Colorado Association of REALTORS | Capitol Connection: May 3, 2019
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Capitol Connection: May 3, 2019

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May 03 2019

Capitol Connection: May 3, 2019

Colorado General Assembly Adjourns Sine Die

 

Today, Friday, May 3rd, the final gavel came down on the first regular session of the 72nd General Assembly. In total, 653 bills were introduced in the 2019 legislative session. The Colorado Association of RELATORS® (CAR) tracked 89 bills this year that would affect our industry and the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) took a position on 55 of them. With Democrats taking complete control over the state Senate, state House and Governor’s Office after historic elections, the new majorities made 2019 a difficult session for the business community to navigate. However, CAR worked hard to educate new policymakers on how potential legislation could affect Colorado homeowners, property rights and the housing industry.

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CAR is always on the frontlines fighting for Colorado REALTORS®, and here are some of the top issues that CAR worked on in 2019, straight from the Capitol:

 

1.)  Rent Control Off the Table for 2019

 

Earlier this week SB-225 died on the calendar in the state Senate. If passed, SB-225, sponsored by Sen. Julie Gonzales (D-Denver), Sen. Robert Rodriguez (D-Denver), Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver) and Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D-Denver), would have repealed current Colorado statute prohibiting rent control on private residential real property or housing units. CAR’s LPC strongly opposed the bill because it does not help us solve the affordable housing problem we are facing in Colorado and in fact, would deter investment in our communities and decrease home building, adding further stress to the insufficient supply of housing inventory across the state.

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A lack of housing inventory is the main catalyst that drives home prices up. In the last six years, home prices have increased 44% while housing inventory has decreased by 13%. NAR research suggests that for every two new jobs, one single-family permit is issued, but right now we are seeing fewer single-family permits being issued across the entire Front Range. If we take the right steps to improve affordability, we give Coloradans a better future rather than a temporary solution that only builds a wall around a few haves at the expense of all the rest of the have-nots.
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Thank you for your passionate engagement on this critically important issue through your participation in our statewide call for action to stop this harmful legislation.

 

2.)  Meaningful Affordable Housing Solutions

 

Improving housing affordability for all Coloradans requires us to take meaningful steps to increase the supply of housing availability for every spectrum of need. In 2019, CAR is proud to partner with Speaker Becker and other legislators to take significant strides to invest in short-and long-term affordable housing solutions for communities across our state. CAR is happy to announce that this first package of affordable housing bills passed third reading in the Senate this week and will head to the Governor’s desk very soon.

 

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HB-1228  – Expansion of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC):

Sponsored by Rep. Shannon Bird (D-Westminster), Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Arvada), Sen. Jack Tate (R-Centennial) and Sen. Rachel Zenzinger (D-Aurora), raises the cap of total allowed state tax credits for the program from the current $5M to $10M. And raises private sector equity to support the development and preservation of affordable housing.

 

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HB-1245 – Affordable Housing Funding From Vendor Fee Changes:
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Weissman (D-Aurora) and Sen. Julie Gonzales (D-Denver), changes the sales and use taxes collected by vendors by increasing the existing state The increase in sales taxes attributable to the vendor fee will be allocated for the development of affordable housing administered under the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). The bill will also allocate funding to re-insurance legislation used to reduce the costs of insurance in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

 

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HB-1319 – Flexible Funding Opportunities and Incentives for Developers:
Sponsored by Rep. Shannon Bird (D-Westminster), Rep. Hugh McKean (R-Loveland), Sen. Faith Winter (D-Westminster) and Sen. Dennis Hisey (R-Fountain), creates two policy changes to support private and nonprofit developers in initiating financing and building affordable housing projects. Affordable housing developers have difficulty obtaining financing from lenders because the claw back creates a regulatory obstacle for lenders. HB-1319 requires the Legislative Council to publish an inventory of public lands suitable for affordable housing development, and limits that claw back of the property tax exemption to enable lenders to finance affordable housing more robustly.

