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Published in the February 14, 2019, edition of the Lyons Recorder

COMMENTARY: What’s the future of affordable housing in Lyons?)

Bills in state legislature could affect tenants and landlords

by Amy Reinholds

Two bills in the Colorado state legislature this term aim to change some details of how landlords and tenants relate. Could these bills help renters have more stability in their living situations?

HB19-1118, sponsored by Representative Dominique Jackson (D-Aurora), Representative Rochelle Galindo (D-Greeley) and Senator Angela Williams (D-Denver), requires a landlord or property manager to provide a tenant 14-days notice (instead of the 3-day notice in current state law), to cure a violation for unpaid rent or for the first violation of any other condition or covenant of a lease agreement, other than a substantial violation, before the landlord can terminate the lease and initiate eviction proceedings.

Current law requires a landlord to provide a tenant 3 days to cure a violation for unpaid rent or any other condition or covenant of a lease agreement, other than a substantial violation, before the landlord can initiate eviction proceedings based on that unpaid rent or other violation. Current law also requires 3 days notice prior to a tenancy being terminated for a subsequent violation of a condition or covenant of a lease agreement.

The bill was introduced into the state legislature on Jan. 6. You can read more about the bill and follow its status at leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb19-1118.

Resolving issues before they become a problem and result in an eviction is a recommended path that organizations such as Neighbor to Neighbor and Princeton University Professor Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, have recommended. You can read more at “Evicted” author Matthew Desmond advises expanding housing vouchers.

The Colorado Association of Realtors seems to disagree that HB19-118 is a way to prevent evictions, according to association’s Capitol Connection online newsletter on Jan. 25: “By increasing the timeframe to remedy a violation to 14 days, landlords would lose the flexibility to work with their tenant under grace periods to find a solution together before moving down the path of eviction… Because there are many individuals, agencies and steps involved in an eviction proceeding, a landlord would have to start the process earlier than they would have originally under current statutory requirements.”

Another bill, HB19-1106, sponsored by Representative Brianna Titone (D-Arvada), Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D-Denver), and Senator Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood), addresses possible high costs when tenants are searching for places to rent and paying application fees.

The bill states that landlords can charge prospective tenants rental application fees only if they use the entire amount of the fee to cover their costs in processing the rental application. Landlords must provide a disclosure of their anticipated expenses or a receipt that itemizes the expenses that the application fee covers. According to the bill, a landlord also may not charge a prospective tenant a rental application fee that is in a different amount than a rental application fee charged to another prospective tenant who applies to rent the same dwelling unit (or any other dwelling unit offered by the landlord, if the landlord offers more than one unit for rent). It also states that the landlord cannot search rental history or credit history beyond the 7 prior years of the date of the application.

According to the Colorado House Democrats website, “More than a dozen states have enacted policies that set reasonable terms for the collection and retention of rental application fees. For hardworking individuals or families struggling to find housing, the high cost of non-refundable application fees can easily exhaust their limited financial resources, sometimes making it impossible for them to pay a security deposit or the first month’s rent.”

The House Business Affairs and Labor Committee approved the bill on Feb. 5 with a vote of 7-4, and the bill now heads to the House floor, scheduled for Feb. 11. You can read more about the bill and follow its status at leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb19-1106.


This column is a commentary (opinion column) in the Lyons Recorder. For a history, you can read previous columns from both Lyons-area newspapers at lyonscoloradonews.wordpress.com. If you have any questions, comments, or complaints about this column, please contact me directly at areinholds @hotmail.com.