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Colorado State Publications Blog

Resources on Affordable Housing

With housing prices and rent so high these days, many people are talking about the need for more affordable housing and how to implement affordable housing programs. The Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing (DOH) has numerous resources on their website that can help researchers, homebuyers/renters, and policymakers find information on affordable housing in Colorado. Search their site for information on federal programs such as HOME and Section 8; various grant programs; rental assistance; training workshops; foreclosure prevention; rental vacancy data; Colorado energy codes; homeless programs; voucher programs; manufactured housing; landlord/tenant problems; and much more. DOH has also produced numerous helpful publications, including:

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community

A recent news story discussed a new state audit report assessing the Fort Lyon residential facility – but the news report failed to actually link to the report. You can view the report here. The report provides a cost-benefit analysis of the facility and an assessment of success rates.

Fort Lyon, in Bent County, served as a U.S. Army fort from 1867 to 1897. In the twentieth century it was used as a veteran’s hospital, and then as a minimum security prison from 2001-2011. In 2013 the site reopened as a rehab facility for homeless persons. The facility includes not only housing, but programs to help residents overcome substance abuse issues. It is not a correctional facility – residents live there by choice.

Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community is run by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. To learn more, visit the facility’s website.

Residents of Fort Lyon get to live in the campus’s historic buildings. Photo courtesy DOLA.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Is Your House on Shaky Ground?

Ground subsidence problems are very real in Colorado. Whether from naturally occurring elements in the soil or from the effects of Colorado’s mining history, the ground in certain parts of Colorado is susceptible to settling, collapsing, expanding, heaving, or swelling, all of which can have potentially hazardous effects on structures. So how do you know if your area is affected by subsidence and swelling soils? And if it is, what should you do?
When the Ground Lets You Down, a title in the Colorado Geological Survey’s popular Rock Talk series, provides an excellent introduction to these types of hazards. The geological processes are illustrated in simple diagrams and information is provided about insurance, emergency situations, and where to go for help.
Another helpful publication, produced especially for homeowners, is A Guide to Swelling Soils for Colorado Homebuyers and Homeowners. This helpful guidebook can be checked out from our library or through Prospector. 
Additional helpful resources available from our library include:

Also, search the term “geologic hazards” in our library’s online catalog for additional resources.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

New Resource for HOA Information

Colorado has 8,006 registered homeowners associations. Is your home – or a home you’re thinking of buying – part of an HOA?
The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies has just debuted a new website dedicated to consumer information on HOAs. Part of their Take 5 to Get Wise consumer websites, the new HOA Information and Resource Center provides numerous resources such as a “before you purchase” feature; FAQs and resources for HOA boards; information on state and federal laws; reports and educational publications; how to register an HOA; and a calendar of events where you can find forums, classes, and other events relating to HOAs.  You can also sign up for a newsletter that has helpful tips for homeowners in HOAs.
For more information about the HOA Information and Resource Center, view their annual report, which is available online from our library back to 2011.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

HOAs and Political Signs

Many homeowners wonder about their rights to display political signs if they are part of a homeowner’s association.  Many HOAs have rules about political signs in yards or, for condos, in windows.  This election season the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) offers the following advice:

The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA), addresses this issue in Section 38-33.3-106.5, C.R.S., entitled “Prohibitions contrary to public policy – patriotic and political expression…”. A political sign is defined in this statute as “a sign that carries a message intended to influence the outcome of an election, including supporting or opposing the election of a candidate, the recall of a public official, or the passage of a ballot issue.”

