Do CO home buyers want to own condos?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Blog


Yesterday I blogged about the controversy over how to curb the cost of construction defect legislation in Colorado. Today I address the question:

What’s the end game for special interests?

You can read about it here in the Colorado Statesman

Denver unveils construction-defects reform proposal to spur condo building

Now let’s look at the way this issue is being spun by those that favor reducing the legal rights of condo owners. What fears are being stoked, and what promises are being made? To summarize, supporters of amending construction defect statutes in Colorado make the following clams:

  • If construction defect lawsuits are not curbed, developers cannot build condos, even though they want to. It’s just too risky and not cost-effective for them.
  • If legislation as proposed is passed, home builders will start building condos. Cities will increase their tax base and economic prosperity.
  • If there are no condos built, there will be not be enough affordable housing in Colorado.
  • If legislation as proposed is passed, developers will save the day by providing affordable housing in the form of condominiums.

Time to debunk with some sorely needed common sense:

  • Frankly, who cares what developers want to build? Who cares if City Mayors are primarily interested in increasing property tax revenue? The question we should be asking is, do consumers want to own condos? Or would they prefer to avoid all of the problems and pitfalls of condo life, now widely reported all over the country?
  • Where do constituents want to live? Would they rather rent an apartment or house until they can afford to purchase their own single family home? Or do young professionals prefer to remain mobile and avoid ownership?
  • Why are home builders and Mayors not talking about how to increase quality standards for construction, and how to avoid shoddy and defective construction? The best way to prevent construction defect litigation is to prevent defects in the first place.
  • Another way to curb litigation expenses is to institute substantial legal penalties to the party bringing frivolous claims. Complete silence on this issue from home builders and Mayors, too.
  • By the way, there’s no guarantee that developers will build more condos, or even affordable rental housing, based upon legislative politicking. This attorney’s editorial blog highlights that fact nicely.
  • Who says that the only way to increase density and affordability is by building condominiums? Apartment communities also serve that need, and may, in fact, prove to be a more affordable option to condo ownership.

Think about it. Apartment living requires no additional maintenance costs for interior maintenance, and no surprise special assessments.

Furthermore, it has become painfully obvious to condo owners and condo tenants alike that traditional apartment buildings are often better maintained than condo associations made up of multiple landlord-owners – where absentee owners just can’t seem to reach consensus, and are probably apathetic about long-term investment beyond collecting rent checks.


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