Colorado Legislature Considers Bills Affecting Real Estate

Otten Johnson Alert February 2010

The 2010 Colorado Legislature is busy considering its usual plethora of new legislation and, again this year, many of the proposed new bills affect real estate. Below are descriptions of a few of the proposed new laws that may have a significant impact on Colorado real estate law:

Construction - Retainage under Construction Contracts (HB10-1162)

Prohibits retainage of more than 5% for the first 50% of a construction project. For the remaining 50% of the project, the bill prohibits retainage in excess of 2.5%. Retainage is required to be deposited into an interest-bearing escrow account which can be accessed by a contractor through a court order or an award of an arbitrator.

Development - Inclusion of Agricultural Lands within Urban Renewal Areas (HB10-1107)

Prohibits any area that will be designated as an "urban renewal area" from containing any land which is classified by the County Assessor as "agricultural land" unless: (a) such land is a "brownfield site," (b) a certain portion of the urban renewal area is blighted and a certain portion of its perimeter is contiguous with an urban-level development, (c) the agricultural land is completely contained within a municipality and it also meets a contiguity requirement, or (d) each public body that levies property taxes on the land agrees to the inclusion.

Broker Liens - Broker Lien Rights for Commercial Leasing Commissions (HB10-1288)

Allows real estate brokers to place a lien on commercial property if: (a) the broker has a written agreement with the property owner, (b) the broker obtains a tenant for the property and earns a commission under the agreement, (c) the broker serves on the owner and records a notice of intent to file a lien, and (d) the broker attempts all available means of collection under the written agreement and makes a good faith attempt to mediate the dispute. The broker also must file an action to enforce the lien within 6 months after the lien notice is recorded.

Foreclosures - Junior Liens in Foreclosures (SB10-93)

Allows the holder of a Certificate of Purchase received at a foreclosure sale to pay off junior lienors during the redemption period for the amount of the lien plus allowable fees and costs, thus preventing investors from trying to acquire the property through the redemption process by obtaining a junior lien and then refusing to accept payment in full on it.

It is still early in the session, and many of the new bills may be subject to a quick death in their respective assigned committees. Further information concerning any of the proposed bills may be obtained by contacting one of the lawyers in our Real Estate practice group or by visiting www.leg.state.co.us.

Otten Johnson's Real Estate practice group has experience in assisting clients that seek to influence the viability or content of proposed legislation.  For such assistance, please contact any of the attorneys in the Real Estate practice group (for a listing, click here).