Capitol Connection- C.A.R. Legislative Session Updates


The following updates are provided by the Colorado Association of REALTORS® Legislative department during each legislative session. To learn more about these and other Political Advocacy news items you can Click Here. You can also subscribe to receive these updates directly via email by visiting this page.

IF REAL ESTATE IS YOUR PROFESSION, POLITICS IS YOUR BUSINESS

REALTORS® are hard at work every day protecting your interests at the State Capitol. CAR’s Political Advocacy team:

  • Works at the local, state and federal levels to protect your business, the industry, and homeowner’s rights.
  • Actively monitors legislation affecting the real estate industry and promotes or opposes relevant initiatives.
  • Focuses on protecting homeownership, private property rights, and holding our policymakers accountable

2017 Video Recap:


 5/15/2017 Update:

Sine Die!

Wednesday, May 10th, the final gavel came down on the first session of the 71st General Assembly.  By many accounts 2017 was an incredibly intense, active and even sometimes challenging session. In total, 793 bills were introduced.  CAR tracked 87 bills this year and the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) took a position on 44 of them.

Here were the top 5 real estate issues affecting CAR members:

1)   Construction Litigation Reform

CAR, along with the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance championed compromise legislation that is the first step in the right direction to building more attainable housing for all Coloradans while also protecting homeowners and giving them a voice in whether or not to pursue litigation.  After more than four years of negotiations on construction litigation reform, we are thrilled to announce that this year the bill hits the Governor’s desk and he is expected to sign it.  

The informed consent compromise bill does not prevent individual owners who have a legitimate construction issue from seeking a legal remedy. But, more importantly, it protects homeowners by ensuring that unit owners are aware of a potential lawsuit that could impact selling or refinancing their home. The legislative also tightens up voting procedures by requiring a majority of homeowners to approve initiating a legal action against a builder rather than leaving that decision solely to a homeowner’s association board.  The bill also includes an opportunity for builders and homeowners to meet and attempt to resolve any disputes instead of pursuing litigation.

To see the House Bill 1279 bill text, click here.

2)   Licensed Real Estate Brokers and Subdivision Developers Sunset:

Every 10 years the Division of Real Estate and Real Estate Commission (Commission) are up for review at the legislature. In this 2017 session, CAR was actively involved from the very beginning to define the components of the legislation that will continue to regulate our members for the next decade. This bill was sent to Governor.

  • CAR amended the bill several times throughout the legislative process to improve the bill for our members:
    • First, CAR successfully removed the DORA Sunset Report recommendations that our Members told us they did not like:
      • Recommendation 9 made changes to the development of the annual update course
      • Recommendation 2 suggested attorneys be more involved in broker transactions by requiring attorney-client relationships when using standard forms, which contradicts longstanding legal precedent under the Conway Bogue decision
    • Next, CAR worked with stakeholders in the Senate to:
      • Retain language that conforms Colorado law with RESPA and maintain protections around referral fees
      • Remove unnecessary and restrictive language concerning requirements for the new property manager seat on the Real Estate Commission
    • Finally, in the House, CAR again worked with stakeholders to:
      • Provide a necessary statutory definition for “standard forms” used in real estate transactions.
        • Current statute does not define standard forms or provide guidance about using standard forms.
      • Ensure the Real Estate Commission has the necessary flexibility to promulgate rules that determine the methods by which brokers can demonstrate their knowledge and experience to become supervising brokers.

To review these changes or read the bill in its entirety, click here:  Senate Bill 17-215 

3)   Prevent Marijuana Diversion to Illegal Market:

House Bill 17-1220, places limits on the number of marijuana plants that can be possessed or grown on a residential property. Large residential marijuana grows and the manufacturing operations they often bring with them have many consequences, including obvious health and safety concerns, an increase of both human and automobile activity, extensive odors, and potential stigmatization of adjacent properties. All of which are inconsistent with residential neighborhoods. CAR worked with the Governor’s office and other stakeholders to decrease the marijuana grey market and its effects on real estate. The bill will be signed by the Governor.

  • First the bill, maintains local control. If your local jurisdiction has a plant count ordinance, that law is the ruling authority
  • If there is no local law, then the new statewide plant count is limited to 12 plants in or on a residential property
  • However, for those local jurisdictions that do not have a local plant count limit, the statewide limit of 12 plants can be increased to 24 plants if the medical marijuana patient or caregiver registers with the state licensing authority, provides notice to that local jurisdiction and follows any local jurisdiction disclosure and inspection requirements pertaining to their cultivation of marijuana plants.

CAR supported this legislation because large residential grows can interfere with a homeowner’s quiet enjoyment of their most sacred place, their home. Further, the current medical marijuana grow regulations do not respect the financial investment residential property owners have made in what is often their single largest investment, their home.

4)   Commission Transparency Bill:

House Bill 17-1358, would have required a broker in a real estate transaction to disclose their commission in writing for any sale or lease of real estate, either as part of the contract or in another such document. Brokers would also have been required to disclose their fees or the basis for calculating their fees on all marketing materials relating to any specific property, including on-line multiple listing services

  • As expected, this legislation was viewed as highly unnecessary and, as a result, was killed in the first committee by a vote of 11-2.  In fact, several committee members from both political parties conveyed that they believe the free market should be allowed to work between flat-free and full service brokers/agents, and further, that government should not be asked to intervene on behalf of one company.
  • Fees are disclosed to all brokers through the MLS and among all parties and their brokers through their respective brokerage agreements. Further, a real estate commission is completely voluntary, negotiable and often varies depending on the type of transaction.

CAR actively worked to defeat this bill.  It was initiated by one company to codify its own business model and improve its bottom line by recommending legislation that would force its business plan on an entire industry. HB 1358 was entirely unnecessary and did not provide any additional information to consumers that are not already available to them. Broker compensation and fees are already transparent to the appropriate consumers – the parties to the real estate transaction.

5)   Documentary Fees and Transfer Taxes:

Senate Concurrent Resolution 17-002 would have deleted the prohibition in TABOR on new or increased transfer tax rates on real property and established a transfer tax of 1/10th of one percent of the value of the real property in the deed for the privilege of transferring the title to real property.

House Bill 17-1309, would have doubled the existing documentary fee for the recording of real estate deeds and instruments with half of the money allocated to the county treasurer and the other half of the money allocated to the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority to create a housing investment fund to support new and existing affordable housing programs.

  • Although REALTORS® understand the need for affordable housing in Colorado, one of our bedrock principles is that you cannot make housing more affordable by making it more expensive.
  • CAR is an affordable housing advocate. We have supported legislative initiatives designed to create more affordable housing options including:
    • The creation and extension of the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program
    • Legislation that allocated a portion of the state’s unclaimed property trust fund to support programs that provide rental assistance and promote construction and rehabilitation of low-income rental housing
    • First-time homebuyer savings accounts to help Coloradans save for purchasing their first home.
    • Additionally, CAR has donated more than $7 million through the Colorado Association of REALTORS® Housing Opportunity Foundation (CARHOF) to promote safe, decent and affordable housing for all in Colorado.

SCR 002 and 1309 both had several flaws:

First, they hurt the very families they are intended to help because such a tax/fee is regressive. They disproportionately impact low-to-moderate income earners – those that can least afford it, which creates a barrier to homeownership. Down payment costs – including closing costs – remain a significant barrier to homeownership, especially for low-to moderate-income households.

Second, real estate transfer taxes and documentary fees are not reliable funding sources. Real estate transfer taxes are extremely sensitive to market forces, making the frequency of transactions and value of property variable in relation to the strength of the economy, which makes them a poor revenue source to fund affordable housing.

Finally, real estate transfer taxes are unconstitutional under TABOR. The concurrent resolution would have removed that prohibition against transfer taxes in the constitution. Similarly, real estate documentary fees for affordable housing are also likely unconstitutional under TABOR.

The Colorado Supreme Court has weighed in on the issue of taxes versus fees, and ruled that fees levied must be directly related to the services being performed.  New fees that pay or fund something not directly related to the cost of service are actually taxes, and as such, violate TABOR’s requirement that citizens are entitled to vote on new taxes.

Both SCR 002 and 1309 Died in Committee May 3rd.

The split legislature this year, with Republicans controlling the Senate and Democrats controlling the House, meant every bill sent to the Governor for his signature had to have bipartisan support. There were some big compromises and successes and also some momentous opportunities for compromise that ultimately fell short.

One of the successes included the broad and wide reaching SB 267 – Concerning Rural Sustainability that accomplished several things: 1) it changes the Hospital Provider Fee into an enterprise preventing $528 million dollars in cuts to hospitals this year and staving off future budget balancing acts , 2) it increases the business personal property tax exemption, 3) it designates $1.88 billion dollars toward highway improvements over the next 20 years for critical infrastructure projects, and 4) it allocates $30 million dollars to rural schools.

However, the compromise transportation bill, HB 1242, which would have referred to the voters a 0.62% sales tax increase to fund transportation failed to win approval. Its demise denies Colorado an opportunity to pursue filling the $9 billion dollar gap in transportation dollars needed to address statewide maintenance needs.

SB 301, a measure to restructure and fund the Colorado Energy Office was another victim of partisan differences resulting in a loss of $3.1 million in funding to the entity. The bill’s failure is already the subject of a possible special session that the Governor could call at his discretion. Other compromise bills that did not go the distance, or were not fully funded, include broadband funding, marijuana public use regulations, and addressing the high costs of health care.  All could be subjects in a potential special session.

Thank you!

CAR’s Legislative Policy Committee was also very busy this year tracking several bills that would affect our industry. CAR is very pleased to announce that we were successful in passing many of our legislative priorities and defending against more than a few unfriendly bills this session.

We would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of the members of the LPC for your hard work and dedication throughout this session.  Thank you to our subcommittee chairs: Sunny Banka – Business/Taxation, Stew Meagher – Housing, Jack Beuse – Land Use, David Barber – Regulatory and Barb Asbury – Water.  Additionally, thank you to Janene Johnson 2017 LPC Chair, and Sean Dougherty, 2017 LPC Vice Chair, for all of your time and effort this year.

Invest in RPAC

The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®.  Our goal is to get pro-REALTOR® candidates elected at the local, state, and federal levels – candidates that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. Our goal in 2017 is to raise $600,000 to continue to support our REALTOR ® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Click here to invest today!

Sign up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts

More than 50,000 REALTORS® from across the country have already signed up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts – have you? Text CO REALTORS to 30644 to stay up to date on REALTOR® issues!  You’ll be among the first to know about NAR Calls for Action and more! Click here for more information.

Colorado Project Wildfire

Developed by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Project Wildfire is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives.  Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities.  To learn more about Colorado Project Wildfire, click here.


5/8/2017 Update:

HB 1279 Construction Defect Actions Notice Vote Approval

HB-1279.  This bill, sponsored by Representatives Garnett (D-Denver), and Saine (R-Firestone) and Senators Tate (R-Centennial) and Guzman (D-Denver), passed the House unanimously on Monday April 24th and will now be heard Monday, May 1st in the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee.

Nothing in HB 1279 stands in the way of individual owners who have a legitimate construction issue from seeking a legal remedy.  Additionally, this bill protects homeowners by ensuring they are aware of a potential lawsuit that could impact selling or refinancing their home and tightens up voting procedures so a majority of homeowners must approve initiating a legal action against a builder rather than leaving that decision to a homeowner association board.

The bill does several things:

  • Tolling Period – It sets a 90 day tolling of the statute of limitations (down from the originally proposed 120 day tolling period). This delay in the time period by which a lawsuit must be filed is also clarified to establish that the tolling period can happen only once, regardless of whether there is an amendment to the notice of filing a lawsuit (notice of claim).  Previously there was ambiguity about whether attorneys could continue restarting the tolling period based on an amended claim.
  • Voting/ballot integrity – A list of voters/unit owners must be shared with anyone served with the notice of claim (builders, contractors, architects, etc.). Further, there is only one vote per unit owner and they can only vote one time.  This prevents the HOA Board from reviewing votes before the close of the voting period and then trying to change the minds of those that voted against pursuing litigation.
  • Applicability – The bill language was cleaned up to clarify that the bill applies to all HOA’s, both pre and post 1992, when the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA) was enacted.
  • Definition of “Affiliate” – In the voting exclusions section the original bill ambiguously referred to affiliates of the development party as excluded from voting on commencing litigation.  The current version of the bill tightens up the definition of who is considered an affiliate – someone that has a controlling interest in one of the development parties, or their spouse.
  • Common elements – The introduced version precluded a vote if the defects claimed are on a common element (non-residential unit), for example a clubhouse or pool.  The current version of the bill says that any remedies to repair that do not exceed $50,000 where the HOA is paying for the repairs do not require a vote.  Any common element claim greater than $50,000 on a common element would require a vote. This was one of CAR’s biggest issues since any litigation, whether on a common element or on the residential units, clouds the title and can prevent unit owners from selling or refinancing their property.
  • Bank-owned properties – These properties will count toward the vote if they vote.  These properties were excluded in the original version of the bill.
  • Non-responsive voters – These votes will not count.  But the bill does allow builders/defendants to challenge in court any unit owners deemed non-responsive by the HOA board.

