As I mentioned in my blog entry kicking off the 2017 legislative session in Colorado, 8 to 10 bills relating to construction defects and the construction of affordable housing are expected to be introduced this session.  In my January 12th blog entry, I reported on the bipartisan introduction of SB 45 which is intended to reduce the cost of construction insurance for builders.
 
Yesterday, in an effort to provide financial assistance to those individuals who are seeking to purchase, finance or rehabilitate attainable housing, Senator Rachel Zenzinger (D) introduced Senate Bill 17-085 ("SB 85").  The bill is also intended to provide financial assistance to nonprofit entities and political subdivisions that make loans to folks in relation to attainable housing.  To secure these funds, SB 85 would increase the per document surcharge that is assessed by clerk and recorders on each document they receive for recording from $1 to $5.  The additional $4 added to each document surcharge on a yearly basis would be transmitted to the State Treasurer and deposited into the "Statewide Attainable Housing Investment Fund."
 
Will the fiscal note on SB 85 be a non-starter for the Republican controlled Senate?  If SB 45 makes it through the legislative process and is signed into law, will it assist in a meaningful way the citizens of Colorado in purchasing attainable housing?  It SB 85 dead on arrival in the Senate?  Only time will tell! 
Senator Bob Gardner (R) has introduced Senate Bill 17-078 ("SB 78") to address the taxation of "residential storage condominium units."  If my memory serves me well, this is the third time this bill has been introduced in the Colorado General Assembly.  Will the third time be a charm? 
 
This bill is pretty simple and isn’t something that condominium associations need to concern themselves with.  For folks who own storage condominium units and submit an affidavit to their tax assessor’s office that the unit is being used "to store items from or related to the owner’s residence," then under SB 78 the storage unit will be taxed as residential real property with a rate of around 7.96%, as opposed to being taxed as nonresidential property at a rate of about 29%.  SB 78 does not impose upon storage condominium associations any obligation to participate in the process to determine whether any particular storage unit should be taxed as residential or nonresidential real property.
 
Stay tuned to this blog for updates on SB 78 as it proceeds through the legislative process. 
 
 
 
 
On the first day of the 2017 legislative session in Colorado, President of the Senate Grantham (R) and Speaker of the House Duran (D) introduced Senate Bill 17-045 to require courts to allocate defense costs in construction defect claims when more than one insurer has a duty to defend.  Senator Angela Williams (D,) a longtime advocate for homeowners living in HOAs, is the co-prime sponsor with the President of the Senate on this bill.  The bipartisan nature of this bill is truly impressive. 
 
This bill is intended to have courts fairly and equitably allocate the costs of defending construction defect claims between insurance companies with a duty to defend.  It also permits insurance companies to  bring claims against builders (referred to as "insureds" or "additional insureds" in SB 45) who did not procure liability insurance during the period of time the alleged claims for defects arose.
 
This bill is intended to reduce the costs of construction insurance.  Builders have long claimed that the costs of procuring construction insurance makes it cost prohibitive to build condominiums.  It will be interesting to see how the insurance industry responds to SB 45. 
 
As always, stay tuned to this blog for updates on this important bill and other bills impacting HOAs in Colorado!

For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a political junkie.  But even for me, this political season has seemed like it has already lasted for an eternity and I don’t remember politics ever being quite this nasty.  With the Republican and Democratic political conventions almost behind us, I can guarantee that the race for POTUS and all of the down ticket races will pick up steam and folks living in HOAs will want to place political signs for their favorite candidates and ballot issues in their yards and windows of their homes.

In anticipation of "political sign season," here is what residents, boards and managers need to know about placing political signs in HOAs in Colorado: 

Continue Reading Political Signs in HOAs: What Residents, Boards and Managers Need to Know

It’s time for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of CAI’s Spring Showcase!  In honor of the Kentucky Derby, the theme this year is Race to Success.  Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne will be exhibiting and we hope you will stop by booth 515 to say hello and to enter a drawing for two Mint Julep Baskets.  Come and hang out with us, we won’t make you muck out the stall!

Along with Matt Green from CAI National and Eric Turner from the Colorado Division of Real Estate, yesterday I participated in CAI’s Legislative Update Lunch & Learn in Fort Collins.  While Matt did an outstanding job, I suspect the information which Eric Turner shared relating to manager licensure was particularly interesting to the managers in attendance.  Here are highlights of the information which Eric shared on licensure:

Number of Licensees:  As of the end of January, there are 1,093 folks licensed in Colorado.  This is pretty close to the 1,200 licensees which CAI’s Colorado Legislative Action Committee had estimated for the Division of Real Estate.  Of those managers, 578 are either individual community association managers or work under a designated manager, 449 are designated managers and 66 currently hold an apprentice license.  There are also 439 management companies which are currently licensed in Colorado.

