Colorado ranks poorly when it comes to rights of renters

(May 20) – Today, Gov. Jared Polis signed two bills to improve the rights of renters in Colorado and expands the benefits and eligibility for the Property, Tax, Rent, Heat Credit program (PTC Rebate).

“I believe that having a safe and affordable place to live is a cornerstone to self-sufficiency,” said Rep. Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora, during the House floor debate. “This is real life. When Coloradans are paying market rents, they deserve to live in a safe and habitable place. This is a very fair, and very necessary bill.”

HB19-1170 is a commonsense bill that would improve renters’ rights if their home becomes uninhabitable or otherwise unfit for human habitation.  Under this bill, tenants can notify the landlords of uninhabitable conditions through written notice including through electronic means. The landlord will then have 24 to 72 hours to begin to address the complaint. If the issues persists, the tenant has a right to withhold an estimate cost of the repairs from their rent payment and they have the right to break a lease if the uninhabitable condition persists.

“If you are paying rent you have the right to expect a home that is safe and healthy to live in, with remedies available if it isn’t,” said Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora. “With a rent market as challenging as ours is right now, we need to ensure these protections for residents now more than ever.”

In addition, the Governor also signed another bill, HB19-1118, sponsored by Rep. Jackson to allow sufficient time for tenants to remedy a lease violation before getting evicted. Under HB19-1118, tenants will now receive 10 days to pay their rent or address a minor lease issue before an eviction is filed against them, up from three days.

The Governor also signed HB19-1085, sponsored by Rep. Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs.

“This program helps keep some of Colorado’s seniors, disabled and most vulnerable families and individuals warm and secure in their own homes. I am proud to see this program come to fruition so we can help keep people safe and potentially save a life when temperatures plummet,” Rep. Exum said.

This program, within the Department of Revenue, provides property tax, rental, fuel and heat assistance to seniors over the age of 65, those with disabilities and surviving spouses over the age of 58. This bill expands these benefits and eligibility for the PTC rebate program. The bill passed the House last session but was blocked in the previously Republican controlled Senate.

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