The Homeownership Opportunity Coalition, of which CAR is a member, believes this bill is a positive step in the right direction to building more attainable product for all Coloradans while also protecting homeowners and giving them a voice in whether or not to pursue litigation.

Thank you to each and every one of our members for your dedication on this critical issue, whether it was responding to our calls for action or providing your stories and insights, the time and energy you have put forward to voice your support for construction litigation reform was pivotal in helping us reach a compromise.  We will continue to update you as the bill moves through the legislative process.

House Bill 1358: Disclose Amounts Payable To Real Estate Brokers

We are happy to report that House Bill 17-1358, sponsored by Representative Rosenthal (D-Denver) died in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee yesterday on a vote of 11-2. As expected, HB-17-1358 was viewed as highly unnecessary and, as a result, was killed in committee yesterday afternoon.  In fact, several committee members conveyed that they believe the free market should be allowed to work between flat-free and full service brokers/agents, and further, that government should not be asked to intervene on behalf of one company.

The bill would have required a broker in a real estate transaction (e.g., buyer’s agent, seller’s agent, transaction-broker) disclose in writing for any sale or lease of real estate, either as part of the contract or otherwise their commission. Brokers would also have been required to disclose their fees or the basis for calculating their fees on all marketing materials relating to any specific property, including on-line multiple listing services

CAR opposed this legislation and testified against the bill because it was initiated by one company to codify its own business model and improve its bottom line by recommending legislation that would force its business plan on an entire industry. HB-1358 is entirely unnecessary and does not provide any additional information to consumers that are not already available to them. Broker compensation and fees are already transparent to the appropriate consumers – the parties to the real estate transaction.

Fees are disclosed to all brokers through the MLS and among all parties and their brokers through their respective brokerage agreements. Further, a real estate commission is completely voluntary, negotiable and often varies depending on the type of transaction.

Invest in RPAC

The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®.  Our goal is to get pro-REALTOR® candidates elected at the local, state, and federal levels – candidates that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. Our goal in 2017 is to raise $600,000 to continue to support our REALTOR ® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Click here to invest today!

Thank you for attending RPAC Drinking for Diamonds at CAR’s Spring Conference!

RPAC Drinking for Diamonds at CAR’s Spring Conference was a huge success!  Thank you to the Vail Board of REALTORS® for their generous sponsorship of this event! Also, thank you to the 108 REALTORS® that attended! Through your generous RPAC investments, we raised over $17,000!  Congratulations to the lucky winner of the diamond, Karen Levine!

Sign up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts

More than 50,000 REALTORS® from across the country have already signed up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts – have you? Text CO REALTORS to 30644 to stay up to date on REALTOR® issues!  You’ll be among the first to know about NAR Calls for Action and more! Click here for more information.

NAR Midyear Meetings in Washington, DC: May 15-20, 2017

The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association.  REALTORS® come to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.  Registration opens on February 15, 2017.  Click here for more information.

Colorado Project Wildfire

Developed by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Project Wildfire is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives.  Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities.  To learn more about Colorado Project Wildfire, click here


5/1/2017 Update:

HB 1279 Construction Defect Actions Notice Vote Approval

HB-1279.  This bill, sponsored by Representatives Garnett (D-Denver), and Saine (R-Firestone) and Senators Tate (R-Centennial) and Guzman (D-Denver), passed the House unanimously on Monday April 24th and will now be heard Monday, May 1st in the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee.

Nothing in HB 1279 stands in the way of individual owners who have a legitimate construction issue from seeking a legal remedy.  Additionally, this bill protects homeowners by ensuring they are aware of a potential lawsuit that could impact selling or refinancing their home and tightens up voting procedures so a majority of homeowners must approve initiating a legal action against a builder rather than leaving that decision to a homeowner association board.

The bill does several things:

  • Tolling Period – It sets a 90 day tolling of the statute of limitations (down from the originally proposed 120 day tolling period). This delay in the time period by which a lawsuit must be filed is also clarified to establish that the tolling period can happen only once, regardless of whether there is an amendment to the notice of filing a lawsuit (notice of claim).  Previously there was ambiguity about whether attorneys could continue restarting the tolling period based on an amended claim.
  • Voting/ballot integrity – A list of voters/unit owners must be shared with anyone served with the notice of claim (builders, contractors, architects, etc.). Further, there is only one vote per unit owner and they can only vote one time.  This prevents the HOA Board from reviewing votes before the close of the voting period and then trying to change the minds of those that voted against pursuing litigation.
  • Applicability – The bill language was cleaned up to clarify that the bill applies to all HOA’s, both pre and post 1992, when the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA) was enacted.
  • Definition of “Affiliate” – In the voting exclusions section the original bill ambiguously referred to affiliates of the development party as excluded from voting on commencing litigation.  The current version of the bill tightens up the definition of who is considered an affiliate – someone that has a controlling interest in one of the development parties, or their spouse.
  • Common elements – The introduced version precluded a vote if the defects claimed are on a common element (non-residential unit), for example a clubhouse or pool.  The current version of the bill says that any remedies to repair that do not exceed $50,000 where the HOA is paying for the repairs do not require a vote.  Any common element claim greater than $50,000 on a common element would require a vote. This was one of CAR’s biggest issues since any litigation, whether on a common element or on the residential units, clouds the title and can prevent unit owners from selling or refinancing their property.
  • Bank-owned properties – These properties will count toward the vote if they vote.  These properties were excluded in the original version of the bill.
  • Non-responsive voters – These votes will not count.  But the bill does allow builders/defendants to challenge in court any unit owners deemed non-responsive by the HOA board.

The Homeownership Opportunity Coalition, of which CAR is a member, believes this bill is a positive step in the right direction to building more attainable product for all Coloradans while also protecting homeowners and giving them a voice in whether or not to pursue litigation.

Thank you to each and every one of our members for your dedication on this critical issue, whether it was responding to our calls for action or providing your stories and insights, the time and energy you have put forward to voice your support for construction litigation reform was pivotal in helping us reach a compromise.  We will continue to update you as the bill moves through the legislative process.

House Bill 1358: Disclose Amounts Payable To Real Estate Brokers

We are happy to report that House Bill 17-1358, sponsored by Representative Rosenthal (D-Denver) died in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee yesterday on a vote of 11-2. As expected, HB-17-1358 was viewed as highly unnecessary and, as a result, was killed in committee yesterday afternoon.  In fact, several committee members conveyed that they believe the free market should be allowed to work between flat-free and full service brokers/agents, and further, that government should not be asked to intervene on behalf of one company.

The bill would have required a broker in a real estate transaction (e.g., buyer’s agent, seller’s agent, transaction-broker) disclose in writing for any sale or lease of real estate, either as part of the contract or otherwise their commission. Brokers would also have been required to disclose their fees or the basis for calculating their fees on all marketing materials relating to any specific property, including on-line multiple listing services

CAR opposed this legislation and testified against the bill because it was initiated by one company to codify its own business model and improve its bottom line by recommending legislation that would force its business plan on an entire industry. HB-1358 is entirely unnecessary and does not provide any additional information to consumers that are not already available to them. Broker compensation and fees are already transparent to the appropriate consumers – the parties to the real estate transaction.

Fees are disclosed to all brokers through the MLS and among all parties and their brokers through their respective brokerage agreements. Further, a real estate commission is completely voluntary, negotiable and often varies depending on the type of transaction.

 

Invest in RPAC

The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®.  Our goal is to get pro-REALTOR® candidates elected at the local, state, and federal levels – candidates that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. Our goal in 2017 is to raise $600,000 to continue to support our REALTOR ® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Click here to invest today!

Thank you for attending RPAC Drinking for Diamonds at CAR’s Spring Conference!

RPAC Drinking for Diamonds at CAR’s Spring Conference was a huge success!  Thank you to the Vail Board of REALTORS® for their generous sponsorship of this event! Also, thank you to the 108 REALTORS® that attended! Through your generous RPAC investments, we raised over $17,000!  Congratulations to the lucky winner of the diamond, Karen Levine!

Sign up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts

More than 50,000 REALTORS® from across the country have already signed up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts – have you? Text CO REALTORS to 30644 to stay up to date on REALTOR® issues!  You’ll be among the first to know about NAR Calls for Action and more! Click here for more information.

NAR Midyear Meetings in Washington, DC: May 15-20, 2017

The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association.  REALTORS® come to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.  Registration opens on February 15, 2017.  Click here for more information.

Colorado Project Wildfire

Developed by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Project Wildfire is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives.  Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities.  To learn more about Colorado Project Wildfire, click here.


4/25/2017 Update:

A Construction Litigation Reform Deal is Reached!

This week at the legislature….a Construction Litigation Reform Deal is Reached!

HB 1279 Construction Defect Actions Notice Vote Approval

We are excited to announce that a compromise on construction litigation reform was reached early Wednesday morning on HB-1279.  This bill is sponsored by Representatives Garnett (D-Denver), and Saine (R-Firestone) and Senators Tate (R-Centennial) and Guzman (D-Denver). The bill was heard in the House State Affairs committee Wednesday afternoon where all six amendments that were agreed upon between stakeholders to reach a compromise were adopted.   The bill also passed on second reading today in the House with one minor technical amendment. HB 1279 now has one final vote in the House before it goes over to the Senate for their consideration.

This has been a long process of negotiation over the course of many years and the discussions began early in the legislative session this year with six different bills addressing the subject of construction litigation reform. No one thinks the compromise bill is perfect, but that is the hallmark of true compromise when everyone involved comes away from the table wanting a little bit more than the final product.

This compromise bill is backed by the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance as an informed consent bill that is a good first step towards encouraging builders and developers to start building again while protecting the legal rights of individual homeowners. Nothing in HB 1279 stands in the way of individual owners who have a legitimate construction issue from seeking a legal remedy.

Additionally, this bill protects homeowners by ensuring they are aware of a potential lawsuit that could impact selling or refinancing their home and tightens up voting procedures so a majority of homeowners must approve the initiation of a legal action against a builder rather than leaving that decision to the homeowner association board.

The bill does several things:

  • Tolling Period – It sets a 90 day tolling of the statute of limitations (down from the originally proposed 120 day tolling period). This delay in the time period by which a lawsuit must be filed is also clarified to establish that the tolling period can happen only once, regardless of whether there is an amendment to the notice of filing a lawsuit (notice of claim).  Previously there was ambiguity about whether attorneys could continue restarting the tolling period based on an amended claim.
  • Voting/ballot integrity – A list of voters/unit owners must be shared with anyone served with the notice of claim (builders, contractors, architects, etc.). Further, there is only one vote per unit owner and they can only vote one time.  This prevents the HOA Board from reviewing votes before the close of the voting period and then trying to change the minds of those that voted against pursuing litigation.
  • Applicability – The bill language was cleaned up to clarify that the bill applies to all HOA’s, both pre and post 1992, when the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA) was enacted.
  • Definition of “Affiliate” – In the voting exclusions section the original bill ambiguously referred to affiliates of the development party as excluded from voting on commencing litigation.  The current version of the bill tightens up the definition of who is considered an affiliate – someone that has a controlling interest in one of the development parties, or their spouse.
  • Common elements – The introduced version precluded a vote if the defects claimed are on a common element (non-residential unit), for example the clubhouse or pool.  The current version of the bill says that any remedies to repair that do not exceed $50,000 where the HOA is paying for the repairs do not require a vote.  Any common element claim greater than $50,000 on a common element would require a vote. This was one of our biggest issues for our members since any litigation, whether on a common element or on the residential units, clouds the title and can prevent unit owners from selling or refinancing their property.
  • Bank-owned properties – These properties will count toward the vote if they vote.  These properties were excluded in the original version of the bill.
  • Non-responsive voters – This is one area where the stakeholders could not reach complete agreement. These non-responsive votes will not count.  But the bill does allow builders/defendants to challenge in court any unit owners deemed non-responsive by the HOA board.

