4th Quarter Newsletter
A Newsletter For Our Clients
744 Horizon Court, Suite 300, Grand Junction, Colorado 81506
Phone (970) 241-5500
4th Quarter 2017
Radioactive by William H.T. Frey
I'm waking up to ash and dust
I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
I'm breathing in the chemicals
Imagine Dragons – Radioactive.
Many homeowners in the Grand Valley are familiar with the mill tailing cleanup project from the 1970s and 1980s. Five hundred and ninety-four (594) structures in Mesa County underwent remedial actions to remove radioactive mill tailings from their property; more structures were inspected and provided with information that their property was not contaminated. Homes built in the 50s, 60s and 70s could have contamination caused by use of mill tailings in construction of the residence. The assumption that the remedial action undertaken, or an inspection showing no contamination, meant the home is free from radiation could be a serious mistake.
One of the primary concerns of the initial program was to remediate radon gas exposure. However, gamma radiation exposure is also a significant health threat that may not have been addressed as part of a remediation project or inspection in the 70s or 80s. It is possible that contaminated materials that were not subject to removal based on the standards during that program could now impact the owner’s ability to obtain a building permit for improvements to the property today.
This possible contamination creates issues for sellers and buyers of residential property in Mesa County that are generally overlooked. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will provide information about a property in connection with a building permit application or a proposed property transaction to the property owner, their representative, or a realtor, and may provide a gamma radiation survey if it appears likely that mill tailings may still be present.
Anyone planning a real estate transaction, or concerned about their own health situation, should consider taking advantage of the information available from the CDPHE. Although a property owner may have to bear the costs of dealing with unremediated contamination, dealing with the issue proactively will be cheaper than having to address a lawsuit based on non-disclosure. For sellers, the standard contract to buy and sell may need a modification to assure the risk of inspection for contamination is delineated and the seller does not have continuing responsibility if contamination is later discovered. For a broker or attorney, advising clients to take advantage of the information available from the CDPHE is a way to provide information to your client. For a buyer, reliance upon representations of a seller or a letter showing no contamination that was issued decades ago is not prudent.
Rule Changes for Licensed Brokers and Real Estate Forms
by Annie D. Murphy
Earlier this year, the Colorado General Assembly passed a law about the qualifications of real estate brokers and the use of real estate forms by brokers and property managers.
Senate Bill 17-215, titled “Sunset Licensed Real Estate Brokers & Subdivision Developers,” passed on March 27, 2017, continues the Division of Real Estate, the Real Estate Commission (“REC”) and the regulation of real estate brokers until 2026. Of interest to our property management clients and real estate brokerage firms, beginning January 1, 2019, a broker may not act as an employing broker “without first demonstrating . . . experience and knowledge sufficient to enable the broker to employ and adequately supervise other brokers.” The bill directs the REC to establish rules creating a method by which a broker may establish this “experience and knowledge.” One way will be to document a specified number of transactions that a broker has completed.
The bill changes licensing renewal dates to December 31st of every third year after issuance, rather than on the anniversary date. It also amends the current provisions on referral fees to conform to the requirements of federal law (The “Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974”).
Significantly, the bill defines “Standard Form.” There are 8 distinct categories of “standard forms,” including one drafted by the REC and a form drafted by a licensed Colorado attorney representing the broker. If a broker is using a form drafted by his or her attorney, the form must contain the name of the attorney or law firm who prepared it as well as the name of the broker, employing broker, or brokerage firm for whom the form is prepared on the form itself. The new rule also requires a broker to use an REC-approved form when a form exists and is appropriate for the transaction. This rule took effect on June 30, 2017.
If our office has prepared a standard form for your use in your capacity as broker, brokerage firm, or employing broker, such as a property management agreement or a lease, give us a call so that we can add our name to the form. We are also available to review your current lease and provide updates.
DWMK Awards 4-H Scholarships
We are delighted to announce the recipients of our 2017 Dufford Waldeck 4-H Youth Scholarships. These two scholarships were created in 2016 for Mesa County 4H members exhibiting at the Mesa County Fair. The two $150 scholarships help local youth fund the care and feeding of their animals or the supplies needed for their 4-H project.
All scholarship applicants were invited to our office for a personal interview and presentation about their project. This year, two applicants stood out for their dedication to their projects and interesting presentations. The first of our 2017 scholarship winners is McKenna Young, who won 2017 Reserve Grand Champion for Market Swine. The second, Brooke Hahn, was the 2017 Champion in Poultry – Chicken Breeding. Congratulations to McKenna and Brooke!
We are very pleased to announce that Bruce C. Walters joined our firm as an associate in September. Bruce graduated from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law in May 2016. During law school, he worked as a Law Clerk for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 8 Office through the Mobile Source Enforcement Branch, and also served as an Article Editor on the Editorial Board of the University of Denver Water Law Review. Bruce’s focus in law school was on water rights, which he will expand upon at Dufford Waldeck.
Bruce grew up in Southern Colorado and completed a degree in History and Political Science at the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2013. As a native Coloradan, Bruce enjoys mountain biking and fly fishing, in addition to reading and spending time with friends and family. Outside of the office, Bruce can most likely be found climbing in Rifle or at any nearby climbing crag.