Last night, the democrat-controlled Colorado House State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted along party lines to kill Senate Bill 177. Despite support from both sides of the aisle, including the Metro Mayors Caucus, developers and affordable housing advocates, the bill was unable to garner sufficient support to get it out of committee and onto the House floor, where supporters claimed it had the votes to pass. Supporters largely blamed the trial lawyers for the bill’s failure.
The bill was intended to help spur condominium development in Colorado, which has dropped to historic lows in recent years. It would have done so by requiring that a majority of condominium owners in a project consent to filing class-action construction defect lawsuits, whereas the current law requires only a majority of the board of the homeowners’ association to do so. The bill would have also limited a homeowners’ association’s ability to amend its declaration to eliminate a mandatory arbitration clause.
Debate over the bill centered on whether the lack of condominium development in Colorado was a function of the prevalence of lawsuits against condominium developers or the lack of a market for such units. Ultimately, the vote seemed to come down to whether a homeowner’s right to address construction defects should be limited, and whether the bill would increase the construction of additional affordable housing units.