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The City of Lakewood is considering an ordinance October 13th to make it harder for residents to have construction defects corrected.  This proposed ordinance is misguided.

Property law is principally governed by the Colorado Constitution and legislation adopted by the Colorado General Assembly – not by ordinances of Colorado cities.

The rights of Lakewood residents to protect their property from construction defects was established in 1876, when the State Constitution was adopted.  

The Colorado Constitution provides broad property rights to all Colorado Citizens, along rights to life, liberty, safety and happiness.  

These rights are defined and referred to in the State Constitution as “inalienable” (absolute or unchallengeable).

The Colorado Constitution provides as follows:

“All persons have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.”  

Colo. Const., Article II, Section 3

Applicable here, Lakewood residents have “certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of . . . acquiring, possessing and protecting property . . .”

Property law, including the rights of owners to have construction defects corrected, is a basic property right.  It is not within the purview of the Charter of the City of Lakewood.  It is also not within the purview of the US Constitution.  Colorado property law is and should be, state wide.  Not city by city.

The better approach to construction issues is construction management, to avoid problems.  Here, cities, like Lakewood, do have a role, in the permitting process and the enforcement of building codes.

If construction is property managed, claims are avoided.  If construction still incudes defects, Colorado residents have constitutional rights to protect their property.  Those rights cannot and should not be diminished by Colorado cities.  Lakewood should leave the property rights of its residents alone.

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