DDP finds Denver is on the right track with its recovery, with one key exception

Pedestrian traffic and residential growth show signs of positive movement.

Development, storefronts, pedestrians and residents are slowly returning to Denver’s downtown core at pre-pandemic levels, but one chink in the armor remains ahead of the city’s recovery.


Stubborn downtown office vacancy rates reached a new high in the third quarter at a rate not seen in decades, according to the Downtown Denver Partnership’s 2023 State of Downtown Denver report. That number comes from CoStar data, but CBRE reports the number is closer to 30%.


“The greatest vulnerability that downtown Denver faces today — which is very true of every major metro and every downtown across the country — is commercial office [market],” DDP President and CEO Kourtny Garrett told the Denver Business Journal in an exclusive interview and sneak peek at the report.


Average daily pedestrian counts downtown are at 225,000 people per day, just 25,000 shy of averages in 2019. Big events have drawn up to 300,000, and nights and weekends sometimes exceed 2019 levels.

At the same time, the city center experienced residential growth of 1,000 more people this year and is on track to reach or even surpass a projected 40,000 people by 2028, according to the report. About 3,000 residential units are currently under construction to support growth in that sector.

Having residents and foot traffic has contributed to sustained interest from food and beverage and other businesses in the area, Garrett said. More than 27 new ground-floor businesses opened this year, including 17 new bars and restaurants, and the DDP counts 14 projects under construction at the end of 2023 that total $1.37 billion in development.

Long-term success for the city center, though, means ensuring a holistic and multidimensional downtown, Garrett said. Leaving out the workplace is not an option.


From a recruitment standpoint, Denver and Colorado as a whole continue to be very attractive markets, according to the report. The problem stems not from fewer companies choosing Denver, but choosing to relocate or make any changes to their office space, she said.

“For us, it’s a multipronged approach of business recruitment, business retention,” Garrett said, and finding other creative ways to make downtown a destination.


Adaptive reuse is an option that many in the city continue to explore. Adding residents will ultimately keep more workplaces in the area, Garrett said.


“If we can continue to build this place where people want to live, it will then also be a place where people want to work,” Garrett said. “When you have a strong residential population, it naturally begets really beautiful places.”


Depending on the metrics used, Denver appears to be ahead or in the middle of the pack in its recovery compared to similar cities in the U.S.


DDP’s rankings place Denver’s downtown ahead of many peers in job growth, geographic inclusion and fostering business for women entrepreneurs. ​​The downtown employment base is now just 300 jobs shy of 2019 levels, according to the report.


Tech-related jobs account for a larger share of the area’s worker base, which could work against some efforts to boost weekday traffic as they are more likely to allow for remote work.

Garrett said the DDP also isn’t wearing rose-colored glasses about a tight lending market that could keep a lid on construction.

Still, she points to several game-changing projects underway in the area that indicate a sustained upswing: Ball Arena and Auraria Campus redevelopmentRiver Mile, and 16th Street Mall renovations.


“You don’t see that type of transformational development happening in a lot of cities,” Garrett said. “There is confidence in the market to say that these projects haven’t fallen by the wayside over the course of the last three years.”

Analisa Romano
By Analisa Romano – Reporter, Denver Business Journal

Rent remains high, but more properties offer incentives

November 20, 2023

New construction surge prompts landlords and property managers to provide more perks

SEATTLENov. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Rental concessions—offers meant to entice tenants, such as free months of rent or free parking—are at their highest level in more than two years despite strong renter demand, Zillow’s latest data shows. That’s because property managers are now likely competing for tenants, as new, primarily upscale buildings from the recent construction boom enter the rental market.

About 30% of rental listings on Zillow advertised concessions in October, a surge that signifies a notable shift in the rental market. Within the past five years, concessions reached a peak in February 2021, with 36.7% of rentals offering incentives, coinciding with low renter demand during the pandemic. Those concessions then dropped as far as 19.4% in July 2022. However, the current rise comes as typical rent prices are nearly 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels, and annual rent growth just ticked back up(opens in a new window) after nearly two years of slowing down.


