Condo, townhome litigation relief introduced at Capitol
Legislation to reduce the risks of litigation associated with condominium and townhome development was recently introduced at the Capitol.
SF1455 and HF1538, sponsored by Sen. Kari Dziedzic (DFL, Minneapolis) and Rep. Dennis Smith (R, Maple Grove) respectively, would make changes to the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (MCIOA) with the intent of encouraging condo and townhome development by reducing the risk of litigation associated with these types of housing units.
The development of condos and townhomes has declined dramatically since the end of the recession, while construction of new apartments and single family homes has increased dramatically. Many in the industry feel the increased risk of litigation restricts them from pursuing projects other than the high-end market. The legislation would encourage all parties to resolve construction defect disputes through negotiations or mediation while preserving the rights of owners. It would also require all homeowner associations to adopt and implement a preventative maintenance plan, require a majority of all owners to authorize litigation, and require all parties to pay their own attorney’s fees.
HF1538 was heard in the House Civil Law and Data Practices Policy Committee on March 2. It passed out of the Committee and is now waiting to be heard on the House Floor. Currently, SF1455 is scheduled for a March 17 hearing in the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee. If it makes it through the Committee, it will head to the Senate Floor.
This legislation is supported by the Minneapolis Downtown Council, the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, the Builders Association of Minnesota, the Minnesota Association of Realtors, the American Institute of Architects – MN, the Association of General Contractors and numerous cities in the in the metro area.