOR® Party Convention and Trade Expo”. Registration—which is free for members—is now open for the REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo May 12-17, 2014, in Washington, D.C. For registration or more details, click here.
GRAB THE APP! Download the REALTOR® Action Center Mobile App
The REALTOR® Action Center mobile app is now available for download for the iPhone and DROID. Simply search for NAR Action Center in your respective app markets. This app is designed to help members Vote, Act and Invest on the go. It will help you increase your state and local Federal Call for Action participation rates, allow members a quick and efficient way to invest in RPAC, and provide you a way to track your REALTOR® Party activities and so much more.