“The pandemic era’s increase in concessions was a direct response to decreased renter demand. Currently, we’re witnessing a different scenario where the demand for rental housing is high, but there’s been a notable rise in supply,” said Anushna Prakash, an economic research data scientist at Zillow. “To differentiate themselves from newer, potentially more amenity-rich apartment buildings, property managers are stepping up their game, offering more incentives to attract potential renters with a broader range of choices.”


Nationwide increase in concessions

Zillow data shows an astonishing 43 of the nation’s largest 50 metropolitan areas have seen a rise in rental concessions compared to last year. The most deal sweeteners are found in Salt Lake City, Utah, and San Jose, California, where more than half the rentals listed on Zillow in October advertised concessions.


Construction boom and its effects

This trend is especially pronounced in metro areas experiencing a construction boom. According to Fannie Mae’s Mid-2023 Multifamily Construction Update(opens in a new window) , markets such as Washington, D.C., Dallas and Austin are seeing more new developments, with Dallas and Austin having 74,000 and 66,000 new units, respectively, either recently completed or underway .


Zillow’s data reveals a similar upswing in concessions in those metros and others, including Phoenix and Atlanta, which are also among the top markets for new multifamily construction. This correlation highlights how the influx of new apartments is likely prompting housing providers to offer incentives to attract renters.

10 Metro Areas with the Largest Share of Rental Concessions

Source: Zillow data


Diverse concession strategies across metros


Conversely, metro areas such as New Orleans (9%), Providence (14%), Miami (14%) and New York (15%) observed the lowest concession rates in October. This varied landscape suggests that property managers across the country are exploring different strategies as they gauge the effectiveness of concessions before potentially adjusting rental prices.


Zillow’s research(opens in a new window), echoing the sentiments of economists and housing experts, highlights the fact that new construction and zoning reform are pivotal in enhancing housing affordability. The current trend in concessions, likely fueled by the spike in multifamily construction, is an interesting twist in the quest for affordability. It remains to be seen if the rise in concessions will translate to a significant drop in rent growth.


Zillow provides a clear and user-friendly platform for both housing providers and renters. Property managers can easily list concessions for their properties, while renters can find all available offers under the “Special Offers” tab on participating building detail pages, enabling them to make well-informed housing decisions.


About Zillow Group
Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z and ZG) is reimagining real estate to make home a reality for more and more people. As the most visited real estate website in the United States, Zillow and its affiliates help people find and get the home they want by connecting them with digital solutions, great partners, and easier buying, selling, financing and renting experiences.


Zillow Group’s affiliates, subsidiaries and brands include Zillow®; Zillow Premier Agent®; Zillow Home Loans℠; Trulia®; Out East®; StreetEasy®; HotPads®; ShowingTime+℠; and Spruce®.


All marks herein are owned by MFTB Holdco, Inc., a Zillow affiliate. Zillow Home Loans, LLC is an Equal Housing Lender, NMLS #10287 ( © 2023 MFTB Holdco, Inc., a Zillow affiliate.

Is Your House the Top Thing on a Buyer’s Wish List this Holiday Season?

This time every year, homeowners who are planning to move have a decision to make: sell now or wait until after the holidays? Some sellers with homes already on the market may even remove their listing until the new year.

But the truth is, many buyers want to purchase a home for the holidays, and your house might be just what they’re looking for. As an article from Fortune Builders explains:

“ . . . while a majority of people take a step back from the real estate market during the holiday months, you may find when the temperature drops, your potential for a great real estate deal starts to rise.”

To help prove that point, here are four reasons you shouldn’t wait to sell your house.


1. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. While a few buyers might opt to delay their moving plans until January, others may need to move now because something in their life has changed. The buyers who look for homes at this time of year are usually motivated to make their move happen and are eager to buy. A recent article from Investopedia says:

“Anyone shopping for a new home between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is likely going to be a serious buyer. Putting your home on the market at this time of year and attracting a serious buyer can often result in a quicker sale.”

2. While the supply of homes for sale has increased a little bit lately, overall inventory is still lower than it was before the pandemic. What does that mean for you? If you work with an agent to price your house at market value, it could still sell quickly because today’s buyers are craving more options – and your home may be exactly what they’re searching for.

3. You can determine the days and times that are most convenient for you for home showings. That can help you minimize disruptions to your own schedule, which can be especially important during this busy time of year. Plus, you may find buyers are more flexible on when they’ll tour a house this time of year because they have more time off from work around the holidays.

4. And finally, homes decorated for the holidays appeal to many buyers. For those buyers, it’s easy to picture gathering with their loved ones in the home and making memories of their own. An article on selling at this time of year offers this advice:

“If you’re selling around a holiday and have decorations up, make sure they accent—not overpower—a room. Less is more.

Bottom Line

There are plenty of good reasons to put your house on the market during the holiday season. Connect with a real estate agent and see if it’s the right time for you to sell.

Keeping Current Matters

Real Estate Investing: How To Find A Partner For Your Business Plan


If you know what type of asset class you want to invest in and have found an opportunity, you’ll want to put together a business plan. This can include where the property is located, how you plan to improve it, and details related to the project. Once you have formulated the business plan, you might consider bringing in a partner—especially if you don’t have experience in real estate investing.


Since commercial properties typically have starting prices in the millions of dollars, new investors frequently struggle to gather the needed capital to make an acquisition. Rather than trying to figure it out alone, bringing on a great partner can help resolve these initial funding obstacles. If you connect with someone who has a track record of accomplishments and relationships with investors and lenders, it could be the perfect way to step into the game. Moreover, you’ll benefit from their experience and can pick up insight as you go through the investment process.


Use these guidelines as you search for a partner who can help you break in and achieve more in the commercial real estate space.


Research Noteworthy Players

Look to see which investors, operators, and developers are actively carrying out projects that are similar to yours. Check online, read trade publications, and review what’s trading. Make a note of anyone you see who is already doing the type of project you want to emulate.


Oftentimes an established professional who is doing a larger project might be interested in the idea of bringing on a junior partner to do the day-to-day business on smaller deals. Suppose you’re looking to convert mixed use properties in Brooklyn. Maybe you’re considering a 10-unit multifamily with a store. There could be a developer who is doing a project involving 100 units with five stores. You could ask if they would consider partnering with you for a smaller arrangement. Offer to take care of the daily tasks and help with what’s needed.

So, what are these Future-Focused Fundamentals? Let’s explore a few key pillars:

Leverage Your Deal Team

Reach out to professionals you’ve worked with, including your attorney, mortgage broker, and investment sales broker. Tell them you’re looking for a partner for a potential project. Check if they have other clients or know developers who might be interested in hearing about your business plan. Your deal team could provide the inner track to get you connected with the right person.


Get Involved In Organizations


Many cities have real estate associations—check your area to see what’s available at a local level. Look for national organizations and tap resources like Bisnow to see how you can connect. I helped found the Colgate Real Estate Council at my alma mater as a place where alumni, students, parents, faculty, and staff can connect with others in the real estate industry. Check alumni groups from your years of education, as they may open doors and lead to potential partners. Also review your social media channels and groups—sites like LinkedIn can be a powerful tool. Start following influencers who share information and updates on commercial real estate in your area; also reach out to others who share your same interests.


Meet In Person


While it’s easy to connect digitally today, there’s really no substitute for meeting someone in person and getting a feel for them. You’ll be able to identify what their values are and how they will act as a partner. You want to understand their traits and skills so you know exactly who you’ll be working with as you go into a deal. While expertise and a history of high-performing projects plays a role, the way they achieved their success is far more important.