The HOA coalition, of which CAR is a member, believes this bill is a positive step in the right direction to building more attainable product for all Coloradans while also protecting homeowners and giving them a voice in whether or not to pursue litigation.  Thank you to each and every one of our members for your dedication on this critical issue through our calls for action and all the time and energy you have put forward to voice your support for construction litigation reform.  We will surely have more to report as the bill continues through the legislative process and CAR continues to advocate on behalf of our members.

Senate Bill 17-215: Sunset Licensed Real Estate Brokers & Subdivision Developers

SB17-215, sponsored by Senator Kevin Priola (R-Henderson) and Representative Matt Gray (D-Westminster) passed on second reading in the House today.  The bill will next go to a final vote in the House before it must go back to the Senate for the Senators to review the amendments that were added in the House. As amended, the bill adds a definition of standard forms used in real estate transactions and it gives the Real Estate Commission the flexibility to promulgate rules that determine the methods by which brokers can demonstrate their knowledge and experience to become supervising brokers. SB 215 continues the Division of Real Estate, the Real Estate Commission, and the regulation of real estate brokers and subdivision developers until 2026.

The bill amends the current provisions on referral fees to conform to the requirements of federal law. It further consolidates the various cash funds used for several licensing functions and programs administered by the Division of Real Estate into a single cash fund.

Additionally, the bill would allow broker licenses to expire uniformly on December 31 rather than requiring licensees to apply for renewal at various times throughout the year on their individual anniversary dates and defines “conviction” to include deferred judgments and deferred sentences, in provisions listing factors the Commission may consider when determining whether to discipline a licensee.

Moreover, the bill modifies the composition of the Commission to require that one of the three licensee members be a broker with experience and an active practice in property management. Finally, the bill retains the license reinstatement fees at their current level, and changes the effective date of the bill to June 30, 2017.

CAR supports this bill and has been actively involved in the process since the beginning of the legislative session to define the components of the legislation that will continue to regulate our members in the future. Continue reading future editions of the Capitol Connection to stay apprised about the Sunset Bill and CAR’s work on your behalf.

 

Invest in RPAC

The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®.  Our goal is to get pro-REALTOR® candidates elected at the local, state, and federal levels – candidates that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. Our goal in 2017 is to raise $600,000 to continue to support our REALTOR ® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Click here to invest today!

RPAC Drinking for Diamonds at CAR’s Spring Conference

How would you like to win a diamond?  Be sure to attend RPAC Drinking for Diamonds on Wednesday, April 26th – 5:30PM-7:30PM being held in Ludwig’s at the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail, CO! $25 RPAC investment at the door / $99 RPAC investment for each entry in the diamond drawing…and the best part? 100% of proceeds will be invested in RPAC – your BEST investment in Real Estate.  RPAC Drinking for Diamonds is sponsored by the Vail Board of REALTORS®.

Sign up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts

More than 50,000 REALTORS® from across the country have already signed up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts – have you? Text CO REALTORS to 30644 to stay up to date on REALTOR® issues!  You’ll be among the first to know about NAR Calls for Action and more! Click here for more information.

NAR Midyear Meetings in Washington, DC: May 15-20, 2017

The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association.  REALTORS® come to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.  Registration opens on February 15, 2017.  Click here for more information.

Colorado Project Wildfire

Developed by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Project Wildfire is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives.  Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities.  To learn more about Colorado Project Wildfire, click here.


4/17/2017 Update:

Senate Concurrent Resolution 17-002: Real Estate Transfer Tax For Affordable Housing

SCR 17-002, sponsored by Senator Kefalas (D-Ft. Collins), was introduced on April 12 is scheduled to be heard on April 27th in the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee. The LPC today voted to oppose this concurrent senate resolution. SCR 02 deletes the prohibition in TABOR on new or increased transfer tax rates on real property. The concurrent resolution imposes a tax upon the recording of each real property deed at the rate of 1/10 of one percent of the value of the real property as specified in the deed for the privilege of transferring the title to real property (tax).

Unfortunately, without meaningful construction litigation reform, any money allocated to for-sale units would not be truly effective.  Absent reform, affordable housing developers will not be building such units.

Although REALTORS® understand the need for affordable housing in Colorado, one of our bedrock principles is that you cannot make housing more affordable by making it more expensive. CAR is an affordable housing advocate. We have supported a host of legislative initiatives designed to create more affordable housing options. The creation and extension of the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and legislation allocating a portion of the state’s unclaimed property trust fund to support programs that provide rental assistance and promote construction and rehabilitation of low-income rental housing are just a couple examples.

Last year, CAR passed legislation to create first-time homebuyer savings accounts to help Coloradans save for purchasing their first home. Additionally, we have donated more than $7 million through the Colorado Association of REALTORS® Housing Opportunity Foundation (CARHOF) to promote safe, decent and affordable housing for all in Colorado.

SCR 02 has several flaws. First, the transfer tax hurts the very families that it is intended to help because such a tax is regressive. It disproportionately impacts low-to-moderate income earners – those that can least afford it, which creates a barrier to homeownership. Down payment costs – including closing costs – remain a significant barrier to homeownership, especially for low-to moderate-income households.  Two weeks ago, the Denver Post reported that Colorado is the nation’s epicenter when it comes to housing unaffordability. Specifically, seven of the 12 counties in the entire U.S. where housing affordability is out of balance are along the Front Range. Adding even more costs to purchasing a home would further reduce many families’ ability to achieve the American Dream of homeownership.

Second, real estate transfer taxes are not a reliable funding source. Real estate transfer taxes are extremely sensitive to market forces, making the frequency of transactions and value of property variable in relation to the strength of the economy, which makes real estate transfer taxes a poor revenue source to fund any government programs, let alone affordable housing.

Finally, real estate transfer taxes are unconstitutional under TABOR. This concurrent resolution would remove that prohibition against transfer taxes in Colorado’s Constitution.

Stay Tuned for a CALL to ACTION ALERT to Support Senate Bill 156!

The House State Affairs Committee will hear SB 156 on Wednesday April 19th.

This comprehensive defects reform bill is backed by the Metro Mayors Caucus, which represents 40 mayors and millions of constituents. It is also supported by the Colorado Municipal League, Habitat for Humanity and Housing Colorado, among others.  And SB 156 passed the Colorado State Senate with bipartisan support. .

Colorado communities are lacking diverse and attainable housing options due to defects in state law. The near certain risk of protracted, multi-million dollar lawsuits has led to skyrocketing insurance rates and unacceptable business risks for condo builders. In 2005, condos comprised 20 percent of the metro Denver new housing market, while today it has plummeted to just 2 percent.

In an effort to bring housing relief to their communities, 17 Colorado cities and one county have passed comprehensive construction defects reform, but concerns that state law may pre-empt local regulations has continued to discourage new development.

SB 156 would fix problems in the current law by providing a common sense and balanced solution that protects consumers from faulty construction while also increasing diverse and more affordable options for home ownership.

The Homeownership Opportunity Alliance is a coalition of affordable housing advocates, business leaders, mayors and economic developers. Learn more by following @Housing4CO on Twitter or Housing4COon Facebook. 

 

Invest in RPAC

The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®.  Our goal is to get pro-REALTOR® candidates elected at the local, state, and federal levels – candidates that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. Our goal in 2017 is to raise $600,000 to continue to support our REALTOR ® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Click here to invest today!

RPAC Drinking for Diamonds at CAR’s Spring Conference

How would you like to win a diamond?  Be sure to attend RPAC Drinking for Diamonds on Wednesday, April 26th – 5:30PM-7:30PM being held in Ludwig’s at the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail, CO! $25 RPAC investment at the door / $99 RPAC investment for each entry in the diamond drawing…and the best part? 100% of proceeds will be invested in RPAC – your BEST investment in Real Estate.  RPAC Drinking for Diamonds is sponsored by the Vail Board of REALTORS®.

Sign up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts

More than 50,000 REALTORS® from across the country have already signed up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts – have you? Text CO REALTORS to 30644 to stay up to date on REALTOR® issues!  You’ll be among the first to know about NAR Calls for Action and more! Click here for more information.

Colorado Wildland Fire Conference

The Colorado Association of REALTORS® is a proud sponsor of the 2017 Colorado Wildland Fire Conference.  Please plan to attend this event on April 19th-21st at the Pueblo Convention Center (320 Central Main Street, Pueblo, CO). This year’s conference will expand on the Fire Adapted Communities concept, providing the framework for moving from awareness to action. Anyone wishing to learn more about how they can reduce their community’s vulnerability to wildfire is welcome to attend. CE opportunities for REALTORS® will be also be available. For more information and to register, click here.

NAR Midyear Meetings in Washington, DC: May 15-20, 2017

The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association.  REALTORS® come to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.  Registration opens on February 15, 2017.  Click here for more information.

Colorado Project Wildfire

Developed by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Project Wildfire is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives.  Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities.  To learn more about Colorado Project Wildfire, click here.


4/10/2017 Update:

House legislators had their opportunity to debate the “long bill”, otherwise known as the budget, to fund the operations of state government after the Senate debated the budget last week. Colorado requires state lawmakers to balance their budget and given the fiscal outlook this year it required the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) to make some tough choices to close a nearly $700 million dollar shortfall.

After several hours of contentious floor debate last night, and additional floor debate this morning, the House passed the $26.8B budget on second reading. Assuming it receives third reading approval, the bill next would go back to the Senate where they can decide whether or not to accept the House amendments. If the Senate disagrees with the budget they can request a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House versions.

The House deliberated on nearly 100 amendments but ultimately only adopted a few. Some of the amendments adopted by the House include: $9 million increase in funding for rural broadband infrastructure, funded through existing utility fees, $1.5 million for film industry incentives that were previously scrapped, $5.4 million for ambulance services in rural Colorado, $8 million for substance abuse treatment, funded with marijuana sales tax revenues and earmarking $750,000 in severance taxes to add nine inspectors positions for the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to increase well inspections. To find more information about the budget debate click here.

House Bill 17-1309: Documentary Fee to Fund Affordable Housing

HB17-1309, sponsored by Representatives Jackson (D-Aurora) and Winter (D-Westminster) and Senators Guzman (D-Denver) and Coram (R- Montrose) was introduced on March 31st and is scheduled to be heard on April 26th in the House Local Government Committee. This bill would double the existing documentary fee for the recording of real estate deeds, with half of the money allocated to the county treasurer and the other half allocated to the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority to create a housing investment fund to support new and existing affordable housing programs with little transparency or oversight by Colorado citizens.

Unfortunately, without meaningful construction litigation reform, any money allocated to for-sale units within this program would not be truly effective.  Absent reform, affordable housing developers will not be constructing such units.

Although REALTORS® understand the need for affordable housing in Colorado, one of our bedrock principles is that you cannot make housing more affordable by making it more expensive. CAR is an affordable housing advocate. We have supported a host of legislative initiatives designed to create more affordable housing options. The creation and extension of the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and legislation that allocating a portion of the state’s unclaimed property trust fund to support programs that provide rental assistance and promote construction and rehabilitation of low-income rental housing are just a couple.

Last year, CAR passed legislation to create first-time homebuyer savings accounts to help Coloradans save for purchasing their first home. Additionally, we have donated more than $7 million through the Colorado Association of REALTORS® Housing Opportunity Foundation (CARHOF) to promote safe, decent and affordable housing for all in Colorado.

HB 1309 has several flaws. First, the fee that would double under this legislation hurts the very families that it is intended to help because such a fee is regressive. It disproportionately impacts low-to-moderate income earners – those that can least afford it, which creates a barrier to homeownership. Down payment costs – including closing costs – remain a significant barrier to homeownership, especially for low-to moderate-income households.

Second, real estate documentary fees are not a reliable funding source. Real estate documentary fees are extremely sensitive to market forces, making the frequency of transactions and value of property variable in relation to the strength of the economy, which makes real estate documentary fees a poor revenue source to fund affordable housing.

Finally, real estate documentary fees for affordable housing are likely unconstitutional under TABOR. The Colorado Supreme Court has weighed in on the issue of taxes versus fees, and ruled that fees levied must be directly related to the services being performed.  New fees that pay or fund something not directly related to the cost of service are actually taxes, and as such, violate TABOR’s requirement that citizens are entitled to vote on new taxes.

RPAC logo

Invest in RPAC

The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®.  Our goal is to get pro-REALTOR® candidates elected at the local, state, and federal levels – candidates that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. Our goal in 2017 is to raise $600,000 to continue to support our REALTOR ® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Click here to invest today!

