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HB 1373 Senior and Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption

LPC voted to SUPPORT HB 14-1373, Concerning individuals who may claim the property tax exemption for qualifying seniors and disabled veterans. This bill modifies the state's Homestead Exemption to extend its benefits to certain individuals who are not eligible under current law. Specifically, the bill permits the following owners of residential property to claim the exemption in tax years starting on or after January 1, 2015:

The owner or a surviving spouse who is displaced by a natural disaster that destroys their qualifying residence; and
The surviving spouse who takes possession of the qualifying residence of a deceased disabled veteran.
This is a response to the floods that gives homeowners whose properties were destroyed the flexibility to retain the homestead exemption in their replacement home.

HCR 1002 Constitutional Initiative Petition Signatures

LPC SUPPORTS HCR14-1002, Constitutional Initiative Petition Signatures.

The concurrent resolution refers a constitutional amendment to voters at the 2014 general election that changes the requirements to place a citizen initiated constitutional amendment on the ballot. Specifically, the resolution:

Doubles the number of required signatures for an initiative petition from five percent to ten percent; and
Requires a minimum number of signatures to be collected from each congressional district.
The resolution applies to initiative petitions proposed for the 2015 odd-year election or any election thereafter. The resolution specifies that initiative petitions must receive at least 70 percent of the minimum number of the total signatures necessary divided by the number of Congressional districts. Currently this represents one percent of the votes cast, however, this number may be adjusted if the number of congressional districts change over time. Initiative petitions including both state legislation and a constitutional amendment must meet the constitutional amendment signature requirements set forth in the resolution. These requirements do not apply to amendments repealing provisions approved by voters prior to 2015.

LPC sees this as an important step to making sure constitutional amendments are vetted across the state and not just along the Front Range. Adding the requirement for signatures from each congressional district ensures that this cannot happen anymore. Currently, Colorado is the only state that has the same requirement for a statutory measure as it does for a constitutional amendment. According to, Lois Court, the House Sponsor, “In the last 200 years, the U.S. Constitution has changed 27 times…in the last 20 years, Colorado’s has been changed 45 times.” Increasing the signature requirement will therefore increase the effort and the importance of constitutional changes.

Construction Defects Legislation

Thank you to those that have already contacted legislative leadership. We are more hopeful now than we were last week that legislation will be introduced, however, we still 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.

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.