When I started in real estate, I built a couple of strong relationships that have lasted for decades. In fact, throughout my 25-year career I have relied on these personal connections, as they have led to some of the best long-term deals that have outperformed the market. As you move ahead, choose a partner wisely—if done well, you can create a working relationship that is maintained in deal after deal.

Future Focused Fundamentals

Posted By: Erica Sanchez  Articles, Technology

In an era dominated by technological advancements and digital transformation, the phrase “Back to the Basics” has emerged as a rallying cry within the multifamily housing industry. This movement reflects a growing realization that, amidst the rapid evolution of tools and systems, some core principles and values may have been inadvertently sidelined. As the multifamily landscape continues to evolve, there’s a renewed emphasis on reestablishing these essential building blocks, with a modern twist: enter “Future Focused Fundamentals.”

But what exactly do we mean by “back to the basics”? At its core, this movement seeks to reconnect the industry with the fundamentals that define the multifamily experience. It’s
about rediscovering the essence of what we do beyond the allure of cutting-edge technologies. It’s about putting the resident experience front and center, from the moment
they start their journey trying to find a home to the day they embark on their next adventure.


Enter “Future Focused Fundamentals.” This innovative approach combines the timeless principles that underpin multifamily living with a forward-looking perspective that leverages the power of technology. It’s not about rejecting progress; it’s about embracing it in a way that enhances, rather than detracts from, the human touch.

So, what are these Future Focused Fundamentals? Let’s explore a few key pillars:

Personalized Experiences


In an age of data analytics and AI-driven insights, personalization has taken on new dimensions. Leveraging technology to better understand residents’ preferences, habits, and needs allows property managers to curate experiences that feel tailor-made. From suggesting nearby amenities to anticipating maintenance requests, personalization enhances resident satisfaction and fosters a sense of belonging.

Sustainability & Well Being


As society grapples with environmental concerns and well-being, multifamily living can play a pivotal role. By integrating sustainable practices and wellness initiatives, properties can create a living environment that resonates with residents’ values and promotes a healthier lifestyle.


Enhanced Communication


While digital communication is now the norm, it’s crucial not to lose sight of the art of effective conversation. Combining cutting-edge communication tools with genuine human interaction can create a seamless resident journey. Virtual tours and chatbots can coexist harmoniously with open houses and face-to-face interactions, providing a wellrounded

Community Building


Technology can be a powerful enabler of community, connecting residents through online platforms and shared experiences. However, the heart of community is built through real connections and shared spaces. Future Focused Fundamentals embrace both virtual and physical aspects of community, fostering relationships that transcend the digital realm.

Lifelong Learning


Education is a cornerstone of personal growth. Multifamily communities can provide opportunities for residents to engage in continuous learning, whether through workshops, seminars, or curated resources. By promoting lifelong learning, properties become more than just places to live; they become spaces for personal development.

In essence, Future Focused Fundamentals represent a conscious shift towards a holistic approach to multifamily living. It’s about recognizing that technology is a tool, not a substitute for genuine connection. By reimagining the basics with a future focused mindset, the industry can embrace innovation while staying grounded in the values that make multifamily living truly exceptional. 

In conclusion, “Back to the Basics” has taken on new meaning within the multifamily housing sector. The concept has evolved into “Future Focused Fundamentals,” a harmonious blend of timeless principles and cutting-edge technologies. By placing the resident experience at the forefront and leveraging technology to enhance, rather than overshadow, human interaction, the industry can usher in a new era of multifamily living that is both innovative and deeply meaningful. As the journey continues, embracing these Future Focused Fundamentals will undoubtedly shape the multifamily landscape for years to come.

Fannie Mae Updates Minimum Down Payment to 5% for 2-4 Unit Properties on 11/18/2023

Homeownership is a dream shared by many, and for those considering investing in 2-4 unit properties, this dream just became more accessible. Fannie Mae, one of the nation’s leading providers of mortgage financing, will update its guidelines on November 18th, 2023 to make it easier for buyers to secure financing for 2-4 unit properties. The key change is a reduction in the minimum down payment requirement to just 5%, making it more affordable for aspiring homeowners and investors to venture into the multi-unit property market.


