Help us protect homeowners from shoddy construction

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: 7NEWS’ John Ferrugia with a hard-hitting report last night:

Jennifer Seidman is a lawyer with a major national law firm that has filed many suits against builders for defective work. While conceding that changes in the law affect her business, she says homeowner sometimes have no alternative to suing.

“With arbitration, the homeowners have to pay a private judge and the person that they are paying often times has a relationship with the building industry,” she said.

That’s because the bill makes it clear that people, such as Harris, would not only be prohibited from suing for defective work, they would be limited in the hiring of experts to advise them about defects.

And, they would have to accept the builder’s arbitrator, and pay for the proceedings.

Original post follows.

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I need your help to stop what may be one of the worst bills of the year in the Colorado legislature. Today, a bill will be heard that will weaken the ability of homeowners to hold developers accountable for construction defects.

Contact your senators right now to tell them to vote NO on this bill.

Senate Bill 15-177 would force homeowners and homeowners associations into arbitration over construction defects to multifamily construction. We’ve all heard horror stories about new condo projects in Colorado, like the Beauvallon in Denver, where avoidable defects in construction hurt homeowner property values, caused public safety issues, and turned the condos into money pits. In the case of the Beauvallon, the only way homeowners were able to get help was to have access to the courts to fight the developers of this shoddy construction.

If Senate Bill 177 had been the law when the Beauvallon started leaking, those homeowners wouldn’t have had the power to get justice. The fact is, for most middle class Colorado families, buying a home is the biggest investment they will ever make. Why would anyone want to give up their rights to hold developers accountable for negligence in the construction of their home?

Take a second right now to contact members of the Colorado Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee, and tell them to vote NO on Senate Bill 177.

Sen. David Balmer, Chair Phone: 303-866-4883 E-Mail: david.balmer.senate@state.co.us
Sen. Chris Holbert, Vice-Chair Phone: 303-866-4881 E-Mail: chris.holbert.senate@state.co.us
Sen. Irene Aguilar Phone: 303-866-4852 E-Mail: irene.aguilar.senate@state.co.us
Sen. Tim Neville Phone: 303-866-4873 E-Mail: tim.neville.senate@state.co.us
Sen. Randy Baumgardner Phone: 303-866-5292 E-Mail: randy.baumgardner.senate@state.co.us
Sen. Linda Newell Phone: 303-866-4846 E-Mail: linda.newell.senate@gmail.com
Sen. Rollie Heath Phone: 303-866-4872 E-Mail: rollie.heath.senate@state.co.us
Sen. Laura Woods Phone: 303-866-4840 E-Mail: laura.woods.senate@state.co.us
Sen. Cheri Jahn Phone: 303-866-4856 E-Mail: cheri.jahn.senate@state.co.us

There is a lot of misinformation floating around about this legislation, but the bottom line is this: we shouldn’t take away the rights of homeowners to protect their property. Recent studies indicate the lack of condo construction in Colorado is due to the recession, not the law in Colorado. Developers don’t need to be protected from accountability for shoddy work, they need to stand behind their work. And when Colorado families buy their first home, they deserve peace of mind, not arbitrary limits on their rights.

Thanks for making your voice heard. We’ll be in touch soon with next steps.

Sincerely,

Amy Runyon-Harms

P.S. It will just take a moment. Call or email your senator now!

13 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Moderatus says:

    Amy, why does the bill have a Democrat cosponsor? Is Jessie Ulibarri out to screw homeowners?

    JUST SAY NO to lining trial lawyer pockets.

  2. Progressicat says:

    Not sure why you’d bother calling into the senate.  It passes there.  You need to work on DLH in the house to kill it.  Or at least convince Singer that he’s being led down the primrose path.

    The current state of defect law isn’t stopping anyone from building anything.  The market is.  Developers are utter whores (no disrespect).  If they can make a buck, they build.  They don’t build cheap multifamily because there’s not enough money in it– not because the crap they build might get them sued.  Suing developers is an expensive and risky proposition for homeowners, too, and any reasonable developer who said up front, “Yeah, that’s a problem; let me fix it” wouldn’t be in court.  Of course, Duke says it better.

