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John Ramos
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Englewood, CO
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HB23-1171 Just Cause Requirement Eviction Of Residential Tenant

John Ramos
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Englewood, CO
Posted Mar 5 2023, 12:44

Of all the proposed housing bills proposed during the 2023 legislative session this bill has the ability to single handedly push more landlords out of the business and reduce the number of available properties for rent in one fell swoop.  As you will see below this bill has elements of rent control and was structured as such that a landlord would be unable to raise rent very much or if at all from one lease period to another.  So, lets dig into this proposed legislation outlining what is "Just Cause" for eviction.

HB23-1171  Just Cause Requirement Eviction Of Residential Tenant

This defines the "just causes" for eviction as tenant continues to not pay rent even after landlord provides written notice of nonpayment, tenant commits a "substantial violation" that is not cured in 10 days and allows for a "no-fault" eviction whereby, in certain instances,  the landlord must compensate the tenant.

Tenant Continues To Not Pay Rent After Delivery Of Written Notice

After serving your tenant with notice of failure to pay, if they continue to NOT pay rent during the stated period of cure, normally ten days, then the landlord can proceed with the actions authorized in CRS 13-40-104 to remove the tenant from the property--otherwise knows as eviction.

1. This is standard however, there does now exist a fund at the State level and in the certain municipalities whereby a tenant can receive legal representation.  What his means is now the DIY landlord that used to handle their own evictions without legal assistance may need to obtain legal counsel thereby driving up the costs to be a landlord in Colorado.

Tenant Commits a "Substantial Violation" and Does Not Cure Violation Within Ten (10) Days

1. Substantial Violation is defined by CRS 13-40-107.5 (3), which basically says that if actions of the tenant endanger the property, other tenants, neighbors, is a drug related felony, or is an offense that would result in incarceration of 180 days or more, or is a public nuisance as declared by the health department and occurs near or on the property, or on the common/parking areas of the property. So, in essence, punching holes in the drywall may not qualify as "endangerment" of the property, although it would cost the landlord money to repair. Cooking Meth in the living room and selling it in the common area of the apartment complex would be a substantial violation, but here's the rub--the burden of proof is on the landlord, so if you only have suspicion and no police report to back you up then you are out of luck.

Just Cause No-Fault Eviction (No Compensation To Tenant Required)

1.  Tenant continues to refuse entry to Landlord after Landlord has provided written notice, in both English and Spanish, at least 48 hours before attempting entry unless a longer period is specified in the lease agreement; OR

2. Tenant refuses to sign a new rental agreement (lease extension) with terms that are substantially identical to the tenant's current agreement, including a rental amount that is the same as the current agreement or in a reasonably increased amount, so long as the new rental agreement is delivered/offered to the tenant at least thirty (30) days before the end of the current lease term.

Well, well, well. here we are at the section that basically is a back door to rent control.  Firstly, if your tenant refuses to grant access the property then you can claim a just cause no-default eviction, make sure to use Spanish & English in the notice, even if your tenant failed Spanish in the 10th grade and barely passed English you must make the notice bilingual for it to pass muster in the courts.  Why wouldn't refusal of entry to the individual who pays the mortgage/taxes/insurance/repairs/maintenance be classified as plain old Just Cause, who is the true beneficial owner of the property?

The second part of Just Cause No Fault is the section that makes this entire bill a wolf in sheep's clothing (apologies to all Wolfs out there  who are offended by being compared to politicians in Colorado).  If your tenant refuses to sign a lease whereby all of the terms, including the rent, as long as rent is the same or increased in a reasonable amount, then a landlord can proceed with a no-fault eviction.  Who will determine what is a reasonable rental increase?  The state? Municipalities? The cast of the View?  Javier Mabrey himself?  The Courts?  This is not clear in the bill and is not defined in the bill so whatever authority has the power to decide can literally put a landlord out of business or into mortgage default with the stroke of their pen.

It is not clear what happens if a landlord proffers a new lease that is not "substantially the same", the tenant can refuse to sign and presumably remain in the property, allowing their dog to piss in the same spot on carpet everyday, or allowing their child to practice karate punches into the drywall, but hopefully with the requirement to continue paying their original rent amount.  This is not clear to me in the text of the bill.

No-Fault Eviction Of A Tenant (No Just Cause AND Tenant Must Be Compensated With Cash

1. If the landlord wants to demolish or convert (non residential conversion) the property, make "substantial" repairs/renovations or the landlord or their family member wants to live in the property then the landlord can execute a no-fault of tenant eviction.

2.  The landlord will need to provide notice, written in both English & Spanish, of at least 120 days prior to the date the tenant needs to vacate--this notice period applies to ALL no-fault of tenant eviction conditions.  In the case of substantial repairs/renovations, the landlord must provide tenant first right of return under same rental terms with a rental amount that is the same or "reasonably" increased amount.

3. In any of these n-fault eviction conditions, the landlord must pay to the tenant no less than two (2) months of rent as a relocation fee.  If there are tenants on the property who are at least 60+, under the age of 18 or disabled then the landlord must pay to the tenant no less than three (3) months of rent in order to compensate tenant for re-locating due to no fault of their own.

There will no longer be a "natural end" to a residential lease agreement in Colorado if this bill passes and is signed by the Gov of Colorado.  God forbid a soldier at Ft. Carson who is sent to a warzone and after a year of renting out their home has to pay for the right to occupy their home that they already paid for in the first place.  Does this sound right on any level at all???  Even if the ground shifts under your home and is declared uninhabitable by the city a homeowner will need to pay the tenant because this bill does not allow for Acts of God and we all know that God always checks with us here on Earth before doing anything-NOT!

Repeal Of CRS 13-40-107 Notice To Quit

This bill repeals ALL Notices to Quit thereby preventing a natural end to a lease--in other words no Landlord will be able to take their property back by not renewing a tenant.  And here you thought you could rely on the legislature to overlook something that might actually give Landlords a work around.

To date the only significant amendment to this legislation is the one of the bill's sponsors/authors, Javier Mabrey, agreed to exempt short term rentals, and get this, rooms being rented in the home you occupy because he himself is renting out the basement of his home to a third part, you literally cannot make this **** up--when he realized that he would be bound by this law he agreed to an exemption that shields him from this proposed law.

If you don't agree with this legislation then contact your Colorado State Representative and Senator!  Thanks.

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