There are some HUGE changes to the Landlord and renting laws here in Colorado effective 8/2019. If you own or manage rental properties here is what you need to know. If it makes your head spin, maybe it’s time to hire us to manage your rental prop? Check out or leasing and property management services
10-day Demand notices required
Effective 5/20/19, residential Landlords must use 10-day demands for rent, compliance or repeated violations. (instead of a 3 day) Substantial violations are still 3 day demands, and commercial landlords are not affected by this change in the law.
Effective 8/2/19, Landlords must provide a receipt for application fees. Landlord must charge the same application fee for everyone for the same unit or building. Landlord must disclose an estimate of costs of screening (to justify the application fee) with an explanation, before taking the application fee, or provide a receipt of all costs incurred after screening is complete. If an applicant is denied, Landlord must provide a detailed explanation of the reasons for denial. If the screening company uses a propriety software for screening, Landlord must provide the applicant with a copy of the screening company’s report. We also recommend that you have written screening criteria and always consider Applicants on a first come, first serve basis, to avoid Fair Housing claims. The first applicant who applies and qualifies under your screening policies should be approved.
Tenant Screening Changes
Effective 8/2/19, Landlords may only look back at the last 7 years when screening for credit and rentalhistory, and may only look back 5 years for criminal convictions, unless the conviction or a deferred judgment was for murder, manslaughter, criminal negligent homicide , vehicular homicide, stalking, offenses which require sex offender registration, manufacture or distribution of methamphetamine or possession of materials to make methamphetamine or amphetamine. Do not say “We don’t rent to felons”- instead say “While we do not rent to registered sex offenders, we do consider applicants with other criminal history. We look at a number of factors.” A Landlord should apply a balancing test and look at a number of factors to determine if the person still poses a valid risk to the community and is a good candidate for tenancy, such as nature and severity of the crime, age of the applicant then and now, rehabilitative efforts, credit and rental history before and after the crime. We recommend that you screen first for credit and rental history. If they pass your screening standards, then look at criminal to determine if they pose a risk. Do not look at arrests alone- look at convictions and deferred judgments.
Copies of Leases
Effective 8/8/18, a landlord is to provide Tenants with a fully executed copy of the written rental agreement within 7 days of signing. Such copies may be provided electronically, unless otherwise requested.
Effective 8/2/19, the name and address of the landlord or the property manager must be stated in the lease. If ownership or management of a rental property changes, tenants must be notified within 1 business day in writing.
Effective 8/8/18, a landlord is to provide a Tenant with a receipt for cash or money order payments indicating the date and amount received IF PAYMENT IS MADE IN PERSON. IF THE PAYMENT IS NOT MADE IN PERSON, THEN A LANDLORD MUST PROVIDE A RECEIPT FOR CASH OR MONEY ORDER ONLY IF REQUESTED. Such copies may be provided electronically, unless otherwise requested.
Effective 8/2/19, a Landlord must provide a receipt to applicant for any monies taken as part of the application process.
Warranty of Habitability
Effective 8/2/19, mold, refrigerators, stoves and ovens are considered habitability issues. Landlords are required to respond with specified information within 24 hours of receipt of a written notice of a habitability issue and to commence remediation within 24 hours for emergency issues and within 96 hours for non-emergency issues, including mold. For emergency issues, a tenant is entitled to request to be provided with a hotel or comparable housing, but tenant must continue to pay the rent. Severe penalties for retaliation against a tenant for making a claim of habitability.
Effective 8/2/19, the new law requires specific steps be taken when a claim of mold is receive in writing. Within 96 hours of receipt of written notice of mold, Landlord must (1) install a containment, 2) stop the active source of water to mold, and (3) install a HEPA filtration device, and then complete remediation within a reasonable time.. Tenant has limited right to deduct rent or move out for repeated violations on proper written notice. Severe sanctions for violations by Landlord or Tenant. A Tenant may communicate via text or email if this method of communication has been used by the Landlord in the past. We recommend that you add language to your lease which specifies how and where a tenant may communicate in writing with the Landlord for such issues.
Effective 1/01/20, Landlord is required to send in a professional, qualified inspector or canine unit within 96 hours of a report of bed bugs, and inspect continuous units if bed bugs are found. Landlord must provide a copy of the report within 2 business days of inspection to the Tenant. If bed bugs are found, Landlord is required to retain a certified operator/commercial applicator to remediate the bed bugs within 5 business days. New disclosure requirements to Applicants concerning history of bed bugs activity in the past 8 months and the last time the unit was inspected and found to be free of bed bugs.
Denver and Boulder mandate section 8 vouchers for Landlords:
Effective 1/01/19, the Denver City Council passed an ordinance, requiring Landlords to consider section 8 vouchers and other unconventional sources of income. If a Section 8 voucher holder is a good candidate, a Landlord will have to accept the voucher and comply with the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) and all their rules, HUD regulations, and inspections. However, there is an exclusion for a Landlord with only 1 rental in Denver. The City of Boulder passed a similar ordinance in 2018 requiring Landlords to consider all legal sources of income. There is no exception for Landlords with only 1 rental in Boulder. Boulder also prohibits discrimination based on immigration status as of 2018.
Mobile Home Communities
Effective 5/23/19, HB19-1309 requires Parks to use 10-day demands for rent (instead of a 5-day). The Important Notice to Homeowner also has been significantly changed, and now includes language giving homeowners 30 additional days to move after possession judgment enters, with an option to buy additional days (up to 30 more days), if the eviction arise for nonpayment or rules violations. The new law requires all Colorado Parks to register no later than 2/01/20 and pay a fee of $24 per lot, with 50% of this chargeable back to the homeowner. The new law creates an entire new regulatory system to respond to complaints and provide mediation services, arising from Landlord/Tenant issues in Mobile home Communities in Colorado.