Sign up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts

More than 50,000 REALTORS® from across the country have already signed up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts – have you? Text CO REALTORS to 30644 to stay up to date on REALTOR® issues!  You’ll be among the first to know about NAR Calls for Action and more! Click here for more information.

RPAC Drinking for Diamonds at CAR’s Spring Conference

How would you like to win a diamond?  Be sure to attend RPAC Drinking for Diamonds on Wednesday, April 26th – 5:30PM-7:30PM being held in Ludwig’s at the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail, CO! $25 RPAC investment at the door / $99 RPAC investment for each entry in the diamond drawing…and the best part? 100% of proceeds will be invested in RPAC – your BEST investment in Real Estate.  RPAC Drinking for Diamonds is sponsored by the Vail Board of REALTORS®.

Colorado Wildland Fire Conference

The Colorado Association of REALTORS® is a proud sponsor of the 2017 Colorado Wildland Fire Conference.  Please plan to attend this event on April 19th-21st at the Pueblo Convention Center (320 Central Main Street, Pueblo, CO). This year’s conference will expand on the Fire Adapted Communities concept, providing the framework for moving from awareness to action. Anyone wishing to learn more about how they can reduce their community’s vulnerability to wildfire is welcome to attend. CE opportunities for REALTORS® will be also be available. For more information and to register, click here.

NAR Midyear Meetings in Washington, DC: May 15-20, 2017

The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association.  REALTORS® come to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.  Registration opens on February 15, 2017.  Click here for more information.


3/31/2017 Update:

Legislators are considering the “long bill”, otherwise known as the budget, to fund the operations of state government. Colorado requires state lawmakers to balance their budget and given the fiscal outlook this year it required the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) to make some tough choices to close a nearly $700 million dollar shortfall.

After a ten hour floor debate, the Senate passed the $26.8B budget today on a 30-5 vote. The bill heads next to the House who will debate the bill next week. The Senate deliberated on several amendments but ultimately only adopted eight. These amendments supported using marijuana revenue to support affordable housing for those with behavioral health needs and address chronic homelessness.

Other amendments secured funding for the Healthy Kids Survey, implementing Proposition 106 (Medically assisted end of life approved on the ballot last November), and Connect for Health Colorado (the state’s health insurance exchange). This year’s budget reflects a seven percent increase in discretionary spending, but even in spite of cash funds being used to help balance the budget several areas are taking a big hit: transportation (only $79 million discretionary funding to fix crumbling infrastructure); K-12 schools (increasing the negative factor by $48 million causing the shortfall for required state school funding to grow to $879 million); and hospitals ($275 million cut).

One sole bright spot included a 1.75 percent salary increase for state employees. For more information on the budget debate, click here and here.

Senate Bill 17-215: Sunset Licensed Real Estate Brokers & Subdivision Developers

SB17-215, sponsored by Senator Kevin Priola (R-Henderson) and Representative Matt Gray (D-Westminister) passed the Senate with only one no vote. The bill is now scheduled in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee for April 18th 2017. This bill continues the division of real estate, the real estate commission, and the regulation of real estate brokers and subdivision developers until 2026.

The bill directs the Real Estate Commission to establish, by rule, the number of transactions that a broker must have completed before becoming an employing broker and amends the current provisions on referral fees to conform to the requirements of federal law. It further consolidates the various cash funds used for several licensing functions and programs administered by the division of real estate into a single cash fund.

Additionally, the bill would allow broker licenses to expire uniformly on December 31 rather than requiring licensees to apply for renewal at various times throughout the year on their individual anniversary dates and defines “conviction” to include deferred judgments and deferred sentences, in provisions listing factors the commission may consider when determining whether to discipline a licensee.

Moreover, the bill modifies the composition of the commission to require that one of the three licensee members be a broker with experience and an active practice in property management. Finally, the introduced bill was amended in committee to remove the property manager license endorsement section (Section 6), retain the license reinstatement fees at their current level, and change the effective date of the bill to June 30, 2017.

CAR supports this bill and has been actively involved in the process since the beginning of the legislative session to define the components of the legislation that will continue to regulate our members in the future. Continue reading future editions of the Capitol Connection to stay apprised about the Sunset Bill and CAR’s work on your behalf.

House Bill 17-1220: Prevent Marijuana Diversion to Illegal Market

Today HB17-1220Prevent Marijuana Diversion to Illegal Market sponsored by Majority Leader KC Becker (D-Boulder), Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist (R-Centennial), and Senators Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) and Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) passed the Senate on March 29th. Today, the House voted to concur with the Senate’s amendments.  The next stop is the governor’s desk, where he is expected to sign the bill into law.

The bill limits the total number of medical or recreational use marijuana plants that can be possessed or grown on a residential property to 12 plants. Unless authorized by local law, a medical marijuana patient or primary caregiver is prohibited from possessing or cultivating more than 12 plants on a residential property and must locate his or her cultivation operation on a non-residential property and comply with any applicable local law requiring disclosure of the cultivation operation. Cultivation operations are subject to any county and municipal building and public health inspection required by local law.

In addition, for those local jurisdictions that do not have a local plant count limit, medical marijuana patients and caregivers may grow up to 24 plants if the patient registers with the state licensing authority, provides notice to that local jurisdiction and follows any local jurisdiction disclosure and inspection requirements pertaining to their cultivation of marijuana plants. Finally, all marijuana cultivations must comply with local laws, regulation, and zoning and use restrictions. A person who violates the provisions of the bill is subject to a petty offense for a first offense, a level 1 drug misdemeanor for subsequent offenses involving 12-24 plants, and a level 3 drug felony for subsequent offenses involving more than 24 plants.

CAR supports this bill and testified in the Senate Judiciary Committee about the ability of a homeowner to grow potentially hundreds of medical marijuana plants within their residence, which creates an opportunity for property uses that are wholly inconsistent with basic concepts of zoning and appropriate property use.  In many cases, these “residential” grow operations are effectively “commercial” uses that are immediately adjacent to or, in some cases, attached to, the places our fellow Coloradans call “home.”

These large residential marijuana grows and the manufacturing operations they often bring with them have many consequences including obvious health and safety concerns, an increase of both human and automobile activity that is inconsistent with many residential neighborhood environments, extensive odors related to marijuana growth and harvest, and potential stigmatization of adjacent properties.

Taken together these consequences can interfere with a homeowner’s quiet enjoyment of their most sacred place… their home. Further, the current medical marijuana grow regulations do not respect the financial investment residential property owners have made in what is often their single largest investment… their home.

RPAC logo

Invest in RPAC

The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®.  Our goal is to get pro-REALTOR® candidates elected at the local, state, and federal levels – candidates that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. Our goal in 2017 is to raise $600,000 to continue to support our REALTOR ® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Click here to invest today!

CALLING ALL RPAC MAJOR INVESTORS! Enter to win a $500 Southwest Airlines Gift Card!

If you invest at least $300 of your 2017 Major Investment by April 10th with a pledge to complete your 2017 Major Investment by CAR Fall Conference, you will be entered in a drawing for a $500 Southwest Airlines Gift Card!! The winner will be announced during RPAC Drinking for Diamonds at CAR Spring Conference on April 26th! They do not have to be present to win.  The Major Investor levels start at $1,000 a year! Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business! Reminder: To be entered, you must invest at least $300 with a pledge to complete your Major Investment before CAR Fall Conference by April 10, 2017!  To make a one-time investment, click here!  To set up a recurring payment plan, click herePlease share this drawing with any potential RPAC Major Investors! If you have already made your 2017 Major Investment, thank you! You are already entered in the drawing!  Please contact Madeline (mcain@coloradorealtors.com) if you have any questions.

More than 50,000 REALTORS® from across the country have already signed up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts – have you? Text CO REALTORS to 30644 to stay up to date on REALTOR® issues!  You’ll be among the first to know about NAR Calls for Action and more! Click here for more information.

Colorado Project Wildfire

Developed by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Project Wildfire is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives.  Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities.  To learn more about Colorado Project Wildfire, click here.

Colorado Wildland Fire Conference

The Colorado Association of REALTORS® is a proud sponsor of the 2017 Colorado Wildland Fire Conference.  Please plan to attend this event on April 19th-21st at the Pueblo Convention Center (320 Central Main Street, Pueblo, CO). This year’s conference will expand on the Fire Adapted Communities concept, providing the framework for moving from awareness to action. Anyone wishing to learn more about how they can reduce their community’s vulnerability to wildfire is welcome to attend. CE opportunities for REALTORS® will be also be available. For more information and to register, click here.

NAR Midyear Meetings in Washington, DC: May 15-20, 2017

The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association. REALTORS® come to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.  Registration opens on February 15, 2017.  Click here for more information.


3/27/2017 Update:

Senate Bill 17-215: Sunset Licensed Real Estate Brokers & Subdivision Developers

SB17-215, sponsored by Senator Kevin Priola (R-Henderson) and Representative Matt Gray (D-Westminister) was passed unanimously out of the Senate, Business, Labor and Technology Committee on Wednesday with bi-partisan support, and CAR expects that it will have an easy path through the Senate. This bill continues the division of real estate, the real estate commission, and the regulation of real estate brokers and subdivision developers until 2026.

The bill directs the Real Estate Commission to establish, by rule, the number of transactions that a broker must have completed before becoming an employing broker and amends the current provisions on referral fees to conform to the requirements of federal law. It further consolidates the various cash funds used for several licensing functions and programs administered by the division of real estate into a single cash fund.

Additionally, the bill would allow broker licenses to expire uniformly on December 31 rather than requiring licensees to apply for renewal at various times throughout the year on their individual anniversary dates and defines “conviction” to include deferred judgments and deferred sentences, in provisions listing factors the commission may consider when determining whether to discipline a licensee. Moreover, the bill modifies the composition of the commission to require that one of the three licensee members be a broker with experience and an active practice in property management. Finally, the introduced bill was amended in committee to remove the property manager license endorsement section (Section 6), retain the license reinstatement fees at their current level, and change the effective date of the bill to June 30, 2017.

CAR supports this bill and has been actively involved in the process since the beginning of the legislative session to define the components of the legislation that will continue to regulate our members in the future. At the March 22nd committee hearing, CAR testified and successfully amended the introduced version of the bill to provide clarity around the qualifications of the property manager seat on the Real Estate Commission, and preserve statutory protections for brokers against claims for referral fees. Continue reading future editions of the Capitol Connection to stay apprised about the Sunset Bill and CAR’s work on your behalf.

House Bill 17-1279: Construction Defect Actions Notice Vote Approval

On March 17th HB17-1279, Construction Defect Actions Notice Vote Approval sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman (D-Denver), Senator Jack Tate (R-Centennial), Assistant Majority Leader of the House Alec Garnett (D-Denver), and Representative Lori Saine (R-Firestone) was introduced. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee on March 29th.

This bill requires that before the executive board of a homeowners’ association (HOA) in a common interest community brings suit against a developer or builder on behalf of unit owners for a construction defect action, the board must: a) notify in writing all unit owners and the developer or builder against whom the lawsuit is being considered; b) convene a meeting to consider whether to pursue a lawsuit and at that meeting the executive board and the developer or builder will have an opportunity to present relevant facts and arguments; and c) obtain the approval of a majority of the unit owners after giving them disclosures about the lawsuit and its potential costs and benefits.

CAR is in a neutral position because a few significant problems exist in the legislation as introduced. Some of these areas of concern include the exclusions of certain voting populations, the extension of the time allowed to file a lawsuit during the notice and claim period, and the omission of common area defects from requiring the same level of unit owner vote approval prior to entering a lawsuit despite the fact that these common areas could still tie up unit owner property and prevent homeowners from being able to re-finance or sell their property.

CAR is focused on making sure that the solution to the construction litigation environment enables developers and builders to have the confidence they need to build attainable housing options that are within reach of first time homeowners, seniors, young professionals and others who have effectively been blocked from pursuing home ownership. The common sense, bi-partisan solutions should facilitate a quick resolution process for homeowner associations who are trying to correct construction defects, but also protect homeowners who are trying to re-sell or finance their homes from actions that are taken by their HOA boards without their consent or knowledge.

