Colorado REALTOR Digital Magazine January 2011 : Page 6
Changes mean less predictability for this year’s legislature By: Rachel Nance, CAR Vice President of Public Policy As 2011 session of the Colorado Legisla-ture convenes this week, there is cause for optimism –both in the substance of issues affecting the real estate profession likely to be taken up, and in the need for a more moderate, compromising atmosphere driven by the split control of the House and Senate by the two parties. A new Governor means a new set of cabinet officers with potentially some new views. Governor Hickenlooper has dem-onstrated his support for the real estate community throughout his political career. He reiterated his desire to maintain good, productive relationships when he spoke at a candidates’ event sponsored by CAR last July. Even so, his agenda will likely include items not yet on the table and which Colo-rado REALTORS® will evaluate and react to as they become known. It would be surprising if the state bud-get were not the single most dominant issue that legislators and the Governor will struggle with throughout the ses-sion. In Colorado, we are required to pass a balanced budget each year. With Federal stimulus dollars no longer available and cash reserves already spent, we anticipate the discussion to revolve around how to reduce expenditures by cutting programs not protected with dedicated funding (e.g., higher education). There is one more important factor that will have significant impact on CAR’s work at the legislature this year. Twenty-four freshmen lawmakers means that CAR’s governmental affairs staff and leadership will have a great opportunity to share our vision of the future of real estate in Colo-rado as we build good relationships with these new members. During the last session, CAR led a suc-Twenty-four freshmen lawmakers means that CAR’s governmental affairs staff and leadership will have a great opportunity to share our vision of the future of real estate in Colorado as we build good relationships with these new members. cessful effort to enact the Commercial Real Estate Brokers Commission Security Act which provides lien rights to com-mercial real estate brokers who are not paid agreed-upon commissions in a timely manner. As such, it gives our industry the same legal standing as plumbers, carpen-ters and mechanics. One recent court decision necessitates that we make some changes to this new law such that failing successful mediation (required by the law) the property owner would have the right to put up a bond as an alternative to the broker’s lien. We an-ticipate that some groups who opposed the Act, including the Colorado Bar Asso-ciation, might use the need to revise the law as an opportunity to try and undo it entirely. This year, CAR anticipates proposing a measure dealing with seller financing of properties to correct a conflict currently in the law. Colorado law currently permits seller financing only if the property being conveyed serves as the seller’s residence. This past summer, Congress passed their financial reform legislation, referred to as Dodd-Frank, which included a provision allowing up to three transactions in any page 6 | www.ColoradoREALTORS.com twelve month period before a seller needs to be licensed as a mortgage loan origi-nator. CAR’s proposed legislation would make Colorado’s law comport with Federal law. Finally, it is possible that there will be some legislative initiatives related to Pri-vate Transfer Fees – usually a percentage of the sale price of a property that goes to an unrelated third party (e.g., investors). Such fees are sometimes presented as a means to help underfunded developers get projects off the ground. More often they are simply long-term profits that ben-efit only the investor. Earlier this year the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) proposed prohibiting Fannie Mae, Fred-die Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks from investing in mortgages with private transfer fee covenants. Should that regu-lation go forward, it would end the use of private transfer fees in 60-70% of the real estate market. A new legislative session, a new admin-istration and many fresh faces at our State House fill this time of year with optimism and energy that we know can deliver great results for Colorado REALTORS® and the in-dustry as a whole.
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