Capitol Connection – March 5, 2021
Government Affairs Update
This week, the Colorado Association of REALTORS® is happy to announce that CAR’s Century of Opportunity campaign is moving forward, and three of our four homeownership opportunity bills are introduced and will be discussed by the legislature. We will continue to update you on the progress of these bills and won’t stop until homeownership is an opportunity for all Coloradans.
Here’s this week’s top real estate issues:
1.) Report Tenant Rent Payment Information to Credit Agencies (HB21-1134)
House Bill 1134 creates a pilot program under the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) to allow tenants an alternate path to build credit and ultimately pursue homeownership through consistent, timely rental payments and completion of a financial education course. After conducting statewide research, CAR found credit, debt to income ratio and a lack of financial literacy as top barriers to homeownership that disproportionately impact communities of color. Many residents find themselves credit invisible or unable to rebuild their credit and therefore cannot even begin the homeownership process. Research shows, 25% of successful black loan applicants in 2017 were denied due to credit history.
LPC Position: Support
Bill Status: Scheduled for its first hearing in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee on March 18th. CAR will be testifying in support.
This bill comes from CAR’s Century of Opportunity legislative package.
2) Residential Land Property Tax Classification (HB21-1061)
House Bill 1061 changes the definition of residential land when classifying property for tax purposes. Currently, residential land is defined as adjacent parcels of land under common ownership, provided that at least one of the parcels includes a residential improvement and that the other parcels are used together in conjunction with the residential improvement. This bill changes the definition so that a parcel of land is only classified as residential if it contains a related improvement that is essential to the adjacent parcel. Meaning, if a property owner purchases the neighboring lot, the land will be classified as residential only if there is a residential improvement, otherwise it will be classified as vacant land.
In the House Transportation and Local Government Committee, CAR clarified on the record that short term rentals adjacent to residential property are classified as residential under this bill.
LPC Position: Monitor
Bill Status: Today, the bill passed on third reading in the House of Representatives and will next go to the Senate where it will be assigned its first committee hearing in the Senate.
3) Forest Health Project Financing (HB21-1008)
Last year, the Cameron Peak Fire, Colorado’s largest wildfire to date, caused over $6.3 million in market property loss according to the Larimer County’s Assessor’s Office. Over 40 homes were destroyed. It is said that in one evening, the East Troublesome fire consumed 100,000 acres.
We can lessen the risk and loss by working proactively in our communities and providing the resources to prioritize forest health. When our forest lands are cared for there is less opportunity for dead spruce and flammable vegetation to quicken and further the spread of wildfires, ultimately protecting homes, lives, wildlife, and Colorado’s open space and outdoor recreation areas.
House Bill 1008 provides a new revenue stream to do so with the consent of the communities that it will impact to allow local communities to participate in and financially contribute to forest health projects. These legal entities would also be able to issue bonds toward watershed protection projects vital to restore forest health and to protect our water.
LPC Position: Support
Bill Status: The bill passed in the House Finance Committee yesterday where CAR testified in support. The bill will go to the House Floor next week.
4) Office of Consumer Counsel encourages comment from Colorado energy consumers on the impact of the extreme weather event in mid-February
Like much of the country, Coloradans were affected by the extreme winter weather event that occurred from February 13 through February 15 resulting in an increase in demand for both natural gas and electricity in Colorado and other states. This increased demand may have caused an unprecedented spike in natural gas prices leading to regulated utilities purchasing natural gas at extraordinary prices, and potentially passing on the cost of these gas prices to customers. Governor Jared Polis has shared his concerns on how this weather event will impact energy consumers in Colorado.
The Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) requests that customers who receive service from any of the following utilities: Public Service Company of Colorado (Xcel Energy), Black Hills Energy, Atmos Energy and Colorado Natural Gas participate in the PUC’s investigation and share concerns about their utility services regarding that extreme weather event.
To submit written comments in the PUC investigatory proceeding, go to the following site: https://www.dora.state.co.us/pls/efi/EFI_COMMENT_GUI.Gas and select “Rulemaking and Investigations Initiated by Colorado Public Utilities Commission.” Then select “21I-0076EG – Investigation into the weather event of February 13-15, 2021 for Investor Owned Utilities.” Comments may be submitted on the page titled “Register Your Public Comment.”
5) You won’t want to miss CAR’s Spring Summit Virtual Conference
It’s that time of the year again! Registration is now open for the 2021 CAR Virtual Spring Summit. Join us on April 19 – 21 from the comfort of your home or office for engaging sessions designed help you take on 2021! The 2021 CAR Virtual Spring Summit is geared for REALTORS® who want to stay abreast of the latest industry trends, enhance your professional skills, and better serve your clients.