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May 05, 2017 11:42 AM UTC

So Basically, You're Never Going To Be Happy

  • 5 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Beauvallon, a Denver construction-defect horror story.

The Denver Post’s John Aguilar reports on final passage of House Bill 17-1279, the hard-fought bipartisan compromise legislation to address developer concerns about liability for defects in the construction of new condominium developments.

A compromise that builders are already declaring insufficient:

Now that state lawmakers have passed the first measure in years to abate construction-related lawsuits against condo builders, new developments should start sprouting across the metro area like so many spring flowers.

Right?

Not so fast, says Home Builders Association of Denver CEO Jeff Whiton.

House Bill 1279, which stipulates that legal action against a builder for alleged construction flaws can only proceed when more than half of all homeowners in a condominium complex agree to it, is “not the cure-all” for what has become an anemic number of condo starts in Colorado.

More needs to be done to reduce the number of lawsuits filed against condo builders, which he said drive up insurance rates and chase developers from the state.

“The job’s not done yet,” Whiton said. “There’s still plenty of heavy lifting to do to give builders confidence to build condominiums and not be harassed by lawsuits.”

As anyone who has followed legislative politics in Colorado in recent years knows, the builder industry has been clamoring for “reform” of construction defects laws in our state for a long time. The industry’s lobbyists insist that a downturn in new condo development projects in the state is the direct result of the ease with which builders can be sued for defects in construction–and have demanded sweeping changes in the law to force homeowners in condo developments into binding arbitration over defect claims, and taking away power from homeowner’s associations to file suit.

The compromise legislation approved this year requires a majority of homeowners to initiate legal action, not the HOA board–and requires homeowners be informed about the potential effect of litigation on the ability to sell their properties. For homeowner groups and lawyers who represent them, that’s as far as they see the need to go. Opponents of the homebuilders in this fight argue that the real solution is for developers and builders to stand by their work–avoiding construction defects to begin with, and fixing problems in good faith quickly when they occur.

With all of this in mind, it’s revealing that builder lobbyists are already declaring their intention to return next year to push the same bills that died this year. It’s long been suspected that builders are misusing Colorado’s hot housing market to extract concessions from lawmakers, and blaming liability over construction defects for many other factors that have led to a shortage of affordable housing in this state. After years of complaining, now even after a bipartisan compromise has passed, it’s time to ask the question: is anything short of stripping homeowners of their legal rights to protect their biggest investment going to make the developers happy?

Because if not, maybe it’s time to tell them enough is enough.

Comments

5 thoughts on “So Basically, You’re Never Going To Be Happy

  1. I remember Denver Post reporter Charlie Roos teasing a lobbyist about a partial victory. 

    "Charlie, you never want to win it all," the lobbyist laughed.  "What would I have to bill for next year."

  2. Conspiracy theories aside, businesses decides what do to based on the bottom line. If it's profitable to build condos they will. No one is trying to screw you over, Colorado Pols.

  3. is anything short of stripping homeowners of their legal rights to protect their biggest investment going to make the developers happy?

    The answer, of course, is no. The FIRE sector's welfare queenery knows no bounds.

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