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Government Affairs Monthly Report


Steamboat Council Enacts Moratorium on Releases from Deed Restrictions

As first reported in the Steamboat Pilot, Steamboat Springs City Council agreed to issue a moratorium on releasing any deed restrictions on housing units. The matter came up in an early January meeting not as a vote, but as a request from city staff on guidance regarding a handful of recent requests for release.

Council members discussed at length whether to look at requests on a case-by-case basis or whether to categorically deny all such requests. They debated whether extreme financial hardship should be considered in releasing a deed restriction and how to define financial hardship. The general consensus was that when people purchase a deed-restricted property, they know what they are buying into, and they accept the restrictions as part of the purchase contract.

A deed restriction, as defined by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, “targets the sale of the unit to ‘qualified owners’ who meet specific income, asset and employment criteria. … Deed-restricted units are intended to help local families afford home ownership in an environment of high market rate housing. The deed restriction exists to ensure that the property remains affordable now and in the future.”

If the owner of a deed-restricted home wants to sell it, it would not be priced on free-market rates — the restriction contains an appreciation cap that reflects cost of living. The cost-of-living increase is based on a 3% annual increase in the value of the home or the increase in area median income, whichever is greater.

If economic hardship were taken into account and the restrictions lifted, council member Lisel Petis said the additional profit from the sale — beyond the 3% appreciation — could be required to return to the city and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.

City Manager Gary Suiter drew on his 12 years of working in the Roaring Fork Valley. He said during that time, there were no releases. Real estate investment comes with risk, Suiter said, and the line of thinking was that it isn’t the government’s job to mitigate that risk.

Jason Peasley, executive director of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority made the point that with current plans to build more deed-restricted housing in West Steamboat, it wouldn’t set a good precedent to let people think they may be able to get out of the restriction in the event of a resale.

Gavel Drops on 2020 Colorado Legislative Session

The Colorado General Assembly began in early January in Denver, and state lawmakers have a busy agenda planned for the session, scheduled to last through mid-May.

Leadership in both the Democratic-controlled House and Senate have said that more issues surrounding health care and the cost of living in the state are a top priority, as well as things like a possible death penalty repeal, transportation and transit issues and paid family leave – they hoped to shore up over the next 120 days.

What is expected to be one of the most hotly-contested measures this session is a public health insurance option measure the Polis administration has discussed since last year. Washington is the only other state that has passed a public option measure but the national discussion surrounding health insurance options has already brought out-of-state money into Colorado to fight against the idea of one.

REALTOR Day at the Capitol Set for Mid-February

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran to REALTOR® Day at the Capitol & Economic Summit or a potential first-time attendee, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss! During this two-day event, you’ll receive high-level briefings on issues that affect you while advocating on behalf of the real estate industry and your clients.

Thursday, Feb. 13, 2019

Network and build personal relationships with your elected representatives. You’ll also attend an exclusive luncheon featuring J.J. Ament, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, and Patty Silverstein, President & Chief Economist of Development Research Partners.

Friday, Feb. 14, 2019

A panel of experts will discuss the challenges of affordable housing in Colorado and how REALTORS® can play an active role in solving this crisis. Panelists include Alison George, Housing Director, Colorado Department of Local Affairs-Division of Housing; Karen Kallenberg, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Colorado; Ted Leighty, CEO, Colorado Association of Home Builders; and Elizabeth Peetz, Vice President of Government Affairs, Colorado Association of REALTORS®

Panelists will discuss hot topics such as:
• potential legislation that affects homeownership
• how regulations affect the construction cost of new homes
• economic/affordability stats
• implications of growth limits

When: Thursday, Feb. 13-14, 2019

Where: Sheraton Denver Downtown, 1550 Court Pl, Denver and First Baptist Church, 1373 Grant St, Denver

Cost: $105 per person/includes both days

How to Register: https://www.coloradorealtors.com/economic-summit-realtor-day-at-the-capitol/?_zs=jurnX&_zl=XCXt1

NAR Approves Sweeping New Nationwide Fair Housing Plan

Expect the National Association of REALTORS® to have a louder voice on fair housing issues this year. NAR approved a new fair housing action plan on Wednesday that focuses on greater accountability and training for agents.

After passing the new plan, NAR leaders met with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and other senior department officials to develop a plan to further advance fair housing protections. NAR and HUD agreed to work jointly on public service announcements and other proactive initiatives to communicate the importance of fair housing access to the public.

NAR’s new initiative—abbreviated “ACT” to emphasize accountability, culture change, and training—seeks to ensure that the nation’s 1.4 million REALTORS® are working to protect the housing rights of consumers. Among its new efforts, NAR vowed a commitment to integrating fair housing into all of its conferences and events and to form partnerships with fair housing advocates to pursue shared goals around accountability and training.

“NAR’s Code of Ethics and its adherence to fair housing are the cornerstone of our commitment as REALTORS®,” says NAR CEO Bob Goldberg. “With this new plan, we will see more robust education focusing on core fair housing criteria, unconscious bias, and how the actions of REALTORS® impact communities. A partnership with government officials and fair housing advocates will allow us to further promote equality as we continue to work to diversify our industry.”

Just hours before the meeting with HUD, NAR’s leadership unanimously voted to approve ACT. “NAR has been active in our pursuit of innovative new policies and partnerships that will help us preserve the fundamental right of housing in America,” says NAR President Vince Malta, who also met with HUD officials on Wednesday. “While we have long been a champion of the Fair Housing Act, recent incidents have underscored the progress our nation must still make.”

NAR’s new ACT plan features some of the following commitments to fair housing:

  • Work closely with state association executives to ensure that state licensing laws include effective fair housing training requirements and hold real estate professionals accountable for their fair housing obligations.
  • Launch a public service announcement campaign that reaffirms NAR’s commitment to fair housing and how consumers can report problems.
  • Integrate fair housing into all REALTOR® conferences and engagements (to include a fair housing theme throughout the May Midyear Meeting).
  • Explore the creation of a voluntary self-testing program in partnership with a fair housing organization as a resource for brokers and others who want confidential reports on agent practices so they can address problems.
  • Create more robust fair housing education, including unconscious-bias training and education on how the actions of REALTORS® shape communities.
  • Conduct a national study to determine what factors motivate discrimination in sales markets.
  • Profile leaders who exemplify the best fair housing practices and workplace diversity.
  • Develop materials to help REALTORS® provide consumers with information on schools that avoids fair housing pitfalls.