Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Colorado Empty Disclosure Legislation Remains Popular (HOA's not exception)

Our Colorado legislature will pass more "disclosure" laws in 2014.  Disclosure laws are intended to ensure all information about a transaction is exposed guaranteeing the parties involved in the event are not deceived and have all information to make a sound decision.  In law making, however, disclosure Bills can present a false sense of accomplishment.  They appear forceful, problem solving and protective of rights but in reality are meant to preclude change.  They are too often the result of Bill sponsors caving into interest group pressures to remove that which could affect change or provide a means of enforcement.  Disclosure Bills are more often than not ornamental, administrative, and provide a false sense of accomplishment.  These laws require documenting the problem to be solved but do little to end abusive practices. 
Two Bills, HB 14-1254 and 14-1285 (and more to come), regarding HOA Transfer Fees and Tax Preparer respectively, exemplify the illusion of effectiveness through disclosure.  Both Bills require fees to be disclosed but there is little expectation that documenting abuse or deceit will mitigate abusive practices.  Think in terms of disclosure on the back of a ticket to an event, credit card disclosures on interest charges and privacy act data usage, or those unintelligible real estate purchase contract documents that “disclose” only what the person writing the documents understands.  Has disclosure helped the consumer?  Then think about how you pursue your rights when that which has been disclosed is violated?  Really, can we afford an expensive court case?  Disclosure Bills don’t include enforcement provisions (purposely!). 
Legislators can feel good and boast about their vote for “disclosure” but such Bills change little if anything.   

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