Capitol Connection – March 19, 2021
Government Affairs Update
Today marks a big legislative win for the Colorado Association of REALTORS®. Colorado’s policymakers introduced a proposal that would allow inclusionary zoning practices and open the door to rent control at the local level. CAR successfully amended the bill to clarify that a local government cannot enact rent control policies on existing units. As REALTORS® know, our state struggles to find sufficient housing inventory to meet consumer’s growing needs. Rent control only hurts our ability to address housing needs and would deter the building of affordable units which closes the window of opportunity to homeownership.
Here’s this week’s top real estate issues:
|1.) Rights In Residential Lease Agreements (SB21-173)|
Senate Bill 173 addresses the rights of tenants in residential lease agreements focusing on late rental payments and associated fees. Although we understand the burden and pressure that COVID-19 placed on our communities and that the relief dollars have only gone so far to help those needing assistance with rental and mortgage payments. The bill however, is not balanced in the housing relationship between tenant and housing provider.
On Tuesday, CAR testified in opposition and some amendments did improve the bill, such as:
- Removing the 48-hour window after a judgment is received and instead placing that window at the point of decision-making by the Court;
- Removing the guarantee of a trial by jury; and
- Amending language to include both parties to create balance in the court process.
But there is still more work to be done. CAR will continue to work on amending the bill because this proposal still gives us concern with regard to balancing penalties and mortgage deadlines and late rental payment deadlines. In the long run, this legislation could hurt tenants because most housing providers will simply leave the market and sell their properties if the housing relationship if not balanced.
LPC Position: Oppose
Bill Status: The bill passed the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee (3-2) on Tuesday with amendments and will next go to Senate Appropriations.
2.) Department Of Regulatory Agencies Regulator Authority During Declared Emergency (SB21-127)
Senate Bill 127 would have allowed the Department of Regulatory Affairs (DORA) to enforce emergency rules that temporarily suspend or waive statues or rules pertaining to a profession under Title 12 if compliance would prevent, hinder or delay action in responding to the disaster emergency declaration. The problem is during the pandemic when there was confusion in the executive branch about how we define a real estate transaction CAR had to intervene and explain why the definition of a transaction did not match with existing virtual showing needs as an essential business.
The intent of the bill was to specifically help health care professionals to respond quickly and appropriately in situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic without regulatory obstacles. CAR voiced concerns to the bill sponsors that including Title 12 professions such as real estate could potentially prevent REALTORS® from serving consumers in need in both the drafting phase and at introduction. Due to a lack of stakeholder buy-in from the health care industry and title 12 professionals like REALTORS®, the bill sponsor asked that the bill be postponed indefinitely.
LPC Position: Amend
Bill Status: The bill was postponed indefinitely by the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee on Wednesday.
3.) Local Government Authority Promote Affordable Housing Units (HB21-1117)
House Bill 1117 seeks to expand the ability of cities and counties to regulate land use, including the authority to regulate development or redevelopment in order to promote new affordable housing units. As introduced, the bill would reverse the Telluride decision and open the door to rent control and inclusionary zoning policies in Colorado. These policies would artificially control the price of some housing units while forcing the cost of other units to increase to offset the government-mandated price.
Allowing rent control policies to take place at the local level does not address the core problem the entire state of Colorado is facing. Colorado lacks inventory. A lack of housing inventory is the main catalyst that drives home prices up and prevents Colorado residents from achieving homeownership. We have learned from states such as Oregon, California and New York that these policies will not achieve its intended purpose of increasing the supply of affordable units.
Today, CAR successfully obtained an amendment on Second Reading in the House of Representatives that confirms this legislation does not give local governments the authority to adopt or enforce rent control policies for existing buildings in their communities.
LPC Position: Amend
Bill Status: Today, the bill passed Second Reading in the House of Representatives with CAR’s amendment.
4) Water Share Right Mutual Ditch Corporation (HB21-1046)
A mutual ditch company is a private, voluntary, non-profit, fee-collecting entity that holds water rights, and allows members to purchase shares in the company. Current law makes it extremely difficult, if not prevents, a shareholder’s ability to share their water rights. This is a challenging issue litigated in the courts many times. House Bill 1046 is intended to address this challenge. There were many concerns from the Colorado water community with the introduced version and after a strike below amendment that replaces the original content entirely mitigates those concerns. Protecting private property rights and protecting Colorado’s resources such as water are top priorities for CAR.
As amended, House Bill 1046 now represents a consensus solution that allows for the sharing of water rights within a mutual ditch company and ensures private property rights are intact.
LPC Position: Support
Bill Status: The bill passed the House Agriculture, Livestock and Water Committee on Wednesday with an amendment that strikes the introduced language with completely new content.
Sign up today! Colorado RPAC Participation and Major Investor Councils
We have two new volunteer opportunities for members passionate about RPAC to represent their local association and help achieve our RPAC fundraising goals for the year. This is a great opportunity to learn about NAR fundraising resources available, brainstorm and discuss with your peers on ways to increase RPAC participation and expand the Major Investor program and assist in the planning and promotion of upcoming RPAC events. Your participation directly leads to our RPAC success.
RPAC Participation Council:
This Council will focus on achieving participation goals and increasing broker involvement. Meetings will be held via zoom on the third Wednesday of each month.
RPAC Major Investor Council:
This Council will focus on achieving Major Investor goals, enhancing the MI recognition program and increasing participation in the Corporate Ally Program. Meetings will be held via zoom on the third Tuesday of each month.