House Bill 17-1220: Prevent Marijuana Diversion to Illegal Market

Today HB17-1220Prevent Marijuana Diversion to Illegal Market sponsored by Majority Leader KC Becker (D-Boulder), Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist (R-Centennial), and Senators Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) and Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. This bill, as amended, limits the total number of medical or recreational use marijuana plants that can be possessed or grown on a residential property to 12 plants. Unless authorized by local law, a medical marijuana patient or primary caregiver is prohibited from possessing or cultivating more than 12 plants on a residential property and must locate his or her cultivation operation on a non-residential property and comply with any applicable local law requiring disclosure of the cultivation operation. Cultivation operations are subject to any county and municipal building and public health inspection required by local law.

In addition, for those local jurisdictions that do not have a local plant count limit, medical marijuana patients and caregivers may grow up to 24 plants if the patient registers with the state licensing authority, provides notice to that local jurisdiction and follows any local jurisdiction disclosure and inspection requirements pertaining to their cultivation of marijuana plants. Finally, all marijuana cultivations must comply with local laws, regulation, and zoning and use restrictions. A person who violates the provisions of the bill is subject to a petty offense for a first offense, a level 1 drug misdemeanor for subsequent offenses involving 12-24 plants, and a level 3 drug felony for subsequent offenses involving more than 24 plants.

CAR supports this bill and testified in the Senate Judiciary Committee about the ability of a homeowner to grow potentially hundreds of medical marijuana plants within their residence,which creates an opportunity for property uses that are wholly inconsistent with basic concepts of zoning and appropriate property use.  In many cases, these “residential” grow operations are effectively “commercial” uses that are immediately adjacent to or, in some cases, attached to, the places our fellow Coloradans call “home.”

These large residential marijuana grows and the manufacturing operations they often bring with them have many consequences including obvious health and safety concerns, an increase of both human and automobile activity that is inconsistent with many residential neighborhood environments, extensive odors related to marijuana growth and harvest, and potential stigmatization of adjacent properties.

Taken together these consequences can interfere with a homeowner’s quiet enjoyment of their most sacred place… their home. Further, the current medical marijuana grow regulations do not respect the financial investment residential property owners have made in what is often their single largest investment… their home.

Invest in RPAC

The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®.  Our goal is to get pro-REALTOR® candidates elected at the local, state, and federal levels – candidates that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. Our goal in 2017 is to raise $600,000 to continue to support our REALTOR ® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Click here to invest today!

CALLING ALL RPAC MAJOR INVESTORS! Enter to win a $500 Southwest Airlines Gift Card!

If you invest at least $300 of your 2017 Major Investment by April 10th with a pledge to complete your 2017 Major Investment by CAR Fall Conference, you will be entered in a drawing for a $500 Southwest Airlines Gift Card!! The winner will be announced during RPAC Drinking for Diamonds at CAR Spring Conference on April 26th! They do not have to be present to win.  The Major Investor levels start at $1,000 a year! Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business!  Reminder: To be entered, you must invest at least $300 with a pledge to complete your Major Investment before CAR Fall Conference by April 10, 2017!  To make a one-time investment, click here!  To set up a recurring payment plan, click herePlease share this drawing with any potential RPAC Major Investors! If you have already made your 2017 Major Investment, thank you! You are already entered in the drawing!  Please contact Madeline (mcain@coloradorealtors.com) if you have any questions.

Sign up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts

More than 50,000 REALTORS® from across the country have already signed up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts – have you? Text CO REALTORS to 30644 to stay up to date on REALTOR® issues!  You’ll be among the first to know about NAR Calls for Action and more! Click here for more information.

Colorado Project Wildfire

Developed by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Project Wildfire is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives.  Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities.  To learn more about Colorado Project Wildfire, click here.

Colorado Wildland Fire Conference

The Colorado Association of REALTORS® is a proud sponsor of the 2017 Colorado Wildland Fire Conference.  Please plan to attend this event on April 19th-21st at the Pueblo Convention Center (320 Central Main Street, Pueblo, CO). This year’s conference will expand on the Fire Adapted Communities concept, providing the framework for moving from awareness to action. Anyone wishing to learn more about how they can reduce their community’s vulnerability to wildfire is welcome to attend. CE opportunities for REALTORS® will be also be available. For more information and to register, click here.

NAR Midyear Meetings in Washington, DC: May 15-20, 2017

The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association.  REALTORS® come to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.  Registration opens on February 15, 2017.  Click here for more information.


 3/24/17 Update:

Senate Bill 17-215: Sunset Licensed Real Estate Brokers & Subdivision Developers

SB17-215, sponsored by Senator Kevin Priola (R-Henderson) and Representative Matt Gray (D-Westminister) was passed unanimously out of the Senate, Business, Labor and Technology Committee on Wednesday with bi-partisan support, and CAR expects that it will have an easy path through the Senate. This bill continues the division of real estate, the real estate commission, and the regulation of real estate brokers and subdivision developers until 2026.

The bill directs the Real Estate Commission to establish, by rule, the number of transactions that a broker must have completed before becoming an employing broker and amends the current provisions on referral fees to conform to the requirements of federal law. It further consolidates the various cash funds used for several licensing functions and programs administered by the division of real estate into a single cash fund.

Additionally, the bill would allow broker licenses to expire uniformly on December 31 rather than requiring licensees to apply for renewal at various times throughout the year on their individual anniversary dates and defines “conviction” to include deferred judgments and deferred sentences, in provisions listing factors the commission may consider when determining whether to discipline a licensee. Moreover, the bill modifies the composition of the commission to require that one of the three licensee members be a broker with experience and an active practice in property management. Finally, the introduced bill was amended in committee to remove the property manager license endorsement section (Section 6), retain the license reinstatement fees at their current level, and change the effective date of the bill to June 30, 2017.

CAR supports this bill and has been actively involved in the process since the beginning of the legislative session to define the components of the legislation that will continue to regulate our members in the future. At the March 22nd committee hearing, CAR testified and successfully amended the introduced version of the bill to provide clarity around the qualifications of the property manager seat on the Real Estate Commission, and preserve statutory protections for brokers against claims for referral fees. Continue reading future editions of the Capitol Connection to stay apprised about the Sunset Bill and CAR’s work on your behalf.

House Bill 17-1279: Construction Defect Actions Notice Vote Approval

On March 17th HB17-1279, Construction Defect Actions Notice Vote Approval sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman (D-Denver), Senator Jack Tate (R-Centennial), Assistant Majority Leader of the House Alec Garnett (D-Denver), and Representative Lori Saine (R-Firestone) was introduced. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee on March 29th.

This bill requires that before the executive board of a homeowners’ association (HOA) in a common interest community brings suit against a developer or builder on behalf of unit owners for a construction defect action, the board must: a) notify in writing all unit owners and the developer or builder against whom the lawsuit is being considered; b) convene a meeting to consider whether to pursue a lawsuit and at that meeting the executive board and the developer or builder will have an opportunity to present relevant facts and arguments; and c) obtain the approval of a majority of the unit owners after giving them disclosures about the lawsuit and its potential costs and benefits.

CAR is in a neutral position because a few significant problems exist in the legislation as introduced. Some of these areas of concern include the exclusions of certain voting populations, the extension of the time allowed to file a lawsuit during the notice and claim period, and the omission of common area defects from requiring the same level of unit owner vote approval prior to entering a lawsuit despite the fact that these common areas could still tie up unit owner property and prevent homeowners from being able to re-finance or sell their property.

CAR is focused on making sure that the solution to the construction litigation environment enables developers and builders to have the confidence they need to build attainable housing options that are within reach of first time homeowners, seniors, young professionals and others who have effectively been blocked from pursuing home ownership. The common sense, bi-partisan solutions should facilitate a quick resolution process for homeowner associations who are trying to correct construction defects, but also protect homeowners who are trying to re-sell or finance their homes from actions that are taken by their HOA boards without their consent or knowledge.

House Bill 17-1220: Prevent Marijuana Diversion to Illegal Market

Today HB17-1220Prevent Marijuana Diversion to Illegal Market sponsored by Majority Leader KC Becker (D-Boulder), Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist (R-Centennial), and Senators Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) and Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. This bill, as amended, limits the total number of medical or recreational use marijuana plants that can be possessed or grown on a residential property to 12 plants. Unless authorized by local law, a medical marijuana patient or primary caregiver is prohibited from possessing or cultivating more than 12 plants on a residential property and must locate his or her cultivation operation on a non-residential property and comply with any applicable local law requiring disclosure of the cultivation operation. Cultivation operations are subject to any county and municipal building and public health inspection required by local law.

In addition, for those local jurisdictions that do not have a local plant count limit, medical marijuana patients and caregivers may grow up to 24 plants if the patient registers with the state licensing authority, provides notice to that local jurisdiction and follows any local jurisdiction disclosure and inspection requirements pertaining to their cultivation of marijuana plants. Finally, all marijuana cultivations must comply with local laws, regulation, and zoning and use restrictions. A person who violates the provisions of the bill is subject to a petty offense for a first offense, a level 1 drug misdemeanor for subsequent offenses involving 12-24 plants, and a level 3 drug felony for subsequent offenses involving more than 24 plants.

CAR supports this bill and testified in the Senate Judiciary Committee about the ability of a homeowner to grow potentially hundreds of medical marijuana plants within their residence,which creates an opportunity for property uses that are wholly inconsistent with basic concepts of zoning and appropriate property use.  In many cases, these “residential” grow operations are effectively “commercial” uses that are immediately adjacent to or, in some cases, attached to, the places our fellow Coloradans call “home.”

These large residential marijuana grows and the manufacturing operations they often bring with them have many consequences including obvious health and safety concerns, an increase of both human and automobile activity that is inconsistent with many residential neighborhood environments, extensive odors related to marijuana growth and harvest, and potential stigmatization of adjacent properties.

Taken together these consequences can interfere with a homeowner’s quiet enjoyment of their most sacred place… their home. Further, the current medical marijuana grow regulations do not respect the financial investment residential property owners have made in what is often their single largest investment… their home.

3/10/17 Update:

Senate Bill 17-156: Homeowner’s Association Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines

This week the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance initiated SB17-156, Homeowner’s Association Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines sponsored by Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Representative Cole Wist (R-Centennial), and Representative Lori Saine (R-Firestone) received bipartisan approval as it passed the Senate.  The bill will next go to the House for their consideration.

Thank you to all our members who responded to the Call For Action (CFA) and helped CAR make our presence known at the Capitol on this important issue.  CAR will soon be asking our members to again weigh in on this legislation.  It will be even more vital to convey to our elected representatives in the House the importance of passing SB-156.  Please stay alert for another all-House CFA.

SB 156 is a comprehensive construction litigation reform bill that:

  • Provides a common sense and balanced solution that protects consumers from faulty construction whiles also increasing diverse and more affordable options for home ownership.
  • Encourages construction of housing options that are within reach of many first time homeowners, seniors, young professionals and others who have effectively been blocked from home ownership at a time when the state’s rental market has skyrocketed
  • Defines a quick resolution process for homeowner associations who are trying to correct construction defects, while also protecting homeowners who are trying to re-sell or finance their homes from actions taken by their boards without their consent or knowledge.
  • Does not preclude a single homeowner from pursing legal action for allegations of construction defects against a builder.
  • Encourages new multi-family development near light rail and transit stations that provide easy access to commuting, shopping and urban-living options
  • Provides a more stable environment for many Coloradans have been precluded from putting down strong roots, and for cities and towns are finding it more difficult to build established and less transient communities.

South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce Construction Litigation Reform Event

Join the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce and their Business Leaders for Responsible Government members for a discussion on Construction Litigation Reform Affordable/Attainable Housing on March 15th from 7:30am to 9:00am. It will be a roomful of business, political, and community leaders very concerned and interested in attainable/affordable housing solutions for companies and people living here now and those coming to Colorado in the future to grow our economy.  People of all ages and income brackets that want to invest in our communities and need more choices are invited.

If you are interested in attending please register for the event by clicking here

House Bill 17-1220: Prevent Marijuana Diversion to Illegal Market

Today HB17-1220, Prevent Marijuana Diversion to Illegal Market sponsored by Majority Leader KC Becker (D-Boulder), Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist (R-Centennial), and Senators Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) and Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) passed second reading on the House Floor. The bill will next have its final hearing in the House.

This bill, as amended, limits the total number of medical or recreational use marijuana plants that can be possessed or grown on a residential property to 16 plants. What this bill does not do is limit the amount of plants that have been prescribed for medicinal marijuana patients.  It only limits the amount of plants one may grow in residences.

Unless authorized by local law, and a waiver is granted by a local authority, a medical marijuana patient or primary caregiver is prohibited from possessing or cultivating more than 16 plants on a residential property and must locate his or her cultivation operation on a property other than a residential property and comply with any applicable local law requiring disclosure of the cultivation operation.

