The 2016 Colorado legislative session started yesterday. It felt a lot like the first day of school after summer vacation – legislators and lobbyists all aflutter with high hopes and big goals for the year.
I can’t say I feel the same enthusiasm for the new session. As Build Our Homes Right chairman, I am filled with worry about plans to harm homeowners like me, who were unlucky enough to buy defective condos. Wealthy developers, homebuilders and some members of the business community have promised to bring back bills that would strip away the rights of everyday people to hold them accountable for selling us homes with dangerous and expensive defects.
Last year we mobilized opposition to bills that would have mandated binding, unappealable arbitration, required expensive and onerous disclosures to even begin a process for redress, imposed virtually impossible HOA voting requirements and more. We were “David” to the developer/builder “Goliath,” and we were proud to have helped defeat these unfair measures.
Honestly, I have to give the proponents credit for their wily messaging. Without even a shred of evidence, they’ve made a case that the lack of affordable housing and construction defect laws are connected, when of course they’re not. As the old expression goes, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
It’s a fact that their deep pockets definitely buys savvy political strategy – in the last year 12 city councils along the Front Range have passed local ordinances as a way to “send a message” to state legislators that there is momentum to take action this year.
Here’s what I say about that: Just because 12 lemmings jumped off the cliff to pass bad laws doesn’t mean the carnage should continue. Promising their law would open the floodgates for new affordable condo projects, Lakewood passed their ordinance 15 months ago. How many condos are in development in that city today? Zero.
So buckle your seatbelts because homeowners are in for another bumpy ride at the Capitol. Fingers crossed David will defeat Goliath again in 2016, and we’ll protect homeowners’ rights to hold developers accountable for quality of homes they build.