A revived construction-defects reform bill began its march through the Colorado Senate on Monday, receiving a shred of bipartisan support as it passed its first committee.
But it will also likely run into some of the same problems as two similar predecessor bills that died in 2014 and 2015.
Senate Bill 156, sponsored by Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, would require that condominium owners alleging construction defects take their disputes to arbitration or mediation if requested by builders.
It also would require that homeowners be informed of the consequences of filing legal actions over purported disputes and that a majority of all owners in a condominium complex vote to proceed with legal action, rather than just a majority of homeowners association board members.
The bill comes after Republican and Democratic lawmakers met for months with interest groups in an effort to find a compromise measure that could succeed where four previous efforts at reform failed.
But it is largely just that same failed measure again, and business leaders have rallied with metro-area mayors and affordable-housing advocates in recent weeks to argue that after much talk, they believe it is the only proposal that can jump-start a condo-building market that now represents less than 3 percent of the new housing stock in the Denver area.
Homeowners association group members and owners of defective condo projects once again argued that the effort would not improve the quality of building in the state, but simply would block aggrieved Coloradans from taking their complaints before a jury of their peers.
But once again, soon-to-retire Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. CEO Tom Clark led the charge for it, saying that Denver’s housing costs have risen since the first bill was introduced in 2013 to the sixth-most-expensive in the country — and are tops for any metro area not on a coast.
Just 163 condominiums were built in the Denver area in all of 2016, shutting off a crucial avenue to home ownership that represents 23 to 27 percent of new housing stock in other cities where young professionals don’t have to choose between buying a higher-priced single-family home or dumping their earnings into rent. Read the rest of the article in Denver Business Journal