The Moonridge Falls subdivision HOA in Grand Junction suddenly locked homeowners out of their own common space this winter, nominally for safety, even though no accidents had occurred in the park and no one has ever been hurt there. The HOA effectively treated all homeowners as though they were trespassers in their own common space. Across the state, subdivisions that lock off commonly-owned amenities, like swimming pools or tennis courts — whether for safety or to eliminate vandalism — provide all homeowners keys to the locks on the amenities because the homeowners own the amenities and pay the substantial costs of maintaining them.
Homeowners in the Moonridge Falls subdivision in Grand Junction woke up last December 21 to find their homeowners association (HOA) had suddenly locked them out of their own common space park.
Residents couldn’t remember a time when the gates to the park had ever been locked. No one had been hurt in the park. No accidents had occurred in the park recently, not even a close call, but for some reason the HOA suddenly decided to lock the park and keep everyone out, even homeowners, as though it was a crime scene or a grave emergency had just occurred. The HOA put up a sign saying the park would stay locked as long as there was ice on the pond. Yet long after the ice had melted, the locks remained, leading residents o wonder what was really up, and what they could do about it.
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Water intrusion issues around windows may not become apparent until years after construction is complete.
On January 14, Colorado State Sen. Ray Scott introduced SB15-091 (pdf), a bill titled “Reduce Statute Of Limitations Construction Defects,” that would protect developers from lawsuits when things go drastically wrong with the homes they build. Scott’s bill would cut in half the amount of time homeowners in Colorado would have to file lawsuits over construction defects, from six years to three. If enacted, the bill would shield homebuilders from being accountable for significant problems and expenses that homeowners incur due to construction defects they discover just a few years after moving in a new home. Most states provide consumers a 10-12 year window in which to file suits over damages due to construction defects in a new home. Scott’s bill would make Colorado one of the states with the smallest windows for consumers to gain recourse against shoddy construction.
Many construction defects aren’t apparent until years after construction, after the home has been through several wind, rain and snow storms, and cycles of cold, heat, dryness and humidity. It takes time for these conditions to reveal problems with roofs, foundations or wall construction, like use of inadequate materials or poor workmanship. Mistakes and oversights by builders or subcontractors are not only common, but are often completely unnoticeable within the first few years after construction. They can also result in extremely costly repairs for the homeowners. Under Scott’s bill, homeowners would be left holding the bag for expensive repairs to their homes needed due to shoddy construction.
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