License Renewal for 2016:  As a reminder, community association managers (including designated managers) must renew their licenses by July 1, 2016.  The Division of Real Estate is recognizing the pre-licensure education these managers took as sufficient to cover the continuing education requirement for their first license renewal.  In other words, to renew their licenses in 2016, managers will not need to take continuing education classes.  Managers can begin renewing their licenses in May.  If a designated manager fails to renew his or her license, the licenses of managers who work under them will become inactive.  The cost to renew a license will be $190. 

Continuing Education for 2017 License Renewals:  For managers to renew their licenses in 2017, and every subsequent year after that, they will need to prove they have taken 8 hours of continuing education approved by the Colorado Division of Real Estate.  However, for the 2017 renewal period, the Division will only count those approved classes taken from July 1, 2016 through July 1, 2017.  As a result, any continuing education classes which managers take prior to July 1st will not count toward the hours needed for their 2017 license renewal. 

Management Company Renewals:  Unlike community association managers and designated managers who are required to renew their licenses on a yearly basis, management companies are not required to renew.  However, management companies will be required to provide updated information on their companies to the Division of Real Estate on a yearly basis.

Tomorrow I will provide you with interesting tidbits which Eric Turner shared on complaints made against managers to the Division of Real Estate. 

House Bill 16-1201 ("HB 1201"), which was introduced by Representative Yeulin Willett (R-Grand Junction) to address a gaping loophole used by folks to keep a dog in HOAs which ban them, was killed by the Democrats in the House Health, Insurance & Environment Committee last week on a 7 to 6 party line vote.

HB 1201 would have regulated how licensed professionals in Colorado must approach providing recommendations for emotional support animals (also commonly referred to as "emotional assistance animals" and "companion animals") under the Colorado Fair Housing Act.  In particular, this bill would have required that licensed physicians, physician assistants, nurses, psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors and addiction counselors must make the following findings prior to recommending that an individual should be permitted to have an emotional support animal:

1.  The licensed professional must make a finding that the individual requesting the emotional assistance animal has a disability as defined by Colorado law or that there is insufficient information available to make a determination that the individual has a disability; and

2.  The licensed professional must actually meet with the individual requesting an emotional support animal, prior to making a finding of whether the person has a disability which necessitates the emotional support animal.

The bill also defined a companion or emotional support animal as "an animal that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability." 

House Bill 16-1308 ("HB 1308") was just introduced  to address the issue of service animals (which are limited to trained dogs and miniature horses) under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").  While the issue of service animals under the ADA rarely applies to HOAs in Colorado (with the exception of some condominium hotels), HB 1308 would make it a misdemeanor for an individual to fraudulently misrepresent their animal as being a service animal, or a service animal in training, for the purpose of bringing that animal into a place of public accommodation. 

Stay tuned for updates on HB 1308 as it proceeds through the legislative process. 

 

 

 

Yesterday, Senate Bill 16-082 ("SB 82") was killed in the Senate Business, Labor & Technology Committee ("Business Committee") by the Republicans on a party line vote. As you will recall from an earlier blog posting, Senator Morgan Carroll introduced SB 82 to protect folks living in HOAs from retaliation when they report an alleged violation of their association’s governing documents or seek to enforce their rights under Colorado law. 

CAI’s Colorado Legislative Action Committee ("CLAC") worked with Senator Carroll to draft an amendment to SB 82 to define "retaliation" in such a manner as to ensure that folks living in HOAs could not use an alleged "retaliation" as a loop hole for not paying their assessments or complying with the use restrictions in their governing documents.  This amendment was not adopted by the Business Committee and yesterday the bill was killed on a 5 to 4 vote.

As always, stay tuned to this blog for updates on HOA legislation as these bills proceed through the legislative process. 

House Bill 16-1005 ("HB 1005") has just cleared the Colorado House of Representatives in an amended version on a vote of 61 to 3 and is heading to the Senate for consideration. 

As originally introduced, HB 1005 permits rain water to be collected from residential rooftops by the use of no more than two rain barrels with a combined storage capacity of 110 gallons or less.  The bill provides that water may be collected in this manner from single family homes and multi-family residences with 4 or fewer units – like townhomes and condominiums.  The water collected from these rain barrels must be used for outside purposes, like irrigation of laws and gardens, and must be used on the residential property where the rain was collected.

The bill as originally drafted, did not recognize the unique issues that arise in the context of condominiums and HOAs.  As a result, the HB 1005 was amended to provide as follows:

1.  Individuals living in HOAs, do not have the right to place a rain barrel on property that is:  (a) leased, except with permission of the lessor; (b) a common element or limited common element in an HOA; (c) is maintained by the HOA; or (d) is attached to one or more other units, except with the permission of the owners of the other units. 

2.  HOAs are also permitted to place reasonable aesthetic requirements on rain barrels that govern their placement and external appearance.

It will be interesting to see what happens to HB 1005 in the Senate, since last year this identical bill was killed in the Senate.  As always, stay tuned to this blog for updates on HB 1005 and other bills impacting HOAs.