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:
Income and Credit Applications:
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.
Landlords working under income restricted housing can inquire about an applicant’s credit.
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.
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 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:
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”.
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).
Mandatory Mediation Before Filing for Eviction:
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.