Understanding Fannie Mae’s Update


Fannie Mae, a government-sponsored entity that plays a crucial role in the U.S. housing market, has traditionally had varying down payment requirements for different types of properties. The standard down payment for a single-family home has typically been 3%, while larger down payments were required for multi-unit properties. With the recent update, buyers can now take advantage of a more affordable 5% down payment for 2-4 unit properties.


Benefits of the New 5% Minimum Down Payment:


  1. Enhanced Affordability: The reduced minimum down payment significantly enhances the affordability of 2-4 unit properties. This change allows a broader range of individuals and families to explore the advantages of multi-unit ownership, such as rental income and property appreciation.

  2. Diversified Income Streams: Owning a multi-unit property can be a strategic financial move. With the lower down payment requirement, investors have an opportunity to diversify their income streams through rental income from multiple units within the same property.

  3. Property Investment: The updated guidelines are particularly advantageous for real estate investors. With a lower upfront cost, investors can allocate their capital to other investment opportunities while enjoying the potential for income and property value growth.

  4. Housing Flexibility: Multi-unit properties provide homeowners with the flexibility to live in one unit and rent out the others, effectively offsetting their mortgage expenses. The reduced down payment makes it more feasible for homeowners to explore this housing arrangement.

  5. Supporting Affordable Housing: Fannie Mae’s update aligns with broader efforts to increase affordable housing options in the United States. By reducing the minimum down payment, more individuals and families can enter the housing market and access quality multi-unit properties.


Important Considerations


While the 5% down payment requirement is an exciting development for many, it’s essential to keep several factors in mind:


  1. Creditworthiness: Lenders will still assess your creditworthiness to determine your eligibility for a mortgage. A strong credit profile remains crucial.

  2. Income and Debt: Lenders will also consider your income and existing debt when evaluating your eligibility and determining the loan amount you qualify for.

  3. Property Eligibility: Not all multi-unit properties may be eligible for this lower down payment option. Ensure that the property you’re interested in meets Fannie Mae’s criteria.


Fannie Mae’s updated 5% minimum down payment requirement for 2-4 unit properties is a promising development for aspiring homeowners and investors. It offers enhanced affordability and opens doors to the world of multi-unit property ownership. This change reflects a broader effort to make homeownership and real estate investment more accessible, contributing to a more diverse and inclusive housing market in the United States. If you’re considering a multi-unit property purchase, it’s an excellent time to explore your options and make your homeownership dreams a reality.

The Return of Normal Seasonality for Home Price Appreciation

If you’re thinking of making a move, one of the biggest questions you have right now is probably: what’s happening with home prices? Despite what you may be hearing in the news, nationally, home prices aren’t falling. It’s just that price growth is beginning to normalize. Here’s the context you need to really understand that trend.


In the housing market, there are predictable ebbs and flows that happen each year. It’s called seasonality. Spring is the peak homebuying season when the market is most active. That activity is typically still strong in the summer but begins to wane as the cooler months approach. Home prices follow along with seasonality because prices appreciate most when something is in high demand.


That’s why there’s a reliable long-term home price trend. The graph below uses data from Case-Shiller to show typical monthly home price movement from 1973 through 2022 (not adjusted, so you can see the seasonality):

As the data shows, at the beginning of the year, home prices grow, but not as much as they do in the spring and summer markets. That’s because the market is less active in January and February since fewer people move in the cooler months. As the market transitions into the peak homebuying season in the spring, activity ramps up, and home prices go up a lot more in response. Then, as fall and winter approach, activity eases again. Price growth slows, but still typically appreciates.


After several unusual ‘unicorn’ years, today’s higher mortgage rates helped usher in the first signs of the return of seasonality. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains:


High mortgage rates have slowed additional price surges, with monthly increases returning to regular seasonal averages. In other words, home prices are still growing but are in line with historic seasonal expectations.”