In summary, this law states that notwithstanding any provision in the declaration, bylaws, or rules and regulations of the association to the contrary, an association shall not prohibit the display of a political sign by the owner or occupant of a unit on property within the boundaries of the unit or in a window of the unit; however, the association may prohibit the display of political signs earlier than forty-five (45) days before the day of an election and later than seven (7) days after an election day.
DORA also notes that HOAs can regulate the size and number of signs, so be sure to check those out with your association, too.
For more help with understanding HOAs, visit DORA’s HOA Information and Resource Center.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

HOA Information and Resource Center

Many Coloradans live in properties controlled by homeowner associations (HOAs).  Properties can include single-family homes, townhouses, or condominiums.  Each HOA has its own rules and bylaws, but they all must comply with certain state and federal laws.  The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies has created a website, the HOA Information and Resource Center, to help consumers understand their rights when living in HOAs.  Resources on the website include links to HOA laws; publications and presentations; helpful links; board member information; registering an HOA with the state; and more.  The site also includes information about HOA forums that homeowners can attend; an HOA homeowner survey; and a place to file a complaint about an HOA.  If you are a member of a homeowner association, be sure to check this helpful website for information that may benefit you.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

2010 Census Data for Colorado

The State Demography Office is in the process of compiling and releasing Colorado demographical information from the 2010 Census.  Data currently available on their website includes urban/rural population, age, households, housing occupancy, housing tenure, and more.  Also included are maps illustrating these population figures.  The data is presented both statewide and by county.  The site also presents information on the population change between 2000 and 2010, including population change by age and race.  Finally, the site offers estimates, forecasts and projections for the future using the 2010 census data.  Check back often as the site is continually being updated with new data.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Homeless Programs

The Colorado Governor’s Office, the Colorado Dept. of Local Affairs – Division of Housing, and various local nonprofits have teamed up to produce a new report, Pathways Home Colorado:  Ensuring All Coloradans Have a Place to Call HomeThe report takes a look at the various initiatives around the state that are working toward reducing homelessness.  For more information and links to resources, visit the Division of Housing’s Homeless Programs page. 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Homeowners' Associations

In Colorado, homeowners’ associations (or HOAs) are under the control of the law known as the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act.  The Act, passed in 1991, was recently updated with HB11-1124, which clarifies conflict of interest of an HOA’s executive board.  Colorado’s HOA laws can be complex, but two publications have recently been issued to help clarify these laws.  The Colorado Legislative Council’s Homeowners’ Associations Issue Brief from 2011 explains the laws in plain language.  Additionally, the Colorado Dept. of Regulatory Agencies has begun issuing an Annual Report of the HOA Information and Resource Center.  The Resource Center is an educational progam sponsored by the Division of Real Estate; for more information, see their HOA webpage.
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Colorado State Publications Blog

Apartment Rates and Vacancies

A story in today’s Denver Post reports that apartment rents are at an all-time high in Metro Denver.  The story references a report produced quarterly by the Colorado Division of Housing and the Apartment Association of Metro Denver.  You can find reports on apartment vacancies for Metro Denver, Colorado Springs, and Statewide at the Division of Housing’s website.* 

If you’re thinking about renting, be sure to check out the Division of Housing’s Colorado Renter’s Guide.

*Please note, that the current report as referenced in the Post article will not be available on the Division of Housing site until the next quarter’s report is released.  This is because the Apartment Association charges a fee for the current report.
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Colorado State Publications Blog

New: Demography Dashboard

The State Demography Office (part of the Colorado Dept. of Local Affairs) has just released a new “dashboard” feature, with information presented for each county.  According to the Office, 

“Our new Demography Dashboard shows graphs and charts for various datasets by county. Graphs include: Net Migration by Age, Population Estimates, Population Projections and Components of Change.”

And, as always, you can find a great deal of other information on the Office’s webpage, including population data, housing and households data, the economy and labor force, demographic profiles, and US census data and information.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Swelling Soils: Homebuyers Beware

If you’re looking at buying a home in the Denver Metro area, particularly in the area around C-470 near Bowles and Wadsworth in Jefferson County, or if you currently live in the area, make certain you read the Colorado Geological Survey’s Guide to Swelling Soils for Colorado Homebuyers and Homeowners, available for checkout from our libraryThis booklet contains everything you need to know about “Colorado’s most significant geologic hazard.”  The Colorado Geological Survey’s Swelling Soils page explains how Bentonite clays expand when exposed to water, “more than enough to break up any structure they encounter”: 

“Where the claystone layers turn up on end near the foothills, the effects of swelling are intensified and the phenomenon is called heaving bedrock, which causes heave ridges.  These ridges cause roads to ripple, including C-470 near Bowles Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard, a telling sign that extraordinary precaution is needed to prevent structural catastrophes in the area.”

