Watch out for the builder’s lobby!

/ Owner - June 24, 2023

Every now and then, I run across an article like this: Why Are So Few Condos Built in the Twin Cities?  It will talk about the problem of very few condominiums being built in a city or state.  It will raise some issues that they believe may be the cause, but you will always find among those reasons: “Another sticking point developers cite is a state statute that gives condo owners too easy a path to class-action lawsuits over building defects.”  Don’t let them kid you.  Even though they list a number of possible reasons, this is the one they are aiming to deal with.

This type of article has popped up in a number of states, and has proven successful for the developers in states like Colorado, Minnesota and others.  In these states, the legislatures have made it a lot harder, and more expensive, for associations to sue developers for constuction defects.

The “writers” of the articles all seem to think that the construction defect lawsuits of past years were filed just so the law firms could make some money, but of course, they provide no data to back that up.  That is because the data wouldn’t support their reasoning.  In talking to a number of law firms in my area, they all said that they won or received a good settlement in almost every construction defect case they brought for an association.  Although the developers would like you to believe otherwise, associations rarely start large lawsuits just for the fun of it.  That’s not what the writers of these articles want you know.

For those states looking at potential legislation that would make it harder to bring and win construction defect lawsuits, I would suggest the following steps:

  • Poll the law firms in your state: how many condominium construction defect lawsuits have they filed and what were the results
  • When you see an article like the one linked to aboce, write a counterpoint and use your facts to challenge their lack of facts
  • When it comes up before a committee in the legislature, use your data, and ask the other side where their data is
  • Then ask everybody,”Why do developers want legislative help so they can build crap and get away with it!”  Good developers rarely get or lose defect lawsuits.

The builder’s lobby spends a lot of money on lobbyists and their state legislator’s campaign’s, so they have a head start in getting what they want.  Associations have to provide better data and publicity to stop this.

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