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Denver Real Estate Law Blog

Denver filled with "opportunity zones" for commercial development

Currently, there are over 125 "opportunity zones" in Colorado. At least 35 of them are located in Denver and its surrounding areas.

Opportunity zones are part of a federal program put forth in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The premise of the program is to provide investors with incentives to invest in designated high-poverty areas, or opportunity zones, by providing significant tax advantages.

Can you prevent commercial rent increases in Colorado?

Under Colorado law, rental price capping is illegal. Although the issue was brought up to Denver legislature as recently as February 2018, previous Colorado Supreme Court rulings upholding the 1981 law mean the situation is unlikely to change.

In the meantime, tenants like you experience continuous rent increases with no end in sight. Landlords usually attribute the increases to changes in the market, but other than taking your business elsewhere, is there anything you can do to protect yourself?

Who gets the earnest money when a party backs out of a contract?

A mansion located next to the main chairlift at the Aspen ski resort is the center of a million-dollar real estate dispute involving earnest money. The Aspen Daily News recently reported that the buyer of a $17.5 million ski home backed out more than two months after the contingency period had passed.

Earnest money is a type of security deposit that shows a buyer has "good faith" to complete the purchase. This money shows the buyer has serious intentions, because it is typically not refundable unless something goes wrong with the contract. Generally, earnest money is between 1 to 2 percent of the selling price of a home. However, buyers and sellers can negotiate the earnest price. This price tends to be higher in Colorado and other states that are experiencing "hot selling markets."

Know your water rights before buying a lakefront property

Purchasing a home can be an exciting time, until you find out your real estate agent has not been telling you the truth. At least, that is what happened in Denver last month.

Four Denver residents sued their realtor after discovering he "misrepresented [their] homeowners' rights" to the lake behind their homes. According to a Denver news station, the residents claim that the realtor did not alert them that they needed a "water storage right" to use the lake for recreational purposes, such as boating or fishing. Without the proper water rights, the city might drain the lake.

Are Airbnb rentals becoming a problem for some of your tenants?

Recently, one of the largest apartment companies in Colorado came out on top in a legal battle with Airbnb over illegal short-term rentals. The company, Aimco, sued Airbnb after residents were upset with short-term renters at a number of the company's properties.

According to the Denver Business Journal, one of Aimco's vice presidents stated, "Our residents do not want to live in a de-facto hotel for spring-break partiers, vacationers and other unvetted strangers." Fortunately, a court agreed with the tenants.

Prominent developer under investigation for bidding misconduct

The City of Denver recently announced that it was terminating its contract with the real estate developer it hired to expand the Colorado Convention Center. The expansion is set to cost the city $233 million. However, the city recently discovered the developer engaged in bidding misconduct.

According to the Denver Mayor's Office, state bidding requires an "open, fair and competitive process." Unfortunately, the city believes it discovered information that this process did not occur.

Private properties bordering public lands might require easements

Imagine looking out into your backyard and seeing Colorado's beautiful and majestic federal public lands. For some lucky Colorado residents, this is not a dream in their imaginations. It is their reality of life.

In fact, private property surrounds 270 thousand acres of the state's federal lands. However, this might be an issue, according to a recent article in the Denver Post.

Zoning considerations relevant to Colorado real estate transactions

Do you ever wonder why and how the various areas of your Colorado city or town came to feature a rational divide among commercial, residential and industrial districts?

Urban areas ranging from the largest enclaves down to the smallest municipalities have zoning rules and regulations that govern development. As noted in one in-depth article on zoning, local government control over land/building development dates back more than a century in the United States.

Unlivable mountain retreats sold without inspections

Often, a homebuyer will make assumptions about the new house: It is livable, it meets building codes, it has either passed government inspection or has been flagged for violations.

Such is not the case in Park County, Colorado, and the government admits it. Multi-million-dollar homes are not fit for habitation and the county has never inspected them and, further, says it doesn't have the ability to inspect future ones.

Downtown Denver apartment boom spells investor opportunity

Research authored by global real estate services firm CBRE that centers on Colorado residential and commercial investment opportunities makes these two fundamental points:

  • Denver’s downtown area has long been undersupplied when it comes to apartments that are available for downtown workers
  • Recent construction activity seeks to remedy that and will have a strongly positive effect on altering the urban core


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