Senate committee rejects Colorado SB 13-052

Thursday, April 18, 2013 @ 09:04 AM
Author: Jesse Witt

On 17 April 2013, the Colorado Senate’s judiciary committee rejected SB 13-052, which would have severely limited legal protections for homeowner associations located near public transit.
As originally drafted, the bill would have defined any homeowner association within a half mile of a bus or light rail stop as a “Transit-Oriented Development.” Such associations would lose the right to recover any damages in court for building code violations or other negligent construction, and the developers of such communities would gain absolute immunity from claims for environmental hazards or pollution. A last-minute amendment from the bill’s sponsor would have limited the bill’s scope to communities near light rail and removed provisions requiring private arbitration of disputes, but the three Democrats on the committee remained concerned about the lack of data supporting the bill and the risk that it would harm consumers. The committee’s two Republicans voted in favor of the bill.
Jesse Witt of The Witt Law Firm testified on behalf of the Community Associations Institute in opposition to the bill. Mr Witt asserted that, although the proponents of the bill had argued that an insurance crisis was hindering the construction of new homes near public transit, SB 13-052 would do nothing to improve the insurance climate. Instead, the bill would reward the incompetent builders who cut corners, refuse to take care of their customers, and expect their insurance companies to “clean up the mess.” These builders cause insurance premiums to rise for everyone, including the many quality builders in Colorado who take the time to do things right. Making homeowner associations increase their dues to fix negligent builders’ mistakes was not, according to Mr Witt, the right policy for Colorado.
The stakeholders agreed to meet over the summer to discuss other options to encourage new construction and ensure the availability of affordable insurance without unfairly penalizing homeowners. Please check this site or contact The Witt Law Firm for updates on this process.