Homeownership Opportunity Alliance (HOA) introduces SB15-177 construction-defects reform bill

CAMPC is a proud partner and significant investor in the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance (HOA), a diverse group of community leaders working together on common-sense reforms that would increase the supply of for-sale, multi-family housing.

Introduced yesterday, Senate Bill 15-177, sponsored by Senators Scheffel & Ulibarri and Representatives DelGrosso & Singer, would reinvigorate a key component of the housing sector of our state’s economy. It would foster conditions that encourage builders to construct more affordable housing, provide increased homeownership opportunities for all Coloradans and stimulate our state’s economy.

Colorado’s housing market simply has not kept pace with the demand for affordable homes among first-time homebuyers and others with a modest or fixed income. As recent news coverage in the Denver Post has made clear, rising housing costs and soaring rents are now pricing many Coloradans out of the market. A recent Denver Post story noted that renters “need to make $35 per hour, or almost 4½ times Colorado’s minimum wage” to afford the median metro Denver rental rate. Yet, condos and townhomes, which have always provided a pathway to homeownership for renters, now represent a small fraction of Colorado’s housing market. Today, condos represent just 3.1 percent of new housing starts, compared to nearly 23 percent in 2007.

A big hurdle to building more entry-level housing is a defect in state law that exposes homebuilders and homeowners to a high risk of expensive, time-consuming litigation. It has created a climate that puts the chill on new construction of affordable, multi-family housing, scaring off investment in the affordable-housing market. And it is forcing would-be home buyers to rent, instead of owning a home.

The state legislature needs to enact legislation that fixes this situation. First and foremost, Colorado must have a process that allows for a quick resolution process for construction issues that is fair to homeowners who need repairs while protecting the rights of all owners in a community. This can be done by requiring mediation before a lawsuit is filed and utilizing arbitration instead of litigation and requiring disclosure to all homeowners in a community about a potential lawsuit, its costs and impact on home values.  By doing this, state lawmakers can go a long way toward jump-starting new construction of condos and townhomes in metro Denver and beyond.

Stay tuned for Action Alerts to urge your legislators to vote YES on this much needed reform.

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