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Bill to expand protections for renters under consideration in state legislature

Posted: 9:02 AM, Apr 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-15 17:36:03-04
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File photo (KOAA)

DENVER – State lawmakers in the house and senate are considering a bill that would expand the definition of what makes a rental property uninhabitable.

House Bill 19-1170 , titled the Residential Tenants Health And Safety Act, amends current law in multiple ways designed to increase protections for renters and increase liability for landlords.

If passed as currently written, the bill would:

  • Make the landlord pay for a hotel room if there is an issue within a rental property that is “imminently hazardous to life, health or safety”
  • Allows renters to deduct “one or more rent payments” to cover costs of repairs if the landlord does not fix issues that would warrant a breach of a lease
  • Expand the definition of “uninhabitable” to include the presence of mold and broken refrigerators, range or ovens if provided under the terms of the lease
  • Allows tenants to break a lease if a breach of warrant of habitability occurs within six months  after the situation is fixed
  • Expands the definition of “written notice” from tenants to landlords to include electronic communication like email or work orders through electronic portals

At this time, different versions of the bill passed both the Colorado House and the Colorado Senate. However, the House did not concur with recent Senate amendments. Now members of both chambers will meet in for a conference committee to hash out the difference in working to come to an agreement on a version to present to Governor Polis for signature.

The bill has received very little bipartisan support. In previous votes in the Colorado House, no Republican representatives voted for the bill. In the Senate, just three Republicans voted for the bill on its third reading.