The 2014 legislative session kicked off today in Colorado as the Sixty-Ninth General Assembly convened this morning and is scheduled to adjourn on May 7th. Since this is an election year, there is no question that many bills will be introduced from both sides of the aisle to position legislators for re-election. However, for our purposes, these postings will focus solely upon HOA related bills during the session.
As Chair of CAI’s Colorado Legislative Action Committee (“CLAC”), my postings with important updates will be available for review on the following websites: CAI National, the Southern Colorado Chapter of CAI, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of CAI and on Colorado HOA Law. If the postings don’t show up simultaneously on these websites, please be patient since many folks will be involved in posting updates on their respective websites. Also, feel free to repost these updates or pass them along to folks who may find them of interest.
There has been a whole lot of speculation on what we can anticipate during the 2014 legislative session. However, CLAC is going to stick to the facts as we know them and based upon the information we currently have, here is what you need to know:
● Transfer Fees. Representative Jeanne Labuda (D-Denver) has confirmed to CLAC’s lobbying team that she will be introducing a bill this session “to get rid of all transfer fees.” While we have not yet seen a draft bill, we presume this could include the fees management companies charge relative to conveyance of a unit, working capital contributions and reserve contributions required by the applicable declarations to be paid at the time of conveyance. CLAC intends to vigorously oppose such a bill and CAI members should keep an eye out for important Calls to Action which will be sent via email. Also, stay tuned for updates as further information becomes available.
● Construction Defect Legislation. CLAC has been informed by reliable sources that the metro-area mayors, in an effort to evidently spur the construction of condominiums, are planning to have a bill introduced that would require a “super-majority” vote of homeowners prior to a condominium association being permitted to proceed with a lawsuit for construction defects. Obviously, this bill is intended to make it impossible for the elected boards of associations to protect the interests of their homeowners by taking important steps to address construction defects. If such a bill is passed, HOAs across the state will be left with no recourse to address construction defects which means the homeowners living in them will have to pay the bill to repair defects resulting in special assessments and/or significant increases in annual assessments. If introduced, CLAC will vigorously oppose this bill and will focus upon the fact that the mayors have stripped away vital consumer protections. Stay tuned for updates as further information becomes available.
● Mandatory Dispute Resolution. As you will recall from the 2013 legislative session, passage of House Bill 1134 required the Division of Real Estate to study the need for some sort of dispute resolution in the HOA context and whether there is a need for other types of regulation. While the study has not yet been delivered to legislators, we do know that the legislators who sponsored the HOA Reform Package of bills in 2013 currently have no intention of introducing HOA legislation during this session. In fact, these key legislators would like to see how the implementation of the 2013 bills goes before determining whether any further legislation is needed. CLAC does not expect any bill to be introduced this session relating to mandatory dispute resolution or any recommendations which may be in the report by the Division of Real Estate. Instead, if necessary, we expect recommendations will be addressed during the 2015 legislative session.
● Publication of Contact Information in HOA Membership Directories. Representative Diane Mitsch Bush (D-Steamboat Springs) will be introducing a bill that will fix the HOA records law to permit associations to publish email addresses and telephone numbers in membership directories if the members or residents give their consent to have their private information published. CLAC supports a fix to this inadvertent oversight in the HOA records law which was overhauled during the 2012 session and went into effect on January 1, 2013. Stay tuned for updates on this bill when it is introduced.
Please periodically check the websites identified above for important updates from CLAC on these and other HOA related bills that may be introduced. Also, members of CAI should keep an eye out for email Calls to Action from CLAC as they become necessary.
Molly Foley-Healy is Chair of CAI’s Colorado Legislative Action Committee and is a partner with the law firm of Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne.