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April 19, 2024 02:40 PM UTC

Gov. Polis Signs Major Renter's Rights Reform Bill

  • 1 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Gov. Jared Polis (D).

A joint press release from the Colorado House and Senate Democrats a short while ago announces that Gov. Jared Polis has signed into law one of the biggest renter’s rights reforms in decades in our state, legislation cracking down on the conditions under which landlords can evict tenants who pay their rent and aren’t causing a nuisance:

Governor Jared Polis today signed legislation sponsored by Representative Javier Mabrey, Majority Leader Monica Duran, and Senators Julie Gonzales and Nick Hinrichsen, that will prevent evictions and keep Coloradans safely housed by outlining the conditions when landlords would have grounds to file for evictions or “no-fault” lease terminations.

“Our ‘For Cause Eviction’ legislation clearly defines in state law when and why landlords can evict tenants to prevent discriminatory and retaliatory evictions,” said Rep. Javier Mabrey, D-Denver. “This new law will create stability for landlords and renters because it does not prevent landlords from evicting tenants who have violated their lease or are behind on their rent, or where a landlord is getting out of the business. With this legislation becoming law, we will save Colorado families money and help keep roofs over their heads and roots in their community.”

“Too many families know firsthand the fear and uncertainty that comes with being evicted from their home, as well as all the difficult consequences that arise because of it,” said Senator Julie Gonzales, D-Denver. “We must do more to protect vulnerable renters from being evicted without reason. Our new ‘for cause’ eviction law will improve housing stability, prevent displacement, and keep more of our neighbors in their homes, and I am pleased to see it get signed into law.”

“Unnecessary and arbitrary evictions have devastating consequences for Coloradans, which is why we passed legislation to clearly outline reasons landlords can file for an eviction,” said Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “Evictions make renters more vulnerable to homelessness, and having an eviction on your record can make it nearly impossible to find housing. I’m excited that our legislation to prevent Coloradans from being displaced is now Colorado law so hardworking Coloradans can remain safely housed.”

“Imagine being a respectful neighbor, paying your rent on time, and doing everything right. But your roof leaks, your landlord won’t fix it, and you’re struggling to make ends meet. Do you report it to your local housing authority, so there will be accountability on the landlord to fix it? Or do you keep quiet, knowing that, if you do that, your landlord might not renew your lease? This is just one example of the many cases this bill addresses, to ensure that tenants who are doing the right things don’t lose their housing for arbitrary reasons. It creates stability and financial security for good tenants and their families,” said Senator Nick Hinrichsen, D-Pueblo.

Currently, Colorado law exposes renters to possible arbitrary, retaliatory or discriminatory evictions. The ‘For Cause Eviction’ legislation would prevent a landlord from evicting a tenant unless there is cause for eviction. Under HB24-1098, the reasons a landlord could lawfully evict a tenant include failure to pay rent in a timely manner, destruction of property, interfering with the right to quiet enjoyment, or a substantial violation of the rental agreement.

The law also includes allowable reasons for a no-fault lease non-renewal, including substantial repairs or conversion of a residential premises, and selling the property. Some exceptions to the ‘For Cause Eviction’ law include rentals within the landlord’s primary residence, short-term rentals, mobile homes and for employers who provide housing to employees.

Last year, a similar but somewhat broader in scope bill died in the Colorado Senate as the clock ran out at the end of the session. This year’s bill saw some amendments that addressed concerns of opponents, like allowing evictions of tents with a history of nonpayment of rent or causing a disturbance or damage. The measure is aimed primarily at slumlords who retaliate against complaints of maintenance or other legitimate issues with threats to not renew a resident’s lease. As Colorado Public Radio’s Andrew Kenney reports, breaking the logjam that arose last year on this and other housing issues is spurring hope that 2024 is going to be a big year for housing:

Democrats are taking the bill’s passage as a positive sign about the rest of their housing bills.

The party’s lawmakers are split into two major camps on housing: Some, like Mabrey and Sen. Julie Gonzales, are focused first and foremost on guaranteeing new protections for renters and building designated affordable housing. Others, like Polis, are most interested in loosening development rules to spur new construction of housing of all types…

Gonzales and Mabrey said since last year’s failure, they worked many hours to shore up support, including when Mabrey took House Speaker Julie McCluskie to observe proceedings at evictions court…

Meanwhile, a package of land-use bills backed by Polis is advancing to the Senate. Mabrey said that Democrats are determined not to repeat last year’s housing policy bust.

Along with Polis-backed bills promoting accessory dwelling units (ADUs), elimination of parking minimums, and transit-oriented development bills, Democrats are logging tangible accomplishments to show the voters on this vexing issue. None of these reforms will result in “Calcutta-style housing” or other outlandish predictions made by Republican opponents–a fact Coloradans will discover for themselves, and further inform their votes in November. And last but not least, it’s good politics for Gov. Polis, shoring up relations with his progressive base by showing he’s serious about helping renters along with everyone else in need of stable and affordable housing in Colorado.

These are the wins that no amount of partisan obstruction and naysaying can take away. It’s okay to be proud of them.

Comments

One thought on “Gov. Polis Signs Major Renter’s Rights Reform Bill

    • For over 30 years, my husband & I have provided a safe, well-maintained rental at well-below market rate. We provide maintenance on heating/cooling units, allow animals (providing safe, fenced yard with shade and free irrigation for the yard.) The rental gets improvements, paint, new applicances LONG BEFORE OUR HOME DOES.  We have had our rental damaged, inhabited by druggies, have been left with garbage/debts/damages and abandoned pets. Our friends ask us WHY we continue to offer ths rental as we are retirees on a fixed income.  We continued to provide this house as a rental because we strongly believe that people should be able to have a decent place to live and have pets. We had a straightforward, reasonable lease that I read ALL the way through with tenants so they understood it before signing… and they RARELY adhered to it.
    • Regrettably, this newly enacted HB24-1098 may cause us to convert this rental into a business space, and drastically change the lease language to protect our property and ourselves. In the very least we will raise the rent to cover the legal bills we have incurred re-writing a lease that satisfies the language in this bill.
    • HB24-1098 does NOT seem to apply to multiplexes with four units or more (read: large corporate rental owners) but it puts the individual with a rental or two at risk.
    • You cannot access your property without written notice 72 hours uin advance (alot of damage can be done to your property in 3 DAYS). 
    • The rent is not considered delinquent until is is 10 DAYS LATE (I wonder what waiver our mortgage company will give us if WE'RE 10 days late?)
    • If you rent to someone on assistance, you are required to go through mediation if you have a challenge, which can take months.
    • Even If you DO take a tenant to court and they are found at fault, the courts do NOT follow through to require them to pay restitution or court costs. 
    • I KNOW that there are inconsiderate landlords that are not fair with their tenants. (I know because WE WERE TENANTS for 15 YEARS!)
    • This bill pushes the decent, independent landlord to REALLY reconsider offering rentals AT ALL.

    If the intent is to foster more safe, affordable and reliably accessible rental housing this is NOT the way to foster that action.  Any private rental property owner- especially a trusting retiree on a fixed income- should seriously reconsider their options about their rental properties.  (The bill has a lot to be desired; it makes decent landlords vulnerable.)

    Those legislators that ramrodded this bill through should- AT THE VERY LEAST- BE REQUIRED TO CREATE A FREE SITE WHERE LANDLORDS AFFECTED BY HB24-1098 CAN GET QUESTIONS ANSWERED AND DEFINITIVE FREE LEGAL ADVICE TO CREATE LEASES THAT WORK UNDER HB24-1098 now that we're stuck with it.  

    Thank you, 

     E D Dunbar

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