Moreover, medical marijuana patients and caregivers who cultivate marijuana plants are required to comply with all local laws, regulation, and zoning and use restrictions. A person who violates the provisions of the bill is subject to a petty offense for a first violation and a felony for subsequent offenses.

CAR supports this bill and testified in committee about the depreciated quality of residential home values because large marijuana grows interfere with the enjoyment of the use of private property. Large home grows of this type often require dangerous property modifications and excessive water and electricity use that can be hazardous to occupants of the home, neighbors, and first responders. Among 28 other states that have legalized marijuana for adult or medicinal use, 12 states ban home cultivation altogether, and no other state permits home grows of more than 16 plants. Large scale home grows of more than 16 plants more appropriately belong in an agricultural or commercial zone than a residential neighborhood.

3/7/2017 Update:

Senate Bill 17-156: Homeowner’s Association Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines

This week the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance initiated SB17-156, Homeowner’s Association Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines sponsored by Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Representative Cole Wist (R-Centennial), and Representative Lori Saine (R-Firestone) passed out of the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee on Monday, February 27th. The bill will next go to the Senate Floor for their consideration. Thank you to all our members who responded to the Call For Action and attended Attainable Housing Day events at the Capitol. Also, thank you to a member of our Legislative Policy Committee, Jon Roberts, who testified on behalf of CAR at the committee hearing.

SB 156 is a comprehensive construction litigation reform bill that:

  • Provides a common sense and balanced solution that protects consumers from faulty construction whiles also increasing diverse and more affordable options for home ownership.
  • Encourages construction of housing options that are within reach of many first time homeowners, seniors, young professionals and others who have effectively been blocked from home ownership at a time when the state’s rental market has skyrocketed
  • Defines a quick resolution process for homeowner associations who are trying to correct construction defects, while also protecting homeowners who are trying to re-sell or finance their homes from actions taken by their boards without their consent or knowledge.
  • Does not preclude a single homeowner from pursing legal action for allegations of construction defects against a builder.
  • Encourages new multi-family development near light rail and transit stations that provide easy access to commuting, shopping and urban-living options
  • Provides a more stable environment for many Coloradans have been precluded from putting down strong roots, and for cities and towns are finding it more difficult to build established and less transient communities.

House Bill 17-1187 – Change Excess State Revenue Cap To Growth Factor

Today HB17-1187, Change Excess State Revenue Cap To Growth Factor introduced by Representative Dan Thurlow (R- Grand Junction), and Senator Larry Crowder (R- Alamosa) passed out of the House Appropriations committee after receiving earlier support out of the House Finance Committee on February 27th this week. CAR took a position to support this bill today in the Legislative Policy Committee.

The bill modifies the TABOR excess revenues cap by allowing an adjustment for an increase to be based on personal income growth over the last five years, rather than adjusting for inflation and population. Colorado personal income is the total personal income for Colorado as reported by a federal agency. This modification may increase the amount that the state retains and spends in a given fiscal year, so the bill would refer this measure to the voters for their approval for the change, as required by TABOR.

Legislation like this removes fiscal constraints on government that have been set in the Constitution. It also places this decision correctly in the hands of the voters to make the ultimate decision as TABOR requires us to do. This measure will give us the ability as a state to invest when we are growing and tighten our belts when we are not. It would also allow the State to retain more revenue that could be invested in areas that can affect the value of real estate such as transportation infrastructure, higher education, K-12, and other areas to ease the tension on our State’s budget.

Senate Bill 17-050 Consolidate Forest Risk And Health Grant Programs

CAR supported SB17-050, Consolidate Forest Risk And Health Grant Programs, sponsored by House Majority Leader KC Becker (D- Boulder) and Senator John Cooke (R-Greeley). The bill passed third reading in the House today and will now go to Governor’s Hickenlooper for his consideration. Senate Bill 50 consolidates existing state grant programs related to forest management under the Colorado State Forest Service at Colorado State University and gives the University the authority to spend unencumbered balances in certain cash funds.

Specifically it:

  • Renames the Forest Restoration Program Cash Fund to the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Forest Health Grant Program Cash Fund and extends its repeal date from July 1, 2018, to September 1, 2023;
  • Repeals the Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on December 31, 2017, and transfers the balance to the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Forest Health Grant Program Cash Fund;
  • Authorizes $2.5 million in transfers from the Severance Tax Operational Fund from July 1, 2017, to September 1, 2023, to the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Forest Health Grant Program Cash Fund and allows the State Forest Service to use up to $1.0 million of the unencumbered balance of the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Forest Health Grant Program Cash Fund with spending direction;
  • Establishes eligibility and funding criteria for the grant programs.

CAR previously testified in support of the bill in the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy Committee and helped to amend the language to focus the consolidated grant on forest restoration and wildfire risk mitigation that are critical investments in reducing the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires that could destroy homes, property, and essential community infrastructure especially in the wildland urban interface areas. CAR continues to support legislation that furthers the mission of Colorado Project Wildfire that enables Colorado REALTORS® to partner with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across our state to bring education and awareness, as well as access to fire mitigation resources directly to residents in their local communities.

Colorado TRIP Report Released by #FixItCO on March 1st

#FixItCO is a statewide coalition (CAR is a member of the stakeholder group) that focuses on looking for a solution to our transportation infrastructure challenges. On March 1st #FixItCO launched the release of the Colorado TRIP Report. TRIP, a national transportation research group, released the annual study on the state of Colorado roads, entitled “Colorado Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility.” (Read the full report here: http://www.tripnet.org/ )

The report finds that throughout Colorado, 41 percent of major, locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor condition and six percent of Colorado’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 2,400 people were killed in crashes on Colorado’s roads from 2011 to 2015.

Invest in RPAC

The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®.  Our goal is to get pro-REALTOR® candidates elected at the local, state, and federal levels – candidates that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. Our goal in 2017 is to raise $600,000 to continue to support our REALTOR ® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Click here to invest today!

Sign up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts

More than 50,000 REALTORS® from across the country have already signed up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts – have you? Text CO REALTORS to 30644 to stay up to date on REALTOR® issues!  You’ll be among the first to know about NAR Calls for Action and more! Click here for more information.

Colorado Project Wildfire

Developed by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Project Wildfire is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives.  Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities.  To learn more about Colorado Project Wildfire, click here.

NAR Midyear Meetings in Washington, DC: May 15-20, 2017

The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association.  REALTORS® come to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.  Registration opens on February 15, 2017.  Click here for more information.

Transit Alliance Spring 2017 Citizen’s Academy

The Transit Alliance is hosting their annual spring 2017 Citizen’s Academy from April 5, 2017 – May 17, 2017.  This is a great opportunity to discuss transportation, community development, and sustainability in Colorado.  The class is limited, so please get your applications in soon.  More information and the application can be found here.  The deadline to apply is March 17, 2017.


3/3/2017 Update:

Senate Bill 17-156: Homeowner’s Association Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines

This week the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance initiated SB17-156, Homeowner’s Association Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines sponsored by Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Representative Cole Wist (R-Centennial), and Representative Lori Saine (R-Firestone) passed out of the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee on Monday, February 27th. The bill will next go to the Senate Floor for their consideration. Thank you to all our members who responded to the Call For Action and attended Attainable Housing Day events at the Capitol. Also, thank you to a member of our Legislative Policy Committee, Jon Roberts, who testified on behalf of CAR at the committee hearing.

SB 156 is a comprehensive construction litigation reform bill that:

  • Provides a common sense and balanced solution that protects consumers from faulty construction whiles also increasing diverse and more affordable options for home ownership.
  • Encourages construction of housing options that are within reach of many first time homeowners, seniors, young professionals and others who have effectively been blocked from home ownership at a time when the state’s rental market has skyrocketed
  • Defines a quick resolution process for homeowner associations who are trying to correct construction defects, while also protecting homeowners who are trying to re-sell or finance their homes from actions taken by their boards without their consent or knowledge.
  • Does not preclude a single homeowner from pursing legal action for allegations of construction defects against a builder.
  • Encourages new multi-family development near light rail and transit stations that provide easy access to commuting, shopping and urban-living options
  • Provides a more stable environment for many Coloradans have been precluded from putting down strong roots, and for cities and towns are finding it more difficult to build established and less transient communities.

House Bill 17-1187 – Change Excess State Revenue Cap To Growth Factor

Today HB17-1187, Change Excess State Revenue Cap To Growth Factor introduced by Representative Dan Thurlow (R- Grand Junction), and Senator Larry Crowder (R- Alamosa) passed out of the House Appropriations committee after receiving earlier support out of the House Finance Committee on February 27th this week. CAR took a position to support this bill today in the Legislative Policy Committee.

The bill modifies the TABOR excess revenues cap by allowing an adjustment for an increase to be based on personal income growth over the last five years, rather than adjusting for inflation and population. Colorado personal income is the total personal income for Colorado as reported by a federal agency. This modification may increase the amount that the state retains and spends in a given fiscal year, so the bill would refer this measure to the voters for their approval for the change, as required by TABOR.

Legislation like this removes fiscal constraints on government that have been set in the Constitution. It also places this decision correctly in the hands of the voters to make the ultimate decision as TABOR requires us to do. This measure will give us the ability as a state to invest when we are growing and tighten our belts when we are not. It would also allow the State to retain more revenue that could be invested in areas that can affect the value of real estate such as transportation infrastructure, higher education, K-12, and other areas to ease the tension on our State’s budget.

Senate Bill 17-050 Consolidate Forest Risk And Health Grant Programs

CAR supported SB17-050, Consolidate Forest Risk And Health Grant Programs, sponsored by House Majority Leader KC Becker (D- Boulder) and Senator John Cooke (R-Greeley). The bill passed third reading in the House today and will now go to Governor’s Hickenlooper for his consideration. Senate Bill 50 consolidates existing state grant programs related to forest management under the Colorado State Forest Service at Colorado State University and gives the University the authority to spend unencumbered balances in certain cash funds.

Specifically it:

  • Renames the Forest Restoration Program Cash Fund to the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Forest Health Grant Program Cash Fund and extends its repeal date from July 1, 2018, to September 1, 2023;
  • Repeals the Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on December 31, 2017, and transfers the balance to the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Forest Health Grant Program Cash Fund;
  • Authorizes $2.5 million in transfers from the Severance Tax Operational Fund from July 1, 2017, to September 1, 2023, to the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Forest Health Grant Program Cash Fund and allows the State Forest Service to use up to $1.0 million of the unencumbered balance of the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Forest Health Grant Program Cash Fund with spending direction;
  • Establishes eligibility and funding criteria for the grant programs.

CAR previously testified in support of the bill in the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy Committee and helped to amend the language to focus the consolidated grant on forest restoration and wildfire risk mitigation that are critical investments in reducing the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires that could destroy homes, property, and essential community infrastructure especially in the wildland urban interface areas. CAR continues to support legislation that furthers the mission of Colorado Project Wildfire that enables Colorado REALTORS® to partner with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across our state to bring education and awareness, as well as access to fire mitigation resources directly to residents in their local communities.

Colorado TRIP Report Released by #FixItCO on March 1st

#FixItCO is a statewide coalition (CAR is a member of the stakeholder group) that focuses on looking for a solution to our transportation infrastructure challenges. On March 1st #FixItCO launched the release of the Colorado TRIP Report. TRIP, a national transportation research group, released the annual study on the state of Colorado roads, entitled “Colorado Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility.” (Read the full report here: http://www.tripnet.org/ )

The report finds that throughout Colorado, 41 percent of major, locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor condition and six percent of Colorado’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 2,400 people were killed in crashes on Colorado’s roads from 2011 to 2015.


2/27/2017 Update:

Don’t miss out on the CALL FOR ACTION: Construction Litigation Reform

Ask your state senator to support SB 156, which fixes problems in current state law that have essentially brought the construction of new owner-occupied, multi-family housing such as condos to a halt. SB 156 would fix problems in the current law by providing a common sense and balanced solution that protects consumers from faulty construction while also increasing diverse and more affordable options for home ownership.

The Colorado State Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee is hearing SB 156 on Monday, February 27th.  The Homeownership Opportunity Alliance (HOA), along with many other construction litigation reform advocates, are hosting an Attainable Housing Day in conjunction with the bill’s hearing.

This is our first opportunity of the year to exercise the strength of our collective 25,000 statewide members and be the voice for Real Estate!

