Letter: Lawmakers, don't bend to condo developers' pressure
To the editor:
The "Notes" article in Friday's Star Tribune Business section swallows and regurgitates whole a harmful myth being promulgated by self-serving builders and developers: That statutory protections granted buyers of condominiums are constraining construction of new condominiums.
What explodes that myth is one simple fact: all of the tens of thousands of condominium units built during the last 34 years in Minnesota were built with these same statutory warranties in place.
Over-supply from the pre-2007 real estate boom, coupled with the lack of market demand, has deterred condominium construction, not these consumer protections. This myth is being used by well-funded lobbyists of builders and developers to convince your state legislators to water down condominium owners' rights.
Call your legislator, and demand that they resist.
The article also falsely states that only condominiums have a 10-year period during which builders remain responsible for their work. This statute, Minnesota Statute 541.051, applies to all construction, whether residential or commercial.
Finally, it displays a bias too often seen: only quote developers; do not seek opposing opinions from affected homeowners. The real fear developers have is that, through strength in numbers, homeowner associations can afford to buy adequate legal help to assert their needed statutory protections when their homes have been badly built.
Having spent 30 years fighting on behalf of homeowners to get money to them to pay for fixing their homes, I know that who actually pays these claims are the insurance companies for the contractors and subcontractors. It has little or no impact upon a developer financially, and thus, is not a factor toward whether to build.
Einar Hanson is a partner at Strobel & Hanson with offices in Red Wing and Hudson.