Barbara Koelzer, Regional Government Affairs Director
County and Towns Under Shelter In Place Order: The County issued a “shelter in place” order on March 25. This order includes incorporated and unincorporated areas, including Longmont and other cities and towns. However, real estate is defined as an essential business and may continue operating using social distancing principles. The exact phrase in the order that pertains to real estate can be found in the definition of essential businesses, item 21: “Professional services, such as legal, insurance, title companies, accounting services, or real estate appraisals and transactions.”
Council Supports Water Debt Financing: On March 3 the City Council gave staff approval to draft a November ballot measure to increase City debt to bond for financing to maintain and expand Longmont’s water delivery and treatment system. The City needs $2 million for this project, which would increase funding to maintain water infrastructure such as a pipeline built in the 1940s and 1950s and a reservoir built in 1923.
Mayor Bagley supported the ballot measure but asked for lots of public education and outreach. Assistant City Manager Dale Rademacher agreed communication will be important and said the measure will come back to the City Council for a formal vote, probably in August. Voter approval to increase debt is required by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
Public Hearing on Residential Metro Districts: This hearing was scheduled for March 17, however it was postponed until May. The Council is meeting during the COVID-19 outbreak, but is not considering any “controversial issues.”
COLORADO Association of REALTORS®
Legislative Update: Here’s summary of the positions taken by the LPC (Legislative Policy Committee) at its most recent meeting. For more information, contact Elizabeth Peetz, CAR’s Vice-President of Public Policy. [email protected].
Note: As you may know, the legislature is adjourned until at least March 30 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When it will resume remains unknown at this time.
HB-1332 “Prohibit Housing Discrimination Source of Income” CAR Position – Amend
The bill adds discrimination based on source of income as a type of unfair housing practice. “Source of income” is defined to include any source of money paid directly, indirectly, or on behalf of a person, including income from any lawful profession or from any government or private assistance, grant, or loan program. HB-1332 would prohibit landlords from refusing to rent, show or advertise properties based on a person’s source of income. The restrictions do not apply to a landlord with 3 or fewer rental units.
This bill prompted a long discussion but ultimately the LPC voted to adopt an “Amend” position, which means the bill requires significant changes. The amend position allows CAR’s lobbyists to discuss the bill with its supporters.
HB-1333 “Homeowners Association Transparency Responsibility” CAR Position – Amend
The bill increases requirements for disclosure and transparency in the operations of homeowners’ associations (HOAs). Provisions of HB-1333 would require online posting of an HOA’s governing documents, fees and management contact information. In addition it would allow HOA members to record portions of an open meeting and prohibit any action taken at an open meeting by written or secret ballot unless at least 20 percent of the owners in attendance request it. Finally, the bill places limits on the amount of time that may pass before control of the HOA is turned over to owners.
This bill requires significant amendments and concerns were expressed about the costs it would create for HOAs.
SB-184 “Add to Public School Financial Literacy Standards Position” CAR Position -Support
The bill directs the State Board of Education to review standards relating to the knowledge and skills that a student should acquire in school to ensure that the financial literacy standards for ninth through twelfth grade include an understanding of the costs associated with obtaining a postsecondary degree or credential and how to budget for and manage the payment for those costs, including managing student loan debt; understanding credit cards and credit card debt; and understanding retirement plans, including investments and retirement benefits.
Students need to learn about financial literacy. This will help future generations of students to become homeowners. An amendment to incorporate language related to homeownership was added to the bill.
HB-1155 “High Efficiency New Construction Residence” CAR Position – changed from Oppose to Amend
Current law requires home builders to offer a solar panel or solar-thermal system or to pre-wire or plumb the home for these systems. HB-1155 requires a home builder to offer either an electric vehicle charging system; upgrades of wiring to accommodate future installation of an electric vehicle charging system; or a 208- to 240-volt alternating current plug-in located in a place accessible to a motor vehicle parking area.
An amendment supported by CAR requires the Department of Energy to give consumers education regarding solar leases versus the purchase of a solar system. The Colorado Association of Home Builders now has an amend position as well. While more revisions are needed, the bill is better now than it was when introduced. The revised position will help CAR lobbyists to have more fruitful discussions with the bill’s sponsors.
COVID-19 Information: The Division of Real Estate’s COVID-19 Addendum and other resources are available here: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/covid-19-updates-licensees-and-consumers
Don’t Sign Petitions for Initiative 122! Signature gathers have been spotted in Northern Colorado asking voters to sign a petition to put Initiative 122, a no growth measure, on the November ballot. Please decline to sign this petition.
Initiative 122 is a statewide measure that caps growth and housing in the 11 Front Range counties. Initiative 122 would limit the supply of housing, driving up the price of homes and apartments, and placing much of that burden on working families, seniors and Coloradans on fixed incomes.
Initiative 122 deceptively includes a slightly higher allowance for affordable housing. But with our region being more than 20,000 affordable units behind, Initiative 122 will make affordable housing near impossible to build. Finally, Initiative 122 will push development into rural counties and cause urban sprawl to replace farmland and open spaces, while making traffic congestion even worse for Coloradans.
The Colorado Association of REALTORS® Political Action Committee has already approved funds for the Opposition Campaign to fight Initiative 122. However, the most cost-effective way to oppose it is to do what you can to ensure it doesn’t make it to the ballot. If proponents don’t gather enough signatures, then 122 will not go forward.
Focus on CoronaVirus: There’s not a lot of real estate-related news out of Washington lately. Congress, the administration and last but not least, the media, have been focused on COVID-19.
NAR has a COVID-19 Advocacy FAQ page, which is available here:
https://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/26/3594.pdf. It will be updated periodically, according to staff.
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