House Committee Postpones Bill Reducing the Statute of Repose Indefinitely
April 23, 2015
In a victory for Colorado homeowners, the Colorado House Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs postponed Senate Bill 91 indefinitely. The bill had originally been drafted to reduce Colorado’s construction-related statute of repose from six to three years. A three-year statute of repose would have made Colorado the state with the shortest statute of repose in the United States. The Senate passed an amended version of SB91 that limited its application to single-family homes and reduced the statute of repose to five years instead of three. Despite the amendments, the Colorado House Committee still voted to postpone the bill indefinitely. Some of the questions posed by representatives on the committee shed light on the decision.
The representatives on the committee questioned whether the bill was going to have any effect in stimulating construction for Colorado’s affordable housing sector. Others questioned why the bill was targeting single family homes when there has been no evidence of a “glut of litigation” in the single family home sector or concerns about the number of new single family homes for sale on the Front Range. Finally, representatives questioned whether the SB91 would have any affect on curtailing lawsuits. Opponents of SB91 testified that shortening the time frames would only promote litigation by forcing homeowners to file lawsuits prematurely to protect their timing instead of waiting to see if the problem gets worse. After all, most homeowners are not concerned about typical, small drywall cracks that often manifest in the first year after completion of a new home. Homeowners file lawsuits after they notice hundreds of cracks evidencing major structural damage as a result of under-designed foundation systems.
While the defeat of SB91 is a significant victory, homeowner rights are still at stake. SB177 is making its way through the legislature and should be set for hearing shortly. Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson strongly opposes SB177 on behalf of Colorado homeowners and is doing everything it can to ensure Colorado homeowners do not have their rights taken away.
Duncan Griffiths and Christopher Griffiths are associate attorneys with the law firm of Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson where they each represent homeowners and community associations with claims for construction defects.