Builders vs. homeowners: Construction defects bill promises controversy
DENVER — Condominium owner Jon Harris can’t walk in his own kitchen without fear of tiles cracking beneath his feet. “The tiles are coming loose because they were not installed properly,” He said.
He has spent the last decade of his life dealing with repairs inside his unit at The Point Condominiums in the Five Points neighborhood.
Workers have spent the last six months making repairs to every condo at the complex because of drainage issues that caused some units to flood. “I just thought nobody would sell anything like this, if it was substandard construction you wouldn`t sell that to anybody because it would just be wrong,” Harris said. After his homeowners association settled a lawsuit with the builder, Harris became president of “Build our Homes Right.”
The consumer group is dead set against a measure introduced in the Colorado legislature on Tuesday that would reduce lawsuits against home builders. “I would say the way to solve this is to stop building crap! Start building quality construction and the lawsuits go away,” insisted Harris… Click here to read more >>
…But those opposed to the bill say state law is not to blame for the condo slowdown. They say the shift from home ownership to apartment rentals is the result of natural market forces at play.
Heidi Storz, an attorney who represents homeowners and associations in construction-defects cases, said the bill weakens homeowner protections and that access to the courts is a sacrosanct right.
“By disallowing an association from removing such (an arbitration) provision, you’re handicapping the homeowner,” she said.
Storz said builders can avoid homeowner action by just doing the job properly to start with… Click here to read more >>
…But while the bill’s sponsors say the proposed legislation would provide more protections for homeowners, not all owners buy that logic. Jonathan Harris, the chairman of a coalition called Build Our Homes Right, says making it more difficult to sue builders for shoddy construction is good for builders — and no one else. “They’re looking for ways to make it harder for the consumer to hold them responsible for their substandard construction,” Harris says. “I think that’s just so appalling.”
Harris speaks from experience. In 2004, he bought a new condo at The Point in Denver’s historically African-American Five Points neighborhood. The homes there, he says, weren’t built the way they should have been. For example, drainage holes along the bottom of the sliding glass doors were inexplicably sealed over, which causes water to drain into the units instead of away from them when it rains. Two units at The Point suffered so much water damage that they were deemed uninhabitable… Click here to read more >>