Renters could stay after lease expiration under Colorado’s ‘for cause’ eviction proposal.
Colorado Democrats have proposed a law that would make it harder for landlords to evict renters.
Renters could continue to rent a property under the “for cause” eviction proposal as long as they pay on time and follow other lease terms. There would be no more discretionary power for landlords to end month-to-month leases.
If a landlord decides not to renew a tenant, they should have a reason for doing so. Representative Javier Mabrey, a Democrat who is introducing the legislation, said renters deserve stability.
Landlords cannot forcibly move one tenant out just to move in another.
“We believe that the least we could ask is that we afford this small modicum of stability to renters,” said Mabrey, who also works as an attorney for renters facing eviction.
This type of eviction is relatively rare, but it can still have a significant impact
According to Mabrey, some landlords abuse their power by refusing to extend leases based on racial or other biases.
There is still the option for landlords to stop renting out a property altogether, for example, if they want to redevelop or live in the property themselves. In addition, they would be able to raise the rent once the lease expires and impose new rules. There would also be exemptions for landlords who rent out part of their home, such as a duplex.
Landlords have criticized the proposal, arguing that it would make leases indefinite, taking away the best option to deal with troublesome tenants.
The bill is also co-sponsored by Democratic state senators Julie Gonzales and Nick Hinrichsen, as well as House Majority Leader Monica Duran.
An eviction of this type is relatively rare. Mabrey said less than 10 percent of evictions are due to refusal to leave after a lease expires.
In addition to moving costs and disruptions to school and work, losing an apartment can cost thousands of dollars. As a result of this bill, households that would otherwise be evicted without an eviction proceeding might be able to stay.
A crowded press conference was held on Wednesday afternoon to introduce the bill, which has the support of some key Democrats. McCluskie and Duran introduced the measure.
“Housing! Justice! Housing! Justice!” the assembled crowd shouted as McCluskie prepared to speak.
The support of McCluskie shows that it is gaining traction among Democratic leaders. Last session, she voted against a similar proposal.
Change on a smaller scale
The new proposal is similar to the “just cause” eviction bill that failed last year. Mabrey said this year’s “for cause” bill doesn’t go as far as last year’s. Rent rules can be changed more easily, potentially causing tenants to lose their homes.
As long as the renter was in good standing, last year’s proposal would have forced landlords to extend “substantially similar” leases.
Mabrey said landlords can change rental conditions at any time once a lease has expired in this year’s version. The only limit on rent is that landlords cannot impose a “retaliatory” increase. Only the most extreme cases would be subject to that, according to Mabrey.
In some cases, landlords would have had to pay to help tenants move under last year’s proposal. According to this year’s version, relocation assistance is only required if a landlord actually breaks the law.
Drew Hamrick, senior vice president of the Apartment Association of Metro Denver, says those changes are unlikely to win over landlords. The end of a lease is similar to a divorce, according to him, and neither should require a specific reason.
“If somebody says the marriage is irrevocably broken and they don’t want to deal with each other anymore, that’s the end of the marriage,” he said. “And when you’ve got a partnership between a resident and a rental housing provider and it just doesn’t work, they’ve got to have that flexibility.”
It is already against the law for landlords to reject renewal requests because of racial or retaliatory reasons. Despite this, Mabrey argues that proving violations of these laws can be difficult and expensive.
A bill will be introduced in the House. The House approved last year’s version, but the Senate ran out of time.
Gov. Jared Polis’ spokesman did not say whether he would support the measure. Shelby Wieman wrote that Polis aims to “increase overall [housing] supply and create more housing choices.”. “The Governor looks forward to analyzing this legislation and continuing our conversations with the sponsors.”