Mountain Law: A guide to new Colorado laws
Here’s a rundown on some new Colorado laws that may be of interest:
HB14-1008, which was sponsored by state Rep. Millie Hamner, authorizes the Colorado water and power development authority to make loans to private entities to help fund forest health projects. Previously, such loans were available only to government agencies. The law might enable new forest health projects in the mountains.
There are many forms of legal notices that must be published in a newspaper of general circulation, notably notices of foreclosure. It can sometimes be difficult for people to find these legal notices. HB14-1086 is an attempt to address this concern by requiring newspapers to also place such notices on a statewide website established by an organization representing a majority of Colorado newspapers as a repository for such notices. The law became effective in August 2014, but, as far as I can determine, the website is not going yet. Once the site is established, the law should help ensure wider access to legal notices. It will be interesting to see the effect this law might have on foreclosures conducted by the sheriff (as opposed to the public trustee).
Sheriff’s sales are generally not as closely watched as public trustee sales, partly because information about public trustee sales is currently more readily available online.
I have written before about a significant new law taking effect Jan. 1, 2015, that will require community association managers to be licensed like real estate brokers. HB14-1254 requires managers who perform services for a homeowners association (HOA) through employees or subcontractors to fully disclose to the HOA, during contract negotiations and annually thereafter, all fees and charges the manager will bill to the HOA for services performed by those employees or subcontractors.
Another HOA law, HB14-1125, allows HOAs to disclose the names and addresses of residents and owners to other HOA residents and owners, but only after first obtaining written consent.
HB-1275 paves the way for the Parks and Wildlife Commission to purchase a parcel of land near Palisade for a shooting facility. The law would exempt this particular transaction from the normal competitive bidding process and permit the commission to negotiate the transaction directly with the seller. To my knowledge, a source of funds for the acquisition remains to be identified.
The standard real estate contract used by brokers and others already contains a mineral rights disclosure. However, SB14-009 will expand the disclosure language to contain a more detailed description of what can happen on land where the mineral rights are owned separately from the surface rights. The disclosure must also appear in the standard seller’s property disclosure form. The required disclosures will apply to all real estate contracts, not just those using the standard form. These requirements will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2016. Real estate brokers should be aware of the new disclosures and be prepared to explain them to their clients.
Finally, two foreclosure laws merit mention. A debtor can generally stop a foreclosure by requesting a “cure statement,” then paying the amount needed to bring the loan current. HB14-1130 gives debtors more power to require information about the items listed on a cure statement and to obtain a refund of any overpayments.
HB14-295 conforms to new federal rules concerning foreclosures. It requires big loan servicers to create a single point of contact for every borrower, which will help address the issue of borrowers being bounced from one person to another. It also prohibits “dual-tracking,” which is when a lender keeps a foreclosure active despite agreeing to a payment plan with the borrower.
Noah Klug is the owner of The Klug Law Firm. He can be reached at (970) 468-4953 or Noah@TheKlugLawFirm.com.
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