Why This Is So Important to Understand


In the coming months, you’re going to see the media talk more about home prices. In their coverage, you’ll likely see industry terms like these:

  • Appreciation: when prices increase.
  • Deceleration of appreciation: when prices continue to appreciate, but at a slower or more moderate pace.
  • Depreciation: when prices decrease.

Don’t let the terminology confuse you or let any misleading headlines cause any unnecessary fear. The rapid pace of home price growth the market saw in recent years was unsustainable. It had to slow down at some point and that’s what we’re starting to see – deceleration of appreciation, not depreciation. 


Remember, it’s normal to see home price growth slow down as the year goes on. And that definitely doesn’t mean home prices are falling. They’re just rising at a more moderate pace.


Bottom Line


While the headlines are generating fear and confusion on what’s happening with home prices, the truth is simple. Home price appreciation is returning to normal seasonality. If you have questions about what’s happening with prices in your local area, connect with a real estate professional.


Keeping Current Matters

Freddie Mac Apartment Investment Market Index Rises Again in Q2

The latest index reading shows signs that it is ‘rebounding.’

The Freddie Mac Multifamily Apartment Investment Market Index (AIMI) rose by 5.1% in the second quarter. This was the second consecutive quarterly increase of AIMI nationwide and in all 25 markets.


On a year-over-year basis, the index saw a decrease nationwide and in 23 markets. However, the year-over-year drop of -2.6% was significantly smaller than that of the prior quarter.


“This quarter’s results show that AIMI is rebounding,” said Sara Hoffmann, director of multifamily research at Freddie Mac. “The index experienced a sharp annual decline in each of the prior four quarters, but a pullback in property prices and moderating mortgage rates are helping AIMI regain its footing. Over the past quarter, the index increased due to the confluence of net operating income (NOI) growth, property price depreciation, and lower mortgage rates relative to recent trends.”


The AIMI combines multifamily rental income growth, property price growth, and mortgage rates to provide a single index measuring market investment conditions. An increase from one quarter to the next implies an increasingly favorable environment for investment opportunities, while a decline suggests attractive investment opportunities are becoming more difficult to find compared with the prior quarter.


According to Freddie Mac, the quarter’s national growth rate is the highest since the third quarter of 2019. Quarter over quarter, NOI was up in the nation and most markets, with no markets deeply negative. Phoenix was the lowest performer at -0.8%. Property prices also dropped in the nation and all but two markets—Miami and Nashville, Tennessee—which saw minimal growth of 0.1% and 0.5%, respectively. In addition, mortgage rates dropped by 20 basis points, the largest quarterly bump seen since the first quarter of 2020.


Year over year, NOI growth was mixed. It saw a national growth rate of 1.8% but a decline in nine markets. Property prices decreased for all markets, contracting nationally by 10.1%, the second annual decline since the second quarter of 2010. In addition, mortgage rates rose by 131 basis points, which is high for historical standards but lower than the prior quarter’s 246-basis-point annual increase.

The Secret of Winning More Lease-Ups

Supercharge resident move-ins with strategies right for the times.


The number is remarkable: Today more than 80% of the U.S. population shops online, or about 263 million Americans.


It’s a number very few multifamily owners and operators will dispute, especially when 63% of renters say a virtual walkthrough is all that’s needed for a rental decision. An in-person visit? Who has time for that?


How you position and market your properties on the mobile, tablet, and laptop have never been more important. Renters expect a one-stop, mobile-friendly online experience. It’s up to your website to deliver the goods with as little friction as possible.


Joe Settimi has some ideas along those lines.


The senior vice president of renters solutions at Assurant, a Fortune 500 company, knows what works at lease sign-up time. Take two early decisions lease-minded consumers face—renters insurance and the security deposit.


Seamless Insurance


“Consumers expect a seamless experience from move-in to move-out. It can’t involve signing and dropping off physical copies – or even emails with attachments going back and forth for that matter,” explains the multifamily industry professional. “Frankly, property management companies don’t have time for that, either.”


