State commission questions Housing Authority protocols with contracts

Unresolved legal matter with the GVRHA 

By Mark Reaman

The Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority (GVRHA) is dealing with the threat of an injunction filed against the organization by the Colorado Real Estate Commission, which comes under the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.

After an anonymous complaint was filed with the commission, the commission members voted unanimously at their April 6 meeting to file an injunction and refer the GVRHA to HUD (Housing and Urban Development). According to the commission meeting minutes, the commission stated that, “from approximately June of 2019 to February of 2021, the respondent acted as the Real Estate Broker on 21 separate transactions on behalf of a Housing Authority without a Colorado Real Estate Broker license. The respondent does not deny brokering the properties on behalf of the Housing Authority but believes they are exempt and plans to continue…”

The GVRHA said they are not aware that an injunction has actually been filed, just that the commission stated the intent to do so.

The Colorado state statute in question governs the division of real estate and licensing procedures and says that, “it is unlawful for any person, firm, partnership, limited liability company, association, or corporation to engage in the business or capacity of real estate broker in this state without first having obtained a license from the commission.” 

GVRHA executive director Jennifer Kermode is not a Colorado licensed real estate agent but has drawn up contracts when dealing with deed-restricted properties. The organization doesn’t believe the statute applies to public officials in the conduct of his or her official duties. The GVRHA charges a two-percent fee with the idea it saves the participants money making the affordable housing properties more affordable. The organization does not believe the statute applies to entities like the GVRHA.

Because the matter is still under legal review, the GVRHA would not go into detail about the situation. In response to a query by the Crested Butte News, the GVRHA sent a statement saying that, “The Division of Real Estate (DRE) has completed an investigation into transactional brokerage activities made by the GVRHA and has determined that there is a possible violation of section 12-10-202 C.R.S. As of this date, there is no formal court action that has been taken by the DRE. It is an unresolved legal matter at this point, thus the GVRHA will refrain from further comment until such time as our legal counsel acknowledges that we should.”

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