Furnace and Roof Law

Three Problems with Roof and Furnace Certifications

Real Estate Law Blog(Vol I.79)

by Craig Franklin Chambers, Esq. The Littleton Lawyer.

January 14, 2017

In my role as a real estate  attorney in Littleton, South Jeffco, Roxboough Park, Ken Caryl , Denver, Highlands Ranch,  and the surrounding areas, there are 3 reasons to be concerned with roof and furnace “certifications.”

If there is doubt as to the condition and the future longevity  of a component of a home–usually the roof or the furnace–a home inspector will suggest –or a lender, as a condition of the appraisal–will require–a  five year “certification” of that component.  The five year certification requirement is the general practice of lenders to require that a roof or a furnace have five years of life remaining in order to give the buyer a loan.

Licensed contractors charge to inspect either the roof or the furnace and certify that it has five years of life remaining.  The problem is that buyers are often misled to believe the certification is a warranty. While the buyer believes the “cert” is a warranty, the lender and the real estate brokers treat the certification as just another form for the file.

First, a “certification” is not a replacement for a home inspection. The Colorado Real Estate Commission-approved  contract for the purchase of a home allows the buyer to conduct a home inspection. Under the residential real estate contract, a buyer can have as many types of inspections as the buyer feels are appropriate given the age and condition of the home.

Second, in a residential real estate transaction, it is important to know what you are buying. A professional, experienced, and detached set of eyes is useful in determining if the buyer should proceed with the transaction. If the home fails inspection, the buyer’s recourse is to terminate the contract, waive the inspection defect, or renegotiate the real estate transaction.

Third, a certification is not a warranty. It is an opinion by a licensed contractor for a fee that the component is functioning properly on the day of inspection. Although the “certification” is for five years, the buyer has no recourse against the contractor should the component fail within five years.

The buyer should be aware that if a certification is required or suggested, the component is likely towards the end of its lifespan; the roof or furnace is probable, if not certain, to fail in the near future. The five year rule is merely a lender guideline.  A buyer is certainly free to re-negotiate with the seller for a new roof or furnace regardless of whether a contractor opines the roof has a remaining life of five years.

At the very least, the buyer should conduct further investigation and not rely on the certification as any type of warranty. And the buyer should go into a residential real estate transaction eyes open, fulling understanding all the terms of the real estate transaction.

How long does Divorce take?

How Long Will My Colorado Divorce Take?

Family Law Blog (Vol I.5) 

by Craig Franklin Chambers, Esq. The Littleton Lawyer.

January 14, 2017

As a marital law, family law and divorce lawyer practicing in Littleton, South Jeffco, Denver, Highlands Ranch, and the surrounding areas, this question often arises:  How long will my divorce take? The answer: it depends.

Under Colorado law, there is a mandatory ninety-one day waiting period from the time the  Petition for Dissolution is filed and served to the day the Judge is legally authorized to sign the final divorce decree.  The parties need to agree on all the terms of the divorce. All financial disclosures need to have been exchanged and if there are children, the court-mandated parenting class needs to be completed by both parents. As far as the final paperwork for a divorce, a Separation Agreement, an Affidavit of Non-appearance and a Decree for the court’s signature need to be submitted to the court.

The Decree is a standard form that recites the necessary facts to meet the jurisdictional requirements  for the divorce. It is the document that actually divorces the parties. The Affidavit of Non-Appearance is  a standard form signed under oath by each party that each has received full financial disclosure and that each understands and is satisfied with the terms of the agreement. Even if the divorce is non-contested, if minor children are involved, the Court may hold a brief “Non-Contested Permanent Orders Hearing” to make sure the parties are truly in agreement and that the terms are fair.

The term “Separation Agreement” is  confusing. Although the term “separation” does not necessarily denote finality, the Separation Agreement is the parties’ permanent agreement as to both financial and parenting time matters.  The term “Permanent Orders” refers to a final order adjudicated by the court after a hearing.The Separation Agreement refers to an agreement or agreements made by the parties without going to court.

The Separation Agreement is final, and financial issues such as spousal support and alimony, division of property, assets, and debts can only be modified in rare circumstances. Children’s issues of parenting time and child support can be more easily modified as the needs of the children evolve.

The Separation Agreement is attached to the Decree and becomes an order of the court. Its  terms are enforceable only by a contempt proceeding. Because it is a final adjudication of the division of the financial aspects of the marriage, it is crucial that each party fully agrees to and understands the terms of the Separation Agreement.

As for the timing of the divorce, after the case is filed, the court will hold an initial status conference and issue a case management order setting forth the court’s requirements for setting a court date.

Usually the case management order  requires full financial disclosures, completion of discovery, and a good faith  attempt at mediation before scheduling a Permanent Orders Hearing. In the interim, temporary issues such as who resides in the marital home, how the bills are handled, and where do the children reside, can be resolved by agreement or by a brief two-hour Temporary Orders Hearing. 

The time period for a contested divorce depends on how complicated the case is and how willing or unwilling the parties–and their lawyers are– to either prepare for or resolve the outstanding issues. Many of these issues are complicated by personal resentment and feelings of betrayal and guilt for the collapse of the marriage. The more issues left unresolved, the longer the hearing is required, and the fewer the dates that are available with the court’s docket.

In a contested divorce, unless the parties agree on all the outstanding issues, from the time the case is filed and served to a Permanent Orders hearing, usually takes about a year.

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