Date: 02/12/2009

BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1235


Votes: View--> Action Taken:
Moved prepared amendment L.001 (Attachment A). ThPass Without Objection

10:12 AM -- House Bill 09-1235

The committee was called to order. A quorum was present. Representative Acree, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 09-1235, concerning measures to address unsafe conditions arising as a result of the abandonment of real property. Representative Acree provided background on the bill, and explained her reasons for carrying the bill. Representative Acree responded to questions regarding how often good Samaritans are charged with crimes for attempting to clean up abandoned properties, and how a foreclosed property falls into disrepair if a bank holds title to it. Representative Acree responded to further questions regarding who is likely to warn good samaritans against cleaning up abandoned properties, and what parties will be immunized by the bill against civil action. Discussion ensued regarding the status of banks who own properties as good Samaritans under the bill, and the ability of property owners to deny access to properties under the bill.

10:23 AM

Discussion ensued regarding the level of civil immunity provided by House Bill 09-1235, and a forthcoming amendment that affects the level of immunity. Discussion followed regarding risks involved with performing good Samaritan activities.

10:28 AM

The following persons testified regarding House Bill 09-1235:

10:29 AM --
Mr. Duane Gall, Office of Legislative Legal Services, provided clarification regarding two seemingly conflicting provisions in the bill. Discussion ensued regarding the types of instances in which a non-owner of a property will be shielded from taking full responsibility for an unoccupied dwelling by the bill when the non-owner attempts to block off entry points to the dwelling. Discussion followed regarding how liability is treated in such instances under current law, and the current time line for foreclosure proceedings. The committee then discussed the impact of abandoned dwellings on neighborhoods.

10:40 AM --
Councilman Larry Beer, representing the City of Aurora, testified in favor of House Bill 09-1235. Councilman Beer discussed the negative impact of abandoned dwellings on neighborhoods and property values, how the bill will improve these situations, and what the City of Aurora is currently doing to rectify such situations in light of the recent increase in home foreclosures. Councilman Beer responded to questions regarding the provision of immunity to lienholders such as banks, and the ability of municipalities to clean up abandoned dwellings under current law. Councilman Beer responded to further questions regarding how the bill will provide further assistance to municipalities with property abatement above current law. Discussion returned to the merits of providing immunity to lienholders.

10:51 AM

Discussion continued regarding the treatment of lienholders, realtors, and others with interest in the property by the bill. Councilman Beer responded to questions regarding the potential for creating programs at the municipal level to educate property owners about property upkeep and other code issues, and the potential for amending the bill to this effect.

10:56 AM --
Mr. Todd McMahon, representing the Mission Viejo Homeowners Association, testified in favor of the bill. Mr. McMahon discussed the impact of foreclosures on his neighborhood, and how neighborhoods would benefit from the passage of House Bill 09-1235. Mr. McMahon responded to questions regarding his organization's position on providing immunity to owners of abandoned property under the bill. Discussion ensued regarding the impact of holding property owners, including lenders, responsible for actions taking place on abandoned properties during instances of voluntary clean-up.

11:04 AM --
Mr. Corbin Sakdol, Arapahoe County Assessor, testified in favor of House Bill 09-1235. Mr. Sakdol discussed the foreclosure situation in Colorado, and the benefits of the bill to neighborhoods with abandoned dwellings. Mr. Sakdol then discussed how neighborhoods are currently prevented from abating abandoned properties. Mr. Sakdol provided his views on providing both property owners and good samaritans immunity from liability. Discussion returned to the potential for amending the bill to encourage local governments to create programs to educate citizens about community clean up immunities provided by the bill.

11:12 AM

Representative Acree explained the effect of prepared amendment L.001 (Attachment A).
TIME: 11:12:32 AM
MOTION:Moved prepared amendment L.001 (Attachment A). The motion passed without objection.
Not Final YES: 0 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: Pass Without Objection


11:14 AM

Discussion returned to the merits of providing immunity from liability to banks and other lienholders who are in the process of foreclosing on a property when good samaritans clean up the property. Discussion followed regarding potential unintended consequences due to the provision of immunity from liability by House Bill 09-1235.

11:21 AM

The bill was laid over until Tuesday, February 17th.