Capitol Conversation: Construction Defects

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4min 13sec

Lawmakers in both parties are trying to make it more difficult for homeowners to sue condo developers over construction defects. They hope it will lead to more condo development and lower rents. But despite widespread support for the concept, legislation hasn't been able to pass in previous years.

For this week's Capitol Conversation, we talked about the issue with Peter Marcus with and Ed Sealover with the Denver Business Journal.

Here are three highlights from our conversation:

1. On why legislative leaders in both parties are pushing construction defects reform to help spur condo development:

Marcus: Yes this is a problem in the Denver metro area, but it is a statewide issue. You go out to Durango there is a huge lack of housing there, condos, townhouses, things like that. And in these mountain communities it's already ridiculously expensive to live out there, salaries don't often keep pace with the Denver metro area yet housing costs are skyrocketing. 

2. On how condos impact affordable housing:

Sealover: Without condos going up builders instead are putting up apartments. Apartment rents in Denver have gone through the roof in the past two years, and in other parts of the state as well. In fact, Denver is now the most expensive city for housing costs that is not located on a coast in America.

3. On whether lawmakers in the split legislature can reach a compromise:

Sealover: Senate Bill 156 is not a compromise. It's the same bill largely that died in 2014 and 2015 at the hands of Democratic leaders who didn't like it. The question is where does this go now? Crisanta Duran, the Speaker of the House, is more open than her predecessor Dickey Lee Hullinghorst to the idea of some sort of construction defects reform, but she doesn't like limiting people's ability to try to get their cases heard in court. That's going to be the central issue.

Capitol Coverage is a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.