 

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HB-1322 – Expand the Supply of Affordable Housing:
Sponsored by Rep. Dylan Roberts (D-Avon), Rep. Perry Will (R-New Castle), Sen. Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City) and Sen. Don Coram (R-Montrose), establishes a new state fund in the Division of Housing to provide sustainable funding for programs and projects that improve, preserve, or expand the supply of affordable workforce housing in Colorado. Revenue sources include General Fund, Unclaimed Property Trust Fund, Marijuana Cash Funds, and Gifts, Grants and Donations.
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But our work to meaningfully address affordable housing has only just begun. CAR is already focusing on 2020 legislation, including expansion of the First Time Homebuyer Savings Account Program to give employers an opportunity to match their employee’s contributions to their own savings accounts as a near-term device enabling both the employer and the employee to pitch in and contribute money faster to save for that first home purchase.
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Stay tuned to hear more about our developing affordable housing initiatives.

 

3.)  Championed Long-Standing Deed Reform

 

CAR celebrated a big win for the real estate industry when Governor Polis signed HB-1098 into law on March 7th. HB-1098, sponsored by two-time CAR Legislator of the Year, Rep. Matt Gray (D-Broomfield) and Sen. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs), is a common-sense public policy solution that fixes a longstanding problem concerning the authority to draft deeds conveying real property in a real estate transaction. Before this new law, only a licensed real estate broker was authorized to prepare a deed; however, the broker could delegate this limited authority to prepare the deed to a title company which then completed the deed under the direction and review of the broker.

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CAR is proud to be a part the solution. Upon adoption of this change, the industry can expect reduced confusion, lessened disputes arising from the current contract form to transfer real property, and a clear public record of the real estate transaction.

 

4.)  Funding for Wildfire Mitigation
 

HB-1006, sponsored by Rep. Barbara McLachlan (D-Durango), Rep. Terri Carver (R-Colorado Springs) and Sen. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora), creates a state grant program to fund proactive forest management and fuel reduction projects to reduce the impacts of wildfires to life, property and critical infrastructure. The bill appropriates $1 million dollars to the Department of Higher Education for allocation to the State Forest Service at Colorado State University (CSU) to fund forest management and fuel reduction projects from homeowners whose property is located within a community wildfire protection plan.

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This is an important step to enable homeowners and communities together to tackle forest management and fuels reduction projects and lessen the devastating impact of wildfires and equip our communities with the tools and resources necessary to give residents more adequate risk mitigation funding to protect private property and the lives of our Colorado families and hardworking firefighters and emergency personnel.

 

5.)  Protect Tenants and Property Owners and Preserve Affordable Housing
 

Thank you to Representatives Jackson, Galindo, Weissman and Senators Bridges and Williams for their collaboration with CAR to find ways to protect vulnerable single-family home populations as the legislators championed legislation to modify warranty of habitability and time period to cure late rent payments statutes that could protect tenants but also preserve necessary affordable housing for lower income Coloradans.

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HB-1118, sponsored by Representative Dominique Jackson (D-Aurora), Representative Rochelle Galindo (D-Greeley) and Senator Angela Williams (D-Denver), changes existing law to require a landlord or property manager to provide a tenant 10-day notice to cure a violation for unpaid rent or vacate the property as a result of any violation against the lease agreement before the landlord terminates the lease and initiates an eviction proceeding. Under existing law, a landlord was required to provide a tenant three days to remedy a violation.

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And with important amendments, single family homes owned by a property owner with five or few rental homes receive more leniency under the new law, which allows our vulnerable military and elderly families the ability to protect their savings and investments on their fixed incomes or sudden mobility change in circumstances as they serve our nation honorably.

