Colorado Democrats hold the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Governor’s office. Many of these legislators have Progressive, pro-tenant agendas. Legislators are also looking for ways to increase affordable and attainable housing. These items and more are results from the Colorado legislative session earlier this year and they affect Colorado landlords and tenants. Fortunately, they dwarf in comparison to the Housing Bills that passed in 2018.
Springman, Braden, Wilson & Pontius, PC, is a landlord tenant law firm specializing in eviction and collection services for landlords and property management companies. Earlier this year, the firm summarized new Colorado landlord and tenant laws:
New Housing Laws Affecting Colorado Landlords and Tenants in 2018
Landlords are now required to give a twenty-one days’ notice to terminate a month to month tenant, unless the lease requires a longer notice period. They must also provide a copy of the signed lease to the tenant within seven days of collecting their signature. Landlords must provide a written receipt to the tenant for any payment made in person with cash or money orders.
Local Housing Ordinances Affect Colorado Landlords and Tenants
Local ordinances also passed in the last twelve months. Both Denver and Boulder enacted Source of Income protections. It is now a Fair Housing violation for a landlords to inquire or discriminate against an applicant or tenant based on where their income comes from. Of course, that income must be legal.
Your application and screening process must consider all sources of legal income, not just wages. Proof of income can be a pay stubs and/or Social Security, disability, Section 8, student loans, VASH, CAP, TRUA, Brothers Redevelopment, or working within the marijuana industry.
New Section 8 Rules Affecting Colorado Landlords and Tenants
In the City of Boulder, a landlord may not refuse to accept Section 8 vouchers. In Denver, a landlord must also accept Section 8 vouchers unless the landlord has only one single family rental in the County of Denver. Boulder also passed an Immigration Status ordinance. Landlords in the city of Boulder cannot inquire or refuse to rent to an applicant who is not a citizen or is here illegally. They must consider a long list of ID types to screen an applicant who may not have a social security number.
New Housing Laws Affecting Colorado Landlords and Tenants in 2019
HB19 – 1118 Time Period to Cure
Effective May 20, 2019, landlords are required to give ten-day’s notice for rent compliance notices, replacing the previous three-day notice. There are a few exceptions written into the law and they are fully explained right here.
HB19 – 1106 Rental Application Fees and Screening
As of August 2, 2019, this new law prohibits residential landlords from charging a rental application fee that exceeds their actual cost, and the entire amount of the fee has to cover the landlord’s cost to process a rental application. And, landlords are required to refund any unused amount within twenty days of move-out.`
Landlords can look back seven years for rental or credit history from the date of application and five years on criminal convictions. Landlords must screen people on a first come, first serve basis. Upon screening, the first person to apply and pay the application fee, upon approval, must be offered the rental unit. The old days of screening three people and taking the ‘best’ person are no longer allowed in the rental business.
HB19 -1328 Bed Bugs
Effective January 1, 2020, this new law will exclude Bed Bugs from the Colorado Warranty of Habitability. It will require tenants to promptly notify landlords in writing if they know or reasonably suspect their unit contains Bed Bugs. Landlords must now provide 48-hours written notice prior to entering for inspection or treatment. And, the unit must be professionally inspected within 96 hours. The new law requires that landlords pay for pest mitigation within five business days of tenant notification.
Additional New Housing Laws Affecting Colorado Landlords and Tenants in 2019
HB19 – 1170 Warranty of Habitability; SB19 – 180 Eviction Legal Defense Fund; HB19 – 1189 Restrictions on Garnishments; and HB19 – 1309 Mobile Home Parks. These laws, along with details of the previously mentioned 2019 laws are available here.
Interpreting these laws can be confusing to Landlords and Tenants alike. A professional property management company like Performance Property Management has professional staff up to speed on all Colorado landlord and tenant laws and how they affect all parties. They save landlords time and stress in rolling out the necessary changes and effectively communicate these changes to your tenants.