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Construction Defects Legislation

The LPC met Wednesday and thoroughly discussed construction defects draft legislation before deciding to SUPPORT the draft. CAR will also join the coalition Homeownership Opportunity Alliance (HOA), a consortium of affordable housing, business, real estate and local government representatives; formed to help meet the demands of home buyers, increasing the supply of affordable housing, promoting the repair of defects and protecting the legal rights of all homeowners. The draft bill would require a common-sense notice 60 days prior to the start of any legal action, as well as written consent from a simple majority of all association members prior to any litigation. This ends the ability of a small minority to commence costly litigation that includes all members of a condo association.

The housing continuum in Colorado’s economy includes apartments, smaller for-sale attached housing and single family homes. In Colorado the number of newly built townhomes and condominiums has fallen greatly because builders and insurers are concerned about the growing number of class action lawsuits attached to this type of housing. This delays or denies families the widespread economic and social benefits of homeownership- and prevents a needed remedy to the deep disparity in homeownership rates within minority communities.

The widespread benefits of homeownership are true across all demographic groups. Yet the homeownership rate among minorities is significantly lower than that of whites- a problem deepened by the lack of attainable housing products in the Colorado marketplace. Nationwide, statistics compiled by the National Association of REALTORS® shows that while the rate of homeownership among non-Hispanic whites is 74%, that rate for Hispanics is 47% and 45% for African-Americans.

Current law opens the door for lawyers to seek out leaders of homeowner associations in multifamily developments to look for defects, whether real, imagined or fixable, and then bring expensive lawsuits. In some cases, members of homeowners associations are made parties to lawsuits that they didn’t know about or agree to. And when it comes time to sell or refinance, they find that they can’t because of the pending litigation.

Legal action is not the only route to resolving disputes. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a legally enforceable, effective, less costly and less time-consuming method that has a record of success. It is unfair that to speed the path to litigation, some homeowners associations have removed the requirement for first seeking ADR prior to other legal action from their bylaws making litigation the only choice retroactively. This draft legislation states that if ADR was in the association bylaws when the alleged defect occurred that it is still in force over disputes surrounding that defect.

Construction Defects Testimonials

CAR is still requesting that if you have a story or testimonial of a client who was looking for a certain 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.

SB 183 Business Incentive Agreement Maximum Term

LPC elected to SUPPORT SB14-183, Concerning an increase in the maximum term of a Business Incentive Agreement that a local government enters into a taxpayer who pays business personal property tax.

Under current law, local governments, including counties, municipalities, and special districts, may negotiate an incentive payment or property tax credit with taxpayers that:

Pay business personal property tax, and
Establish a new business facility, expand an existing facility, or are considering relocating an existing facility out of state.
These payments or credits are included in agreements commonly known as business incentive agreements (BIAs). This bill extends the existing 10-year statutory limit on the term of a BIA to 35 years.

CAR views this as a business-friendly piece of legislation, enabling new, expanding, or relocating businesses to have an incentive to do business in the state of Colorado. This positively impacts the economy by growing business in Colorado.

HB 1351 Maintain State’s Relationship with US Military

LPC voted to SUPPORT HB14-1351, Concerning a requirement that the Colorado Office of Economic Development work to maintain the state’s positive relationship with the United States Armed Forces, which is a companion bill to the CAR-supported SB-157. This bill directs the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) to support state businesses involved in the defense industry and influence federal decision-making that concerns the defense industry in Colorado. Specifically, the OEDIT must:

Advocate for state involvement in U.S. military missions;
Support private businesses that bid on contracts with U.S. armed forces; and
Assist the Colorado Congressional delegation in protecting current U.S. armed forces bases and commands in Colorado.
CAR understands the positive economic impact that the military has on the state of Colorado, and we support efforts to sustain this relationship. Similar to SB14-157, discussed in a previous Capitol Connection as well as supported by LPC, recognizing this impact and continuing to keep this on the forefront of policy will benefit the entire state.

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.
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.