The Colorado legislature just passed four new laws that make significant changes to how Denver property managers and landlords interact with tenants.
In this post, we’ll do a brief overview of four significant new laws for Colorado landlords and property owners to help you stay compliant.
Four New Laws for Colorado Rental Property Owners
Whether you’re a large Denver property management firm, or you rent out the basement of your home, these new laws apply to all landlords in Colorado.
Rule Update #1: Application Fees for Rental Properties in Colorado
Application fees are part of any rental process but this was addressed by the legilature and the following changes have been made:
- Limits to the amount that can be charged
- Disclosure requirements of the fees
- Receipt requirements for applications
- If an application is denied, you must explain why
- You must refund any unused portion of the fee
- You have new limits on the information that you are allowed to consider when processing an applicant
This update specifically applies to rental history, credit history, and criminal history of the applicant. You are no longer are able to take into account the rental or credit history of an applicant beyond seven years, and criminal history beyond five years - with some exceptions.
This is a significant change that will require landlords to adjust how rental application are processed in Colorado.
Rule Update #2: Bed Bugs
If you as a property manager or landlord are notified by your tenant that they suspect there may be bed bugs, you have 96 hours to have an inspection by a qualified inspector. After the inspection, you must report the findings to the tenant.
If it is determined that there are bed bugs in your Denver rental property, it is the landlord or property management firm’s responsibility to treat and eradicate the bed bug issue at the landlords expense. The tenant is not responsible for the payment or expenses, (but the landlord is) even if you believe the tenant is the one responsible for infecting the property in the first place.
Rule Update #3: Changes to Warranty of Habitability
The state of Colorado already has a Warranty of Habitability law, but this updated law extends and greatly expands the tenants rights within under this new law.
Under the current Warranty of Habitability law, landlords are required to provide a habitable property to a tenant (i.e. running water, electricity, heat, etc.). The updated Warranty of Habitability law expands what’s considered essential in a habitable property (including appliances) and extends new rights to tenants and requirements for landlords.
Landlords are now required to give a specific response to the tenant in specific time frames. The tenant may also be able to withhold payment of rent if the landlord is not prompt enough in responding.
When a tenant does give a Warranty of Habitability notice to you as a landlord, you must:
- Respond within 24 hours with intent for remedying the condition
- Provide an estimate of when remediation will begin
- Provide an estimate of when the remediation will be completed
We’re just scratching the surface of this updated Warranty of Habitability law. We are surprised that this updated rule still does not require that locks be changed between residents - this is a best practice that we highly recommend everyone follow.
Rule Update #4: 10 Day Cure
In the past if a tenant did not pay rent, the landlord would prepare and legally serve a notice to the property This notice was commonly referred to as a “Three Day Notice” because once the notice had been posted, the tenant had three more days to make their rent payment before the landlord can initiate a legal eviction.
The three day notice concept used in the past has now changed to a 10 day notice in most cases. This new 10 day notice period in now required in cases where the landlord is service a notice for:
- Demand of rent
- Demand for compliance for non-monetary violations
- Notice to quit for repeat violations
Our attorney has advised us that this new rule will have the impact of extending the minimum time it takes to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent to an average of 45 to 60 days.
Is this well-intentioned law good for tenants? Yes and no.
The 10 day time frame is good for tenants in the sense that a tenant now has more time to pay rent before a legal eviction can be processed. However, it’s bad for tenants in that most landlords will no longer make extended or partial payment arrangement with late paying tenant.
Stay In the Know With Help From Grace Property Management
It doesn’t matter if you have a property management firm or you self-manage your Denver rental property — these new laws apply to everyone in Colorado.
The above information is only a brief overview as these new laws, as they are very complex and complicated. Contact your Denver property management company today to confirm they are operating under the guidelines of these new laws.
As a client of Grace Property Management, you can rest easy knowing that we will operate in full compliance with these new tenant laws. The penalties to landlords for non-compliance are significant.
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