News and Legal Updates

Aaron is a Colorado attorney who is also licensed in Michigan. Aaron comes from a background that includes working closely with a number of residential and commercial property management and consulting firms in Ann Arbor. He also worked as a law clerk with a boutique law firm handling a variety of real estate matters, including working with the City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and surrounding municipalities in developing sustainable land use policies. Aaron has also spent time working with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office in Detroit and the Michigan State University Tax Clinic, as an advocate for taxpayers before the United States Tax Court and Federal District Courts.

FHA Proposes Rule Restricting Reverse Mortgages in Super Lien States

Recently proposed changes in FHA lending programs and guidelines could have drastic effects for 22 states (including Colorado) and the District of Columbia. The proposed reforms would restrict owners’ eligibility for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (i.e., reverse mortgages) in states where community association liens are provided “super lien” status. If enacted, the revised rule states that “as a condition for a HECM to be eligible for loan assignment, that the HECM mortgage be in a lien status prior to homeowners association and condo association liens.” The result would be to eliminate associations’ current priority lien status over mortgages and deeds of trust and would effectively eliminate homeowners’ ability to obtain a reverse mortgage in super lien states. The proposed changes appear to be directly targeted at states with priority lien statutes. State super lien statutes provide important protections and benefits to owners, associations, and lenders. The propose rule changes are currently available for public comment.

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CD Reform is Dead Again, So What’s Next?

After negotiations collapsed last week over proposed statewide construction defect legislation, the future of construction defect reform remains to be seen. What is clearly evident, however, is that many cities and local municipalities are not afraid to take matters into their own hands. But how effective are local ordinances?

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No Support for Support Animal Bill

Colorado House Bill 16-1201, which would have established additional regulations for emotional support animals, has been killed by vote of a house committee.  Although the proposed bill did not attempt to provide guidelines for determining when support animals must be permitted under state and federal fair housing laws, it would have required Colorado licensed medical professionals to make a finding regarding a disability or that there was insufficient information to make such a finding.  Most significantly, it would have required the licensee to meet with the patient in person.  Unlike service animals under the ADA, standards governing emotional support animals are virtually nonexistent and there are no restrictions on the types of animals that qualify as assistance or companion pets. Associations frequently end up relying on statements made by unlicensed individuals who may be out of state and never even met the individuals making requests.  The standards are vague enough that associations may face a risk if the association fails to make a proper determination.

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Following Suit to Avoid (Law)suits?

As state legislators struggle to develop a cohesive approach to construction defect reform in Colorado, several cities continue their efforts to address this at the local level. Despite recent statements by the Governor advocating a state-level approach, local municipalities are still considering whether to take this on. Most recently, the City of Longmont announced that it is exploring additional measures to address construction defect reform. According to one member of the Longmont city council, the City is considering alternatives to ordinances adopted by other cities, including a requirement that owners in HOA communities must sue builders individually. Under the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act, associations have the right to file lawsuits on behalf of association members for matters affecting two or more owners in the community.

Colorado Governor Supporting Construction Defect Reform

Governor John Hickenlooper recently called upon the state assembly to continue bipartisan efforts to address construction defect reform in 2016. Based on the Governor’s comments, Coloradans will once again see bills introduced to try to balance the interests of builders, owners and HOAs.  According to the Governor, the issues surrounding construction defect reform are “too important to give up on.”  This perspective from the Governor is supported in light of recent attempts to address construction defect concerns at local levels by an increasing number of cities and municipalities. Disputes between interest groups have stalled past efforts at construction defect reform.

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