Here is how you can get involved:

  1. Don’t Miss Attainable Housing Day at the Capitol on Monday, February 27th.  Please click here to view the invitation.
  2. Attend the Press Conference on Monday, February 27th. Please click here to view the invitation.
  3. Contact Your Legislators with a Call for Action by clicking here.
  4. Check out the Talking Points for SB 156 by clicking here.

Make your voice heard now!

Senate Bill 17-050 Consolidate Forest Risk And Health Grant Programs

CAR supports SB17-050, Consolidate Forest Risk And Health Grant Programs, sponsored by House Majority Leader KC Becker (D- Boulder) and Senator John Cooke (R-Greeley). The bill will be heard in the House Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Committee on Monday February 27th. Senate Bill 50 consolidates existing state grant programs related to forest management under the Colorado State Forest Service at Colorado State University and gives the University the authority to spend unencumbered balances in certain cash funds.

Specifically it:

  • Renames the Forest Restoration Program Cash Fund to the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Forest Health Grant Program Cash Fund and extends its repeal date from July 1, 2018, to September 1, 2023;
  • Repeals the Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on December 31, 2017, and transfers the balance to the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Forest Health Grant Program Cash Fund;
  • Authorizes $2.5 million in transfers from the Severance Tax Operational Fund from July 1, 2017, to September 1, 2023, to the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Forest Health Grant Program Cash Fund and allows the State Forest Service to use up to $1.0 million of the unencumbered balance of the Wildfire Risk Reduction and Forest Health Grant Program Cash Fund with spending direction;
  • Establishes eligibility and funding criteria for these grant programs.

CAR testified in support of the bill in the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy Committee and helped to amend the language to focus the consolidated grant on forest restoration and wildfire risk mitigation that are critical investments in reducing the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires that could destroy homes, property, and essential community infrastructure especially in the wildland urban interface areas. CAR continues to support legislation that furthers the mission of Colorado Project Wildfire that enables Colorado REALTORS® to partner with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across our state to bring education and awareness, as well as access to fire mitigation resources directly to residents in their local communities.

House Bill 17-1161 TIF Tax Increment Financing Transparency

CAR voted to oppose HB17-1161 TIF Tax Increment Financing Transparency, sponsored by Representative Beckman (R-Littleton). This bill would have required urban renewal authorities (URAs) to prepare a public report no later than 90 days after the end of the first fiscal year in which an urban renewal plan using tax increment financing (TIF) has been authorized, and each year thereafter. The report would be required to include information on TIF revenue collected in the previous year, the taxing entities affected, how revenues were spent, projected TIF revenues for the upcoming year, and progress made on urban renewal projects. The report also had to include an independent audit of the URA’s financial status by a certified public accountant. If the audit identified that TIF revenue had been used for unauthorized purposes, the URA would be liable for the repayment of those tax revenues to the taxing entities. The bill defined eligible costs and eligible improvements for URAs, and specified that the annual public report be sent to each taxing entity via first class mail and email.

We are happy to report that this bill died in the House Committee on Business Affairs and Labor on February 21st. CAR opposed this legislation because it would have made these types of urban renewal projects more difficult to enact and operate. The new reporting requirements combined with the extra legal and financial advisement requirements go beyond existing statute. This bill also would have eroded the likelihood of businesses and local governments to finance infrastructure and incentivize development because the legislation could make it more difficult for bond holders and developers to repay their debts. Tax-increment financing is an essential tool for many municipalities and local governments to promote redevelopment of underutilized areas by paying for the revitalization up front and paying off the costs of that strategic investment with future revenue.

Invest in RPAC

The purpose of RPAC is to support candidates that support REALTORS®.  Our goal is to get pro-REALTOR® candidates elected at the local, state, and federal levels – candidates that share our support for homeownership, protect property rights, and who will listen to our concerns. Investing in RPAC is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your business. Our goal in 2017 is to raise $600,000 to continue to support our REALTOR ® champions and ensure we achieve the policy outcomes necessary to protect property rights. Click here to invest today!

Colorado Project Wildfire

Developed by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Project Wildfire is designed to help reduce the destruction of land, property, and lives.  Working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across the state, local REALTOR® associations are bringing education and awareness, as well as access to resources, directly to residents in their local communities.  To learn more about Colorado Project Wildfire, click here.

NAR Midyear Meetings in Washington, DC: May 15-20, 2017

The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association.  REALTORS® come to Washington, DC, for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.  Registration opens on February 15, 2017.  Click here for more information.

Transit Alliance Spring 2017 Citizen’s Academy

The Transit Alliance is hosting their annual spring 2017 Citizen’s Academy from April 5, 2017 – May 17, 2017.  This is a great opportunity to discuss transportation, community development, and sustainability in Colorado.  The class is limited, so please get your applications in soon.  More information and the application can be found here.  The deadline to apply is March 17, 2017.


2/17/17 Update:

House Bill 17-1159: Remedies For Forcible Entry And Detainer

CAR initiated HB 17-1159, Remedies For Forcible Entry And Detainer, sponsored by Senator John Cooke (R-Greeley) and Representative Jon Becker (R- Fort Morgan) was introduced last week and today the LPC took an official support position. This bill proposes real solutions to reduce the problem of squatters unlawfully possessing property. It will provide courts and law enforcement the necessary tools to protect property owners, as introduced, the bill revises forcible entry and detainer law and establishes the offenses of unlawful occupancy and unlawful re-entry.

Squatting poses a real menace to real estate when a squatter moves into a vacant apartment or house without the consent of the true owner. Frequently houses targeted by squatters are foreclosures or properties under-going renovations, but they can also be homes offered for sale by owners. In some egregious cases, families have returned home from a vacation to find squatters living in their homes.  The result is that true property owners must spend time and money to go through eviction proceedings to remove these squatters from their properties. CAR believes the solution is to provide true property owners with some remedies and add offenses into our statutes for taking up residence in a property without the true property owner’s consent.

These common sense solutions will:

  • Give rightful property owners a remedy to remove unauthorized squatters and lessen damage to private property through fraudulent transfer of real estate
  • Give courts and law enforcement officials the tools and necessary procedures to deal with this problem, which is not adequately addressed in current statute
  • Protect consumers from becoming a victim of these types of scams
  • Deter squatter events that threaten private property rights

Senate Bill 17-085: Increase Documentary Fee and Fund Attainable Housing

On Monday February 13th, CAR testified in opposition to SB17-85Increase Documentary Fee & Fund Attainable Housing introduced by Representative Rachel Zenzinger (D-Arvada).  We are happy to report that this bill died in the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee. This bill would have raised the doc fee for recording or filing to five dollars. The first dollar would have gone towards electronic filing costs under existing law and the remaining four dollars would go towards a statewide attainable housing investment fund. At least twenty-five percent of funds collected would have been allocated to financial assistance for lower income households to finance, purchase, or rehabilitate single family residential homes or provide financial assistance to nonprofits and political subdivisions that make loans to persons for that same purpose.

CAR believes increased documentary fees work much like transfer taxes and fees; they are regressive. They wind up creating barriers to homeownership by impacting those that can least afford it, because they increase the amount of money needed to purchase a home. Moreover, these types of transfer taxes and documentary fees are extremely sensitive to market forces making the frequency of transactions and value of property variable in relation to the strength of the economy, which makes these types of funds a poor revenue source for affordable housing. Finally, it is likely that transferring a portion of this fee to a different fund is unconstitutional.

Senate Bill  17-127 Originator Exemption Mortgages To Family Members

CAR supports SB17-127Originator Exemption Mortgages To Family Members, sponsored by Senator Jack Tate (R-Centennial) and Representative Dan Pabon (D-Denver).  Under current law, parents who help to finance a child’s mortgage loan are exempt from the mortgage loan originator regulations in state law. The bill expands the exemption to include any family member who helps to finance another family member for up to three loans per year, with or without interest compensation. The Board of Mortgage Loan Originators in the Department of Regulatory Agencies is directed to define “family member” by rule.

CAR believes SB 17-127 is a good clean-up bill that was developed in a stakeholder process with the Colorado Bar Association, the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association, and the Department of Regulatory Agencies to fix common problems that arise in everyday real estate transactions. For example, if a father discusses with his son the selling of land or property, including the length of a loan, interest rates and payment and the son agrees to the terms. They would next meet with an attorney to formalize the process with a promissory note and deed of trust. The attorney, as an officer of the court, is now in a position of having put the father in violation of existing laws because he has acted as a Mortgage Loan Originator without a license. This father would be committing a misdemeanor under existing law. SB-17 127 changes the law to make allowance for a common sense solution that fixes this problem and does not conflict with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations or the Dodd Frank Act. The state legislation encourages family members to maintain more flexibility to help finance mortgage loans within their own families.

2/6/2017 Update:

Commission and Division of Real Estate Sunset Update

Last week, CAR General Counsel, Scott Peterson testified at the first pre-hearing on the Division of Real Estate Sunset before the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee. This pre-hearing was an opportunity for the committee to hear from the Department of Regulatory Agencies Policy Analyst and stakeholders on the DORA Sunset Report. Peterson shared CAR’s comments on the report, explaining that CAR believes the Division and Commission should be continued and continue to regulate licensees.

However, CAR strongly disagreed with Recommendation 2 related to “standard forms” that is troublesome for our members for several reasons. Removing “standard” and “including those” language is inconsistent with established legal precedent stemming from the Conway Bogue case that has defined the practice of real estate brokers for the past sixty years. If this ruling were changed by the Sunset recommendation a real estate licensee would only be able to complete forms that are promulgated by the Real Estate Commission and any other form, no matter how innocuous, would need to be prepared by an attorney. Accordingly, this proposed change could reduce the authority of broker licensees and expand the role of attorneys in real estate transactions. This type of substantial change could erode the rights of the 40,000 real estate licensees throughout the state.

Finally, CAR also addressed Recommendation 9 at the pre-hearing. CAR informed the committee that requiring the Commission to develop guidelines for the annual commission update course instead of developing the course itself will curtail the supply of instructors, and thereby restrict the availability of course offering and overburden the Division who would need to not only develop the guidelines, but also approve, police and audit these classes developed by the instructors.

Peterson also informed the committee of our support for Recommendations 4, 5, and 7, which would increase the qualifications necessary to become an employing broker (4), amend state statutes dealing with referral fees to conform with RESPA (5), and revise license renewal dates from anniversary dates to December 31 of each year (7).

The Senate Business Affairs, Labor and Technology Committee has taken these comments from stakeholders and the DORA public policy analyst into consideration in drafting a bill. Based upon CAR’s testimony and some of the other stakeholder comments the bill draft will not include Recommendations 2, 3, and 9. The introduced bill will be calendared for future hearings in committee and follow the regular legislative process. Continue reading future editions of the Capitol Connection to stay apprised about the Sunset Review and CAR’s work on your behalf.

Senate Bill 17-156: Homeowner’s Association Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines

Today, the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) voted to support the Home Opportunity Alliance initiated SB17-156, Homeowner’s Association Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines introduced by Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Representatives Cole Wist (R-Centennial), and Lori Saine (R-Firestone). SB 156 is comprehensive reform bill that:

  • Provides a common sense and balanced solution that protects consumers from faulty construction whiles also increasing diverse and more affordable options for home ownership.
  • Encourages construction of housing options that are within reach of many first time homeowners, seniors, young professionals and others who have effectively been blocked from home ownership at a time when the state’s rental market has skyrocketed
  • Defines a quick resolution process for homeowner associations who are trying to correct construction defects, while also protecting homeowners who are trying to re-sell or finance their homes from actions taken by their boards without their consent or knowledge.
  • Does not preclude a single homeowner from pursing legal action for allegations of construction defects against a builder.
  • Encourages new multi-family development near light rail and transit stations that provide easy access to commuting, shopping and urban-living options
  • Provides a more stable environment for many Coloradans have been precluded from putting down strong roots, and for cities and towns are finding it more difficult to build established and less transient communities.

Senate Bill 17-038 Registration Home Inspectors

CAR initiated Senate Bill 17-038 Regulation of Home Inspectors Sponsored by Senator Nancy Todd (D-Aurora) passed out of the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee and was heard in the Senate Finance Committee this week. Thank you to our CAR members Ed Hardy and David Barber who testified on this important legislation in those committees this week. The bill was laidover for action only in the Senate Finance Committee and we will find out next week if the bill advances to the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) supports SB17-038 that makes it unlawful for a person to act as a home inspector without first registering with the department of regulatory agencies.  This year’s bill would require a home inspector to pay a registration fee, show proof of possession of minimum liability insurance coverage and a surety bond, and submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. The registration program would sunset in 5 years.