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HB-1170, sponsored by Rep. Dominique Jackson (D-Aurora), Rep. Mike Weissman (D-Aurora), Sen. Angela Williams (D-Denver) and Sen. Jeff Bridges (D-Greenwood Village), modifies the implied warranty of habitability laws dealing with a residential lease between landlords and tenants. Current law presumes that every rental agreement between a landlord and a tenant carries an implicit guarantee that a residential property is fit for human habitation. This bill modifies the conditions that trigger a breach of the warranty of habitability, establishes a process for the tenant and landlord to deal with any potential safety problems with the premises, and creates time limits for the landlord to address defective conditions within a reasonable time frame.
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CAR worked with the bill sponsors to find common ground on defining the types of conditions that would trigger property owner responsibilities to mitigate any safety concerns for the resident and help define a time period that allows the property owner to properly address these concerns with any potential work that must be completed to improve the habitability for a resident.

 

Thank you to our 2019 LPC Members!

 

We would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of the members of LPC for your hard work and dedication throughout this session. Thank you to our subcommittee chairs: David Madone, Jon Roberts, Will Flowers, Sunny Banka and John Lucero.  Additionally, thank you to John Mitchell 2019 LPC Chair, and Barbara Asbury, 2019 LPC Vice Chair, for all of your time and effort this year!

 

May Marks Wildfire Awareness Month

 

With more than half of the state’s population now living in or near areas that are prone to wildland fire, public and private organizations across the state are teaming up as a part of Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 4th to educate and help Colorado residents to prepare for the growing threats created by wildfires.

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The annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is focused on helping residents and communities prepare for and work together to reduce wildfire risk. According to the Colorado State Forest Service, 2.9 million of Colorado’s 5.7 million residents now live in a wildland-urban interface (WUI). Wildfires in the past two decades have claimed record acreage, properties and lives, as more Coloradans live amid a growing wildfire threat. And only 20% of Coloradans are signed up to receive notifications of a wildfire evacuation or flood.

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TAKE ACTION – Are you signed up to receive emergency alerts? Encourage your business partners, clients, neighbors and friends to sign up to receive emergency alerts from the Colorado Office of Emergency Management by going to www.bitly.com/COAlertSignUp.

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For more information visit ColoradoProjectWildfire.com.

 

Colorado Project Wildfire

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Developed by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Project Wildfire is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives.  Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities. To learn more about Colorado Project Wildfire, click here.

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Colorado Project Wildfire Logo

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NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings (May 13-18, 2019)

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The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo allows NAR members an opportunity to take an active role in advancing the real estate industry, and public policy directly. REALTORS® come to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, hill visits and the industry trade show. Registration is now open.  Click here for more information.

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For Colorado, we have nine hill visits to complete. CAR Government Affairs staff will be in contact with attendees regarding the hill visits meeting schedule for their specific congressional district.

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CAR Foundation REALTOR® Appreciation Day (July 31, 2019)

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Join us for REALTOR® Appreciation Day on July 31st (4 – 8 p.m.) at Blue Sky Gallery – Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Englewood, CO, and hear Michael F. Combs share his incredible story! “When Giving Up Is Not An Option.” Let your spirits soar as we celebrate our REALTORS® and introduce former REALTOR® and world record setting Hope One to the Wings Museum! It will be an evening of hors d’oeuvres, drinks, a silent auction and opportunities to experience flight simulators! Click here to register.

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The CAR Foundation encourages involvement in the Interest/Escrow program. REALTOR® participation in this program allows interest from escrow accounts to be donated to Foundation and those donations fund the grant program for safe and affordable housing throughout our communities. Please visit CARFoundation.org for more information.

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Invest in RPAC – Celebrating 50 Years Strong

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At the conclusion of Spring Summit, our RPAC fundraising numbers continue to rise. Let’s keep up this momentum and continue to support Colorado’s REALTOR® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Throughout the year, we will continue to celebrate 50 years of RPAC’s work to advance the American dream of homeownership.

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Do you have your Major Investor Jacket? Get your full 2019 Major Investment in by June 1st to receive yours. Interested in becoming a Major Investor this year? Click here to find more information.

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RPAC 50th Anniversary Celebration Logo

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