To illustrate, Settimi cites renters insurance. “The majority of our clients now require residents have a policy,” he says. Even if it isn’t required, many third-party experts urge renters to protect themselves with one.


The smart play is to bundle low-cost personal property and liability coverage with the lease. Renters appreciate the easy convenience, demonstrated by the fact nearly 3 out of 4 renters are more likely to purchase a policy that ties it all together.


“Think about game players, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and TVs,” Settimi asks. “Many renters have a big investment to protect.” Bundling the insurance also represents advantages for the property manager, which may include tracking resident compliance and ancillary income. “Our Cover360 insurance solution has really taken off in the last couple of years. It checks all boxes for the renter as well as the leasing team.”


Security Deposit Alternatives


Perhaps the biggest gateway to a frictionless move-in experience is the security deposit. Lowering the cost of move-in is obviously in a renter’s self-interest. Multiplying the number of leasing prospects doesn’t hurt the owner/operator, either. That one-two benefit helps explain the popularity of deposit alternatives, like:


  • Reduced deposit requirements
  • Security deposit insurance
  • Installment plans
  • Damage or lease insurance
  • Surety bonds
  • Pay per damage


Interestingly, the surety bond—a way to safeguard the landlord’s financial risk with fewer out-of-pocket renter dollars—earns a big thumbs-up (71%) in a nationwide poll of renters.

Assurant’s FlexDeposit is an example of that security deposit alternative.

Settimi says the pace of online innovation will continue to reshape the industry. Already on its way: 24/7 resident tech support as a powerful new leasing amenity. “It’s called Personal TechPro and it leverages our long history in protecting connected devices. It’s another way for property management companies to differentiate themselves with a white-glove service offered exclusively to community residents.”


As you weigh resident onboarding options, Settimi advises owner/operators to keep in mind the long track record of your technology partner. “Ask yourself, ‘Who is going to be around five years from now?’”

Navigating Colorado's Updated Landlord-Tenant Laws in 2023

Colorado, a state known for its diverse landscapes and growing cities, has been at the forefront of adapting its laws to accommodate the evolving needs of landlords and tenants. As of August 2023, significant changes have been made to the landlord-tenant laws in the state, aimed at fostering fair and transparent relationships between property owners and renters.


Portable Screening Report:


  • Prior to taking any rental application, Landlords must advise applicants that they have a right to provide a portable tenant screening report.


  • The Landlord cannot charge a screening fee if the report is provided. In addition, a Landlord cannot charge different fees for different tenants.
  • Landlord disclosure language must appear in: 
    • All advertisements of the unit available in 12 point bold faced font
    • On the application (online or paper)
    • Verbally to the tenant with written confirmation of this advisement
  • Screening report requirements:
    • Must have been completed within 30 days.
    • Landlord cannot be charged a fee to access the report.
    • Landlord can require Tenant to state that there have been no material changes in the report .
  • Exemption:
    • If the Landlord only accepts one application at a time, they can require an applicant to pay a fee to run their own background check, but it must be refunded within 25 days if the application is not accepted by the Landlord.
  • Denials:
    • The Landlord must provide decline letters to tenants with a copy of the screening report.
    • If the Landlord used a consumer credit report, they must provide the report along with disclosure to tenant of the Tenant’s rights to dispute the report with the Consumer Credit Agency.
    • Violation may result in a $2,500 fine, plus court costs. If the Landlord is notified of the violation within 7 days and cures the violation (e.g. refunding the application fee cost), the Landlord will only owe the Tenant $50.


Income and Credit Applications:

  • Income requirements:
    • A Landlord may not require an applicant to have an annual income that exceeds 200% of the annual rent. This is a change from previous laws requiring applicants to have an annual income that equals or exceeds 300% of annual rent.

  • If an applicant receives housing assistance, the Landlord cannot consider or inquire about their credit score, or credit evens, unless the Landlord is required by federal law to consider credit.
    • Landlords working under income restricted housing can inquire about an applicant’s credit.

