GVRHA ready to defend executive director in court

Colorado Real Estate Commission challenging process

[ by Mark Reaman ]

The board of directors of the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority (GVRHA) has voted to defend executive director Jennifer Kermode in Gunnison District Court over a complaint for injunctive relief filed by the Colorado Real Estate Commission.

The complaint seeks to enjoin Kermode from engaging in activity which the commission alleges to be the unlicensed practice of a real estate broker.

According to the state commission’s meeting minutes from April 6, 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 and Kermode contend that the activities in question are exempt under the Real Estate Licensing Act because such activities have been performed by Kermode in the normal course of her regular duties as a public official with the GVRHA.

The Colorado state statute in question governs the division of real estate and licensing procedures and states 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.”

Kermode is not a Colorado licensed real estate agent but has drawn up contracts when dealing with local deed-restricted properties. The organization doesn’t believe the statute applies to public officials in the conduct or his or her official duties. The GVRHA charges a 2 percent fee with the idea that it saves the participants money, making the affordable housing properties more affordable. The organization does not believe the statute applies to the organizations like the GVRHA.

In a recent press release, the GVRHA contends that, “managing the buying and selling of deed restricted properties is within the boundaries of the GVRHA and is a significantly important function of the agency. By being intimately involved in a sale transaction, the GVRHA can ensure that a property transfer complies with the deed restriction requirements for posting a property for sale, offers are accepted only from a qualified buyer, a sale price does not exceed the maximum allowed and no additional financial incentives are offered to a seller. The deed restrictions present an additional layer of complexity to an already complex matter and need to be handled with precision and transparency to avoid costly unintended consequences.”

Fees received for these services go directly to the GVRHA general fund and can be used to bring new programs to the residents of the Gunnison Valley such as first-time homebuyer education, foreclosure counseling and a modified down payment assistance program.

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