Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Will affordable housing ever come back to Colorado?

Prior to the Great Recession, condominiums and townhomes accounted for approximately 26%-27% of all permits pulled along the Front Range, and were referred to as “affordable housing,” meaning that you could find homes that were inexpensive or reasonably priced. Now that term has all but disappeared, to be replaced by “attainable housing.” In other words, it is possible to become a homeowner in Colorado, but it is by no means affordable.
To encourage more condominium and townhome construction, then-Gov. John Hickenlooper signed HB 17-1279 into law on May 23, 2017. Thereafter, the market has been waiting to see when affordable housing would make a resurgence. Unfortunately, it does not look like that will be happening any time soon.
While HB 17-1279, now codified as C.R.S. § 38-33.3-305, was sold as an informed consent bill, which was supposed to have made it harder for homeowners’ associations to file construction defect cases, that has not turned out to be the case. In reality, the law provides that an association must obtain approval of a majority of the owners who actually participate in a vote before it can file suit. Because this is a lower standard than builders could enforce by way of their own declarations, the new law actually made it easier for associations to obtain approval for construction defect actions. Needless to say, this has not caused a flood of builders vying for the opportunity to build affordable condominiums or townhomes, nor has it caused a rush of insurance carriers to race into the state to insure such projects.
To make the situation worse, there has recently been a hardening of the insurance market, globally and locally, for wrap insurance programs insuring attached homes in Colorado. Whereas a builder could previously obtain adequate limits for a project for 2% of the hard cost of construction, that same insurance would now cost 3%-4%. Additionally, it used to be that a builder could obtain a $2 million primary policy, with an excess policy to provide adequate limits. Now excess carriers want to start their coverages at $5 million, $8 million or $10 million.
Finally, the cost of everything else is going up also. Land costs more, materials cost more, labor costs more, compliance with governmental regulations and requirements costs more, and fees and taxes cost more. In a housing market where there seems to be no end of buyers who are able to attain new homes, even though not affordable, there is also not much market incentive for a builder to take large risks to provide affordable housing. Hopefully, the economy will continue its upward trajectory, but, if not, we may see a need again for the supply of affordable housing. Until then, I wouldn’t hold my breath.   

For more information regarding affordable housing, you can reach Dave McLain at (303) 987-9813 or by e-mail at mclain@hhmrlaw.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

COVID-19 Update

As COVID-19 continues to impact our world and communities, the well-being of our clients and colleagues is our paramount concern. Higgins, Hopkins, McLain & Roswell has instituted additional measures intended to ensure business continuity and service of our clients’ needs without interruption. Our longstanding availability of secure, remote access for all employees is ongoing, with support from our Firm’s third party IT professionals. We continue to accept new work assignments; our systems are fully functioning.

We extend our thoughts and best wishes to each of our clients, colleagues, and others impacted by this quickly-evolving situation.  Some events that were previously scheduled to be “in person” are being conducted by video or telephone, but our timely communication with you will continue. We are monitoring the situation closely, as well as WHO and CDC recommendations.

If you have questions or concerns about a case matter or its handling, you are encouraged to reach out to me or to your HHMR legal team at any time. We are here for you.

You can reach Sheri Roswell at (303) 987-9812 or via e-mail at roswell@hhmrlaw.com

Friday, March 13, 2020

HHMR is pleased to announce that David McLain has been selected as a 2020 Super Lawyer

David McLain is a founding member of Higgins, Hopkins, McLain & Roswell.  Mr. McLain has over 22 years of experience and is well known for his work in the defense of the construction industry, particularly in the area of construction defect litigation. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the CLM Claims College - School of Construction, which is the premier course for insurance, industry, and legal professionals. Law Week Colorado recently named Mr. McLain as the 2019 People’s Choice for Best Construction Defects Lawyer for Defendants.

HHMR is highly regarded for its expertise in construction law and the litigation of construction-related claims, including the defense of large and complex construction defect matters. Our attorneys provide exceptional service to individuals, business owners, and Fortune 500 companies. The firm is experienced in providing legal support throughout trials and alternative dispute resolution such as mediations and arbitrations.

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Each Super Lawyer nomination is vetted through a peer-reviewed process as well as through third-party research across 12 indicators of recognition and professional achievement. Only five percent of the lawyers in each state are awarded recognition as a Super Lawyer.

For information about construction litigation in Colorado, you can reach Mr. McLain by e-mail at mclain@hhmrlaw.com or by telephone at (303) 987-9813.


The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be construed as providing legal advice on any subject matter.