MorganCarroll smallIn today’s Westword, reporter Michael Roberts offers explanation after explanation of the sky-high housing prices in Denver’s rental market. But, he never touches on the most controversial issue – the overly permissive condo construction defects law that is preventing housing developers from building starter homes in this hustling and bustling city.

Here’s Roberts’ list:

  1. Business is booming
  2. New businesses are launching
  3. Businesses are relocating to Denver (this is starting to sound like a pitch for Denver’s economic development department)
  4. Oil and gas boom
  5. Influx of residents
  6. Purchase price spikes
  7. Lack of housing inventory
  8. Pot boom

Unfortunately, he primarily focuses on why demand is up and forgets to look at why supply is down (other than noting that it is).  One reason that inventory is down is because of our construction defects law, which allows trial lawyers a wide berth in suing housing developers.  One of the big problems is that Colorado allows as few as two condo owners to join together to file a class action lawsuit.

Often, for young buyers, their first home is a condo, which, typically, is priced lower than a single family home.  The fact that young people cannot afford to buy a large home and condos are few and far between means that these buyers are going to rent instead of buy.

Republicans, particularly those in the Senate, have been trying to fix this issue for years, but have been stonewalled by the likes of Sen. Morgan Carroll and her cronies in the trial lawyer lobby. In fact, this year, several bills on this topic were killed.  So, next time Westword readers run head-first into the outrageous rental prices, they should feel free to kick Carroll and her friends in the shins (or at least give them a dirty look) for putting donors’ interests ahead of Coloradans’ interests.