CAR believes SB 17-038 is a consumer protection bill that addresses requirements for professionals wishing to undertake the important responsibility of home inspection without creating a burdensome barrier to entry for new businesses. For consumers, one of the biggest transactions they make during the course of their lifetime is the sale or purchase of a home. Home Inspectors have a tremendous amount of access to the most private aspect of a consumer’s living space — their home. Incidents of burglary, incorrect reporting, and even threats to personal safety are not what consumers should be worrying about as they participate in a real estate transaction. Home Inspectors are the only professional in the transaction that is not currently regulated who can have a significant impact on the outcome of the real estate transaction.


2/3/17 Update:

Commission and Division of Real Estate Sunset Update

Last week, CAR General Counsel, Scott Peterson testified at the first pre-hearing on the Division of Real Estate Sunset before the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee. This pre-hearing was an opportunity for the committee to hear from the Department of Regulatory Agencies Policy Analyst and stakeholders on the DORA Sunset Report. Peterson shared CAR’s comments on the report, explaining that CAR believes the Division and Commission should be continued and continue to regulate licensees.

However, CAR strongly disagreed with Recommendation 2 related to “standard forms” that is troublesome for our members for several reasons. Removing “standard” and “including those” language is inconsistent with established legal precedent stemming from the Conway Bogue case that has defined the practice of real estate brokers for the past sixty years. If this ruling were changed by the Sunset recommendation a real estate licensee would only be able to complete forms that are promulgated by the Real Estate Commission and any other form, no matter how innocuous, would need to be prepared by an attorney. Accordingly, this proposed change could reduce the authority of broker licensees and expand the role of attorneys in real estate transactions. This type of substantial change could erode the rights of the 40,000 real estate licensees throughout the state.

Finally, CAR also addressed Recommendation 9 at the pre-hearing. CAR informed the committee that requiring the Commission to develop guidelines for the annual commission update course instead of developing the course itself will curtail the supply of instructors, and thereby restrict the availability of course offering and overburden the Division who would need to not only develop the guidelines, but also approve, police and audit these classes developed by the instructors.

Peterson also informed the committee of our support for Recommendations 4, 5, and 7, which would increase the qualifications necessary to become an employing broker (4), amend state statutes dealing with referral fees to conform with RESPA (5), and revise license renewal dates from anniversary dates to December 31 of each year (7).

The Senate Business Affairs, Labor and Technology Committee has taken these comments from stakeholders and the DORA public policy analyst into consideration in drafting a bill. Based upon CAR’s testimony and some of the other stakeholder comments the bill draft will not include Recommendations 2, 3, and 9. The introduced bill will be calendared for future hearings in committee and follow the regular legislative process. Continue reading future editions of the Capitol Connection to stay apprised about the Sunset Review and CAR’s work on your behalf.

Senate Bill 17-156: Homeowner’s Association Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines

Today, the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) voted to support the Home Opportunity Alliance initiated SB17-156, Homeowner’s Association Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines introduced by Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Representatives Cole Wist (R-Centennial), and Lori Saine (R-Firestone). SB 156 is comprehensive reform bill that:

  • Provides a common sense and balanced solution that protects consumers from faulty construction whiles also increasing diverse and more affordable options for home ownership.
  • Encourages construction of housing options that are within reach of many first time homeowners, seniors, young professionals and others who have effectively been blocked from home ownership at a time when the state’s rental market has skyrocketed
  • Defines a quick resolution process for homeowner associations who are trying to correct construction defects, while also protecting homeowners who are trying to re-sell or finance their homes from actions taken by their boards without their consent or knowledge.
  • Does not preclude a single homeowner from pursing legal action for allegations of construction defects against a builder.
  • Encourages new multi-family development near light rail and transit stations that provide easy access to commuting, shopping and urban-living options
  • Provides a more stable environment for many Coloradans have been precluded from putting down strong roots, and for cities and towns are finding it more difficult to build established and less transient communities.

Senate Bill 17-038 Registration Home Inspectors

CAR initiated Senate Bill 17-038 Regulation of Home Inspectors Sponsored by Senator Nancy Todd (D-Aurora) passed out of the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee and was heard in the Senate Finance Committee this week. Thank you to our CAR members Ed Hardy and David Barber who testified on this important legislation in those committees this week. The bill was laidover for action only in the Senate Finance Committee and we will find out next week if the bill advances to the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) supports SB17-038 that makes it unlawful for a person to act as a home inspector without first registering with the department of regulatory agencies.  This year’s bill would require a home inspector to pay a registration fee, show proof of possession of minimum liability insurance coverage and a surety bond, and submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. The registration program would sunset in 5 years.

CAR believes SB 17-038 is a consumer protection bill that addresses requirements for professionals wishing to undertake the important responsibility of home inspection without creating a burdensome barrier to entry for new businesses. For consumers, one of the biggest transactions they make during the course of their lifetime is the sale or purchase of a home. Home Inspectors have a tremendous amount of access to the most private aspect of a consumer’s living space — their home. Incidents of burglary, incorrect reporting, and even threats to personal safety are not what consumers should be worrying about as they participate in a real estate transaction. Home Inspectors are the only professional in the transaction that is not currently regulated who can have a significant impact on the outcome of the real estate transaction.

1/27/17 Update:

Commission and Division of Real Estate Sunset Update

On Wednesday January 25th, CAR General Counsel, Scott Peterson testified at the pre-hearing on the Division of Real Estate Sunset before the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee. This pre-hearing was an opportunity for the committee to hear from the Department of Regulatory Agencies’ Policy Analyst and stakeholders on the DORA Sunset Report. Peterson shared CAR’s comments on the report, explaining that CAR believes the Division and Commission should be continued and continue to regulate licensees.

Peterson also informed the committee of our support for Recommendations 4, 5, and 7, which would increase the qualifications necessary to become an employing broker (4), amend state statutes dealing with referral fees to conform with RESPA (5), and revise license renewal dates from anniversary dates to December 31 of each year (7).

However, CAR strongly disagreed with Recommendation 2, related to “standard forms”, which is troublesome for our members for several reasons. Removing “standard” and “including those” language is inconsistent with established legal precedent stemming from the Conway Bogue case that has defined the practice of real estate brokers for the past sixty years. In this case, the Colorado Supreme Court determined that when a broker fills out a form given to them by their clients it does not constitute unauthorized practice of law.

If this ruling were changed by the Sunset recommendation a real estate licensee would only be able to complete forms that are promulgated by the Real Estate Commission and any other form, no matter how innocuous, would need to be prepared by an attorney. These simple tasks could include filling in the parties on a lease or completing a builder’s new construction contract with the sale price and closing date. Accordingly, this proposed change could reduce the authority of broker licensees and expand the role of attorneys in real estate transactions. This type of substantial change that erodes the rights of the 40,000 real estate licensees throughout the state should only be undertaken with substantial evidence of clear and direct consumer harm rather than the vague and nonspecific references at issue in the Sunset Report.

Further, REALTORS® care deeply about their profession and do not wish for their consumer clients to be harmed. And in Colorado there are a variety of remedies available to consumers for their protection. Colorado is one of a few states that require maintenance of errors and omissions professional liability insurance by every licensee. In addition to civil recourses, the Division of Real Estate also maintains an extensive regulatory framework and a qualified staff of investigators to look into addressing complaints against licensees if a member of the public feels they have been harmed in any manner.

Finally, CAR also addressed Recommendation 9 at the pre-hearing. CAR informed the committee that requiring the Commission to develop guidelines for the annual commission update course instead of developing the course itself will curtail the supply of instructors, and thereby restrict the availability of course offerings. It would also overburden the Division who would need to not only develop the guidelines, but also approve, police and audit the classes developed by the instructors.

The Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee will take these comments from stakeholders and the DORA policy analyst into consideration in drafting a bill. That bill will be calendared for future hearings in committee and follow the regular legislative process. Continue reading future editions of the Capitol Connection to stay apprised about the Sunset Review and CAR’s work on your behalf.

Senate Bill 17-085: Increase Documentary Fee and Fund Attainable Housing

Last Friday, the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) voted to oppose SB17-85, Increase Documentary Fee & Fund Attainable Housing introduced by Representative Rachel Zenzinger (D-Arvada). This bill would raise the doc fee for recording or filing to five dollars. The first dollar would go towards electronic filing costs under existing law and the remaining four dollars would go towards a statewide attainable housing investment fund. At least twenty-five percent of funds collected would be allocated to financial assistance for lower income households to finance, purchase, or rehabilitate single family residential homes or provide financial assistance to nonprofits and political subdivisions that make loans to persons for that same purpose.

CAR believes increased documentary are akin to transfer taxes and fees; they are regressive. They wind up creating barriers to homeownership by impacting those that can least afford it because they increase the amount of money needed to purchase a home. Moreover, these types of transfer taxes and documentary fees are extremely sensitive to market forces making the frequency of transactions and value of property variable in relation to the strength of the economy, which makes these types of funds a poor revenue source for affordable housing. Finally, it is likely that transferring a portion of this fee to a different fund is unconstitutional.

House Bill 17-1033 Colorado Water Conservation Board Grants Loans Dredge South Platte Basin Reservoirs

Last Friday, the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) voted to support HB17-1033, Colorado Water Conservation Board Grants Loans Dredge South Platte Basin Reservoirs introduced by Senator Bob Gardner and Representative Paul Lundeen, both Republicans from Colorado Springs. The bill appropriates $5 million from the Colorado Water Conservation Board Construction Fund to the Colorado Water Conservation Board in the Department of Natural Resources. This loan and grant funding would be used for dredging the existing reservoirs in the South Platte River Basin to restore their full storage capacity.

CAR understands the state’s need for water storage and the importance of Colorado decision-makers being effective stewards of these critical natural resources for future generations of Coloradans. The protection of water is also an important aspect of preserving our environment that CAR supports in our legislative policy statements. Similar to last year’s South Platte Water Storage Study bill, this legislation will increase the ability for the state to prioritize water storage operations.

1/23/17 Update:

Regulation of Home Inspectors is calendared for January 31st

CAR initiated Senate Bill 17-038, Concerning Regulation of Home Inspectors by Senator Nancy Todd (D-Aurora) was introduced last week and will now be heard in the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee on January 31st.  Today, the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) officially voted to support the bill and CAR will prepare testimony on this important legislation. SB17-038 makes it unlawful for a person to act as a home inspector without first registering with the department of regulatory agencies.  This year’s bill would require a home inspector to pay a registration fee, show proof of possession of minimum liability insurance coverage and a surety bond, and submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. The registration program would sunset in five years.

CAR believes SB 17-038 is a consumer protection bill that standardizes some requirements for professionals wishing to undertake the important responsibility of home inspection without creating a burdensome barrier to entry for new businesses. For consumers, one of the biggest transactions they make during the course of their lifetime is the sale or purchase of a home. Home Inspectors have a tremendous amount of access to the most private aspect of a consumer’s living space — their home. Incidents of burglary, incorrect reporting, and even threats to personal safety are not what consumers should be worrying about as they participate in a real estate transaction. Home Inspectors are the only professional in the transaction that is not currently regulated who can have a significant impact on the outcome of the real estate transaction.

Commission and Division of Real Estate Sunset Update

Next Wednesday, the first pre-hearing on the Division of Real Estate Sunset will be held in the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee. This pre-hearing will be a chance to hear from the Department of Regulatory Agencies Policy Analyst and stakeholders on the DORA Sunset Report. This will be the first opportunity for CAR to share with committee members our comments on the report. Additional bill committee hearings will occur in both houses subsequent to this initial pre-hearing.

CAR General Counsel, Scott Peterson, will represent CAR at Wednesday’s hearing and walk the committee through our comments and concerns.  Continue reading future editions of the Capitol Connection to stay apprised about the Sunset Review and CAR’s work on your behalf.

Senate Bill 86: Authorize Local Governments Inclusionary Housing Programs

Today, the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) voted to oppose SB17-86Authorize Local Governments Inclusionary Housing Programs introduced by Senator Steve Fenberg (D-Boulder). This bill would clarify the existing rent-control statute and allow local governments to adopt inclusionary housing programs. These inclusionary housing programs can include: a) setting aside a percentage of new development for affordable units, developer incentives to promote affordable housing, cash-in-lieu or land dedication to local governments, specifying periods of time that housing remains affordable or targeting a certain income range.

CAR believes this legislation could be back door erosion for the current prohibition of municipal rent control, which was the foundational legal ruling in the 2000 Colorado Supreme Court case Town of Telluride, Colorado v. Lot Thirty-Four Venture LLC.

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