However, the Colorado Geological Survey assures us that “sound building techniques can prevent swelling-soil damage to homes, but it is crucial that builders follow these techniques faithfully.” So be sure you know the facts next time you are searching for a new home, and check out this essential guide.  

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Colorado State Publications Blog

HOAs

According to HB10-1278 passed last year, all Colorado homeowners associations (HOAs) must register with the state by March 1, 2011. If you are in charge of an HOA and haven’t yet registered, click here to go to the Dept. of Regulatory Agencies’ registration page. The bill also created the HOA Information Office and Resource Center, where you can find information all the Colorado HOA information you need.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Foreclosures

In an effort to aid homeowners, the state legislature is introducing a “foreclosure timeout bill” which gives homeowners a 90-day moratorium on foreclosure so they have a chance to renegotiate their mortgages before losing their home. The text of HB 09-1276 is available on the General Assembly website.

The Colorado Foreclosure Hotline (1-877-601-HOPE) is another source of assistance. The hotline is a free service for Colorado homeowners who have questions about their home loans. Counselors can assist borrowers who are concerned about missing future loan payments, homeowners in the middle of foreclosure, and borrowers who are having trouble communicating with their financial institutions.

Foreclosure reports and other data are available from the Colorado Division of Housing. They also have a nice collection of general information for homebuyers and homeowners.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Carbon Monoxide

The General Assembly is considering a bill that requires carbon monoxide detectors be installed in all new residential construction, and in any properties that are sold, or leased to new tenants. In the last 2 months, 6 Coloradans have died from carbon monoxide poisoning. These incidents inspired the creation of the Lofgren Family Carbon Monoxide Safety Act (HB1091). The bill was introduced before the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee yesterday (January 12). To track the status of the bill, go to the General Assembly “status sheets” website, and use the drop down menu to select the range of bills that includes HB1091.

For more information on carbon monoxide in homes, you may want to read “Preventing Carbon Monoxide Problems“, from the Colorado State University Extension, or visit the website of the Indoor Air Quality Unit of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Landlord/Tenant Rights

Yesterday HB08-1356 passed out of the House and will make its way to the Senate. HB1356 gives protections to tenants whose landlords fail to make necessary repairs to their buildings rendering the units unsafe or even uninhabitable for the tenants. With the passage of HB1356 tenants will be able to take their landlords to court for failing to make repairs or other safeguards.
Proponents of the bill argue that this will give more rights to persons at low socioeconomic levels who often are stuck living in poor conditions; with this bill, poorer persons will have options. Opponents of the bill say that it will increase the amount of litigation and will result in landlords going to court frequently over small matters.

The State Publications Library has a variety of publications regarding landlords and tenants, including Landlord – Tenant Rights.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Foreclosure Hotline

The Colorado Division of Housing has a free service for Colorado homeowners who have questions about their home loans. The Colorado Foreclosure Hotline counsels people who have missed loan payments or are worried they may fall behind on future payments , as well as those in the middle of foreclosures. Housing counselors will outline options available to homeowners, and aid borrowers in communicating with their lenders. 1-877-601-HOPE (1-877-601-4673)

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Help Buying a Home

This is the time of year when many people make the decision to move, and the State of Colorado has information to help you. The Colorado Geologic Survey publishes a book, A Guide to Swelling Soils for Colorado Homebuyers and Homeowners, 1997, that every Colorado homebuyer should read, in addition to many other publications on swelling soils available in our library. The Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division’s web site on radon has information on radon and real estate transactions, as well as mitigation.

In addition, go to the Division of Housing’s web site for low income housing information, rental assistance, affordable housing data, manufactured housing, and more. There is also an online database for finding affordable housing.

If you would like to know more about the buying/selling process, the Colorado Real Estate Manual is available online. All of the above can also be borrowed in hard copy from our library.