  • Violations:
    • Violation of any of these new laws requires Landlord to pay aggrieved party $50, unless the violation is not cured. If it is not cured, there is additional $2,500 penalty to be paid to the aggrieved party + economic damages, court costs and attorney fees.

    • This would be considered a violation of Fair Housing Laws.


Pet Ownership:


  • Limited Pet Fees:

    • New law limits pet security deposit to $300, which MUST BE refundable.

    • Pet rent is limited to the greater of $35 per month or 1.5% of the monthly rent.

    • Not changed BUT these fees cannot be required if an animal meets the HUD guidelines for an emotional support animal or service animal

  • New Law Restricts Insurance Companies

    • Insurance cannot automatically deny a specific breed request repairs in writing, and landlords must respond within a reasonable timeframe.


Eviction Procedures:


  • Eviction processes are now more tenant-friendly. Before initiating eviction proceedings, landlords must provide tenants with written notice outlining the issue and offering the opportunity to remedy it within 10 days.

  • Additionally, tenants facing eviction now have the right to a legal defense if they can show that the landlord failed to maintain the property properly.


Prohibited Lease Provisions:

  • Certain lease provisions are now explicitly prohibited, including:
    • Waiving the right to a jury trial.

    • Restricts ability to bring class action.

    • Waiving implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings.

    • Waiving implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.

    • Require tenants to pay the landlord’s attorney fees (one-way shifting clause).

      • All prevailing party clauses must state “following a determination by the court that the party prevailed and that the fee is reasonable”.

    • Eviction penalties.

    • Provision that charges a penalty to a tenant if Tenant does not give their notice for non-renewal.

      • You can still require notice, but you cannot charge a fee.

      • You can charge for ACTUAL losses from Tenant’s failure to provide notice (e.g. if they didn’t move out for 15 days, you could charge half month’s rent for the losses).

    • Characterizing certain charges as “rent” that are in fact not rent (utilities), in which non-payment of which could lead to eviction.

      • You are NO LONGER able to evict tenants who are not paying utilities, because they are not considered “rent”.

      • Unpaid utilities must be taken out of security deposit at the end of the lease.

    • Excessive mark-ups that would make the tenant pay a mark-up above what a third party service provider would charge the Landlord. Excessive is defined as more than 2% of the billed amount or a fee that doesn’t exceed $10 per month (e.g. stop check fee).


Radon Disclosure/Mitigation:


  • Requires sellers and landlords of residential Colorado real estate to provide a radon warning statement in contracts and leases.
  • Requires certain disclosures regarding the known existence of radon in the property.
    • Includes brochure

  • Requires mitigation within 180 days of high test.
  • If a Landlord or property manager fails to provide the necessary disclosures or fails to make a reasonable effort to mitigate radon concentrations of more than 4 pCi/L, the Tenant may void their lease and vacate the premises in accordance with Colorado’s Warranty of Habitability laws.


Mandatory Mediation Before Filing for Eviction:

  • Landlords and Tenants must participate in mandatory mediation prior to initiating an eviction action in Court, if the residential tenant receives supplemental security income, federal social security disability insurance, or cash assistance through the Colorado works program (cash assistance).
    • Does not apply if:

      • Residential Tenant did not disclose or declined to disclose in writing to the landlord that the residential tenant receives cash assistance,

      • The landlord is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers their tenants opportunities for mediation,

      • Or the Landlord has 5 or fewer single-family rental homes and no more than 5 total rental units.

    • Landlords should use the Office of Dispute Resolution to schedule mediation (can be scheduled within 15 days).

    • Landlord pays for mediation, it is free for the Tenant.

These changes to Colorado’s landlord-tenant laws reflect the state’s commitment to balancing the rights and responsibilities of both parties. For more detailed information or specific legal advice, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney well-versed in Colorado’s housing laws. By staying informed and complying with these regulations, both landlords and tenants can foster healthier, more transparent rental relationships.