homebuilder bill


I’ll make this simple for you because city council members think you’re stupid.

Let’s say you and your spouse make $80,000 a year, and you want to buy a condo. You can’t even begin to afford the million-dollar madness going on around Downtown Denver. So you look to the burbs for something around $200,000 that you want to live in. Do you choose a $200,000 condo in Wheat Ridge, where builders have to live under a state law protecting condo owners from being ripped off by crappy builders who build crappy condo complexes? Or do you choose a $200,000 condo in Aurora, where the city has sided with condo builders, making it much, much harder to get the courts to force builders to living up to their guarantee and to fix it?

Now remember. Every council person in Aurora thinks you’ll flock here because, hell, you’re desperate and you’re stupid and don’t know any better or care.

You really can’t come to any other conclusion after city lawmakers this week did an end run around a huge majority of state lawmakers who said, “No, we will not allow builders to get away with ripping off people in Colorado by building crappy condos and town houses and then skipping town.”

State lawmakers killed Senate Bill 177 earlier this year, because it does just what the Aurora measure will now do since it was approved unanimously by city council. The measure, by design, is created to make it as difficult as possible for homeowners stuck with expensive shoddy construction problems to get to court to have a judge decide who’s to blame for sinking foundations, crumbling facades and buckling parking lots.

We’ve been here as a state before. State lawmakers refused to enact laws making it easier to sue corrupt builders who sucker condo owners, so state lawmalers closed loopholes allowing builders to leave condo owners to have to eat it in 2007. The measure that Aurora city lawmakers just passed undoes what those changes did. It also goes around nearly the same changes that state legislators said no to just a few months ago.

City lawmakers are reacting to the demands of the building industry that say that it’s so easy to sue builders in Colorado and that building insurance is just too expensive to justify building “affordable” condos.

You would have to be stupid to believe that line, or you would have to be in the very deep, very pervasive pockets of homebuilders and contractors. And, gee, who gives boatloads of campaign contributions to the city and county officials that control their bread and butter? Yup.

Here’s what lawmakers and builders aren’t telling you: 1. Homebuilders are now and at any time welcome, neigh, encouraged to rectify crappy construction problems before anyone ever says “lawyer.” Even before that, builders are welcome, neigh, encouraged, to do the best job possible at making sure they don’t build crap in the first place. Likewise, the city is welcome, neigh, encouraged to have building departments keep the crap from going up. 2. Crap happens, though. An unscrupulous subcontractor uses the wrong concrete mix and basement floors start to crumble. The builder didn’t do it, but the builder got paid. The builder is welcome, neigh, encouraged, to fix it on their own and then sue the subcontractor.

See where this is going? The reason that Colorado state lawmakers approved the Homeowner Protection Act of 2007 is because over and over again in Colorado, middle-class homeowners were left holding the bag of crap.

Well, Aurora just handed the bag back to people trying to find a way to get an affordable part of the American dream.

What this means is that buying an affordable Aurora condo just became a gamble, a gamble you won’t have to take if you buy in Westminster, Arvada or Englewood. You’re gambling that if the home you buy has a problem, the builder will honorably fix it. And you’re gambling that if they don’t, and Colorado and Aurora history is piled high with crap that builders refused to fix, that all the hoops city council members just created for their constituents to jump through don’t prevent them from getting the chance to make their case to a court. That’s all ripped-off homeowners want, is to tell their side of the story to a judge. Because even now, under the law that Colorado voters demanded, it’s just a day in court. If you don’t have a case against a homebuilder, you lose.

Conveniently, it appears the Aurora city council has taken it upon themselves to save you that suspense if you get stuck buying a crappy condo that the homebuilder won’t fix, because now, you lose in Aurora no matter what.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter/Facebook or dperry@aurorasentinel.com.

16 replies on “PERRY: Aurora backs homebuilders’ ability to sell the public affordable crap again”

  1. sure won’t encourage people to buy dwellings in Aurora – have a friend who has been billed $5,000 for a roof they didn’t need.
    Home builder went ahead and put it on anyway. Who are the elected council representatives representing? Doesn’t sound
    like it’s citizens they were elected to represent. Feel sorry for anyone buying property in Aurora. Hope the news gets out to
    warn people.

    1. It’s not Aurora city counsel is incredibly corrupt. They usually have some investment in stuff like this. I am sure they will make a lot of money though.

      Also, yes a lot of local governments are corrupt. Still does not make it right.

      1. Aurora isn’t known for quality.
        Look at the potholes, buckling roads and sidewalks. Then notice how a tiny lot must be built on. Usually, multi-family housing. What happened to the once beautiful parks. They’ve become dust bowls.
        If that’s not enough to turn people off, notice the lack of code enforcement.

        1. There are city inspectors on every job, from foundation to roofing, from wallboard thickness to electrical outlets, wiring and plumbing. If someone wants to complain, complain to the city about their inspectors, they are on EVERY job, Materials to be used are on lists of approved material, ALL other mentioned construction is monitored by inspectors and signed off.

          1. I find it odd that the people keep forgetting government has no money of it’s own. Our money is their money.
            The incompetent need to be fired as well as those who hire and keep them on.

          2. It’s nearly impossible to get fired from a government position. You see that with this VA scandal, the woman in charge, retired at full benefits, faced no prosecution, no nothing. The guy that heads the IRS, lied through his teeth, and nothing happens, still the head of the IRS today, yes, it’s ugly.

  2. Sounds like it makes sense until you look at the issues that have come up in the past 8 years. Contractors aren’t getting the right to remedy the work before being slapped with multi-million dollar lawsuits (as #1 insinuates they have above). How would you like to be sued for not painting your fence a certain color without getting a chance to paint your fence? That is what is happening and the only people that benefited from the 2007 law is the lawyers, as the home buyers in these class action lawsuits are stuck with devalued property for 5 plus years as the issues are stuck in litigation, and the contractors are stuck paying $15 million for a fix that would’ve taken $10,000 if they would’ve been given the chance to fix it.

    1. WRONG…The law that has been on the books for years REQUIRES the homeowners to allow the builder to know what the problems are, where the problems are located, give an opportunity to inspect AND make an offer to remedy…more misinformation…the same misinformation sold to the lawmakers who drank the cool aid.

      1. The builder currently has no right to fix the defects. These cases typically go straight to lawsuit.
        If you want affordable for sale condo housing, this needs to be fixed. Or we can keep things how they are today. You pick.

        1. WRONG…not sure where you are talking about, but here in Colorado a builder must be notified about the problems, be told where the problems exist, then gets the opportunity to inspect AND the opportunity to make an offer to repair all before a case is filed, and if the case is filed without this being done the case is stayed until it has happened…You are just wrong…

  3. It’s buyer beware in Aurora, as in ‘know your home builder’. If you’re buying a new condo or town home, it may make sense to hire your own inspector before you buy.

    1. Joe, any Buyer owes it to himself to hire an independent home inspector – whether it is new construction or not – and whether or not it is in Aurora! If he is not working with an Agent to represent him in the transaction, it is a hard lesson to learn. The Seller – or home builder – is protecting his side of the transaction ONLY. The Buyer better have someone in his corner!

  4. Right to repair is difficult because the insurance campany has to establish liability. How do you do that? You have to file a claim. Did anything Aurora do impact this? No. Instead they just took rights away from homeowners.

    If a property has a construction defect it is automatically devalued so claiming a lawsuit to fix the defect is devaluing the property is illogical. They defect must be fixed to get back the value of the property.

    I can’t wait to start seeing all the new construction in Aurora or Lakewood that passed their ordinance over a year ago. This is not the answer, and passing these ordinances will only help prove that point.

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