Will This Be the Year for a Construction Defects Law in Colorado?

Date: February 02, 2017

A construction defects bill has been introduced in the Colorado Legislature again this year.

This year’s bill, Senate Bill 17-045, would let judges speed up cases involving construction defects allegations, which could lower legal fees, the Colorado Statesman reported. It would also let judges apportion liability among the various insurers involved in a lawsuit, which would help spread out costs.

The current construction defects law made it easier to sue developers over problems in new buildings. The law is blamed for the sharp decline in new condos in Colorado, as insurance companies have had to raise rates to ensure they don’t lose money on condo developments. And a condo decline affects a swath of small businesses—from contractors to moving companies to banks. And without affordable housing, companies could struggle to find employees to fill open positions.

Only 59 condos or townhomes were built in downtown Denver in 2016, the Denver Post reported, using statistics from the Downtown Denver Partnership. That’s down from 870 in 2007.

“Last year alone, over 100,000 people moved to Colorado, but we only built about 25,000 new homes,” Senate President Kevin J. Grantham said in a statement. “Creating accessible, affordable housing for Colorado families is a top priority, and this [is] an ongoing bipartisan effort to remove barriers to homeownership.”

The governor also called for a construction defects law in his State of the State speech last month.

“Too many people and not enough units adds up to unaffordable rents and skyrocketing home prices,” he said. “I’ve said it before: We need more affordable housing. Part of the answer is the construction defects legislation we almost passed last year and we will pass this year.”

While waiting for a statewide law to help solve the problem, some cities have passed their own construction defects rules.

Related Content: Small Business News | Colorado | Economy

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