    Dems supporting this thing need to really understand what it is they think their constituents are getting out of it.  The language in the bill about arbitration being required if it was required in the original bylaws is idiotic.  Developers create the HOA and then hand it off to the homeowners.  Of course the damned bylaws are going include arbitration language.  The reason this has to stand even if the HOA votes to remove it is that only an HOA run by idiots wouldn’t remove this language– it’s abusive to owners.  And, as this study by the CFPB shows, arbitration in the financial services sector screws customers– why would it be any different for dwellings?

    I’ve been dismayed by the behavior of trial lawyers in twisting arms in the legislature (if you vote for x, we’ll stand up a primary opponent against you comes to mind), but sometimes even a money-grubber can be (and do) right.

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      Agreed about Singer, it’s too bad he got suckered in to this bill. DLH has already called the bill a nonstarter btw, so I think the House is cool.

    • CDW says:

      There is some vacant land in my neighborhood where builders refuse to build condos because of what they say are onerous laws.  They want to build apartments instead.  (The better to make shoddy housing?)  Understandably, the single family homes and other residential communities adjacent to it are not happy about the prospect of having an apartment complex next to them when in addition, the new Iliff train station is just a couple of blocks away.

  3. Old Time Dem says:

    This bill is simply an attempt to shift the risks of purchasing a home.  If you favor homeowners, you oppose it.  If you favor developers, you support it.  Whinging about trial lawyers is a red herring, since trial lawyers will represent homeowners whether the dispute resolution mechanism is arbitration or the courts.

  4. vertigo700 says:

    I am not sure a progressive should be for or against this bill. I think affordable housing is one of the main challenges living in the Denver metro area. And local governments are very limited with what they can do to encourage development of moderately priced housing. They are prohibited from engaging in any kind of rent control and can only do a bit to try and increase “affordable” condominium projects.

    As it stands now, the tax credits given to developers to build “affordable” condominiums is not enough to cover the price to build condos. Partially, because of the increased insurance rates that condominium developers have to pay partially as the result of the expensive condo-defect lawsuits. 

    As we all know, there has been very few condominium developments. Some claim that this is because millennials are not interested in “buying,” but with a shortage of for-sale housing, I am not sure if I see a lot of evidence of that. With no condos being built, cities cannot get much money from “in-lieu” cash and the few developers building condos focus on the ultra high-end, which are not affordable to most people anyway

    What I do see is skyrocketing rental rates with very little cities can do to create more affordable housing. They don’t have much money coming in from developers so cities can build there own affordable projects. There is very little new supply of condos that might entice renters out of the rental market. And all we see being built are apartments with increasingly expensive rent.

    I think it’s interesting that the author chose to focus on the Beuvallion, a condo project built without any affordable units and whose purchasing price goes from $430,000 to over $1,000,000. What I see are rich people fighting rich people. What I want to know is how can the Colorado state government encourage more affordable housing, both for-sale and rent. In fact, making Colorado a state where people from many socio-economic

    I can see how this law might make it more affordable to for developers to build condominiums through both an increase in supply at various income points and by allowing cities to build their own affordable housing projects.

    • BoulderDem says:

      I agree with this comment; well said. This is not a simple liberal/conservative, or even corporatist/non-corporatist, matter at all. Out here in Boulder, there are no — zero — condos being built, and certainly not because there wouldn’t be buyers (the market is going crazy on single family homes). Real estate people swear up and down it’s because of the construction defect law, which makes financing for condo projects impossible or too expensive. Instead, what we get is huge apartment buildings owned by California real estate investors, and the rents are outrageous. Proponents of the proposed law made a mistake early on by associating themselves with true low-income housing — which was disingenuous. The real issue is moderate income condos vs enriching out-of-state corporations. In fact, the primary winners of the current system are big real estate investors who are able to run high-rent rental buildings at enormous profit. I’m surprised/disappointed ProgressNow took this on.

  5. vertigo700 says:

    The way it’s written does sound a bit too much in favor of the developers. I’d  be more in favor of it if it say forced arbitration but allowed homeowners more say in experts, arbitrators, etc. It should be a fairer process. I agree with BoulderDem..how it is now just enriches apartment developers who can charge ridiculous rents (even higher than average mortgage payments) because there is so little supply of for-sale units

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