Dem Housing Bills Pass First Test

(April 26) – The House Local Government approved three bills this afternoon that address access to affordable housing and protections for Colorado renters and buyers.

HB17-1309, sponsored by Reps. Faith Winter and Dominique Jackson, creates a sustainable source of funding to be administered by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority to create and rehabilitate more housing options, both for rent and for purchase, for middle- and low-income Coloradans. The bill increases the documentary fee for real estate property transactions by one cent per $100 valuation, and is estimated to generate $9 million- $10 million per year for housing. The bill passed with a 7-6 vote and proceeds to the House floor.

“This is a simple solution with big impacts,” said Rep. Winter, D-Westminster. “We have to take action now to solve Colorado’s housing crisis. We’ve needed a sustainable source of funding for years, and this bill would be a victory for Colorado families who struggle to find affordable, safe and reliable housing.”

“The bill provides gap funding to build more rental housing and offers opportunities to working families and individuals who need to access money for down-payment assistance or low-interest loans,” said Rep. Jackson. “It helps both low-income households and what I call the missing middle—middle-class Coloradans like auto mechanics and entry level cops—who still struggle to buy a home in today’s market.”

HB17-1354, sponsored by Majority Leader KC Becker, helps prevent Coloradans who live in mobile homes from being wrongly evicted from their homes. The bill gives discretion to county treasurers to determine how to collect delinquent taxes on mobile homes. In addition, the bill authorizes a county treasurer to declare tax liens for mobile homes as county-held, and to withhold tax liens for mobile homes from being sold to investors. The bill passed unanimously.

“The issue of having families ejected from their mobile homes because they didn’t know they owed taxes is a very real problem in my county and across the state,” said Majority Leader Becker. “Right now, people are getting kicked out of mobile homes over unpaid tax liens, some for as little as $90, that they didn’t even know about. This bill gives discretion to county treasurers and makes it less likely that these families get kicked out of their homes.”

HB17-1312, sponsored by Reps. Tony Exum Sr., D-Colorado Springs, and Adrienne Benavidez, D-Adams County, gives renters the right to have a copy of their lease and to receive receipts for cash payment of rent. Without a receipt, tenants facing eviction cannot prove they have paid what the landlord says they owe. The bill passed with a 7-6 vote and proceeds to the House floor.

“Too many renters have been kicked out of their homes because they misunderstood the terms of their lease or cannot prove they paid rent,” said Rep. Exum. “The solution: our bill ensures renters can receive a copy of their lease and receipts for all cash payments.”

“This is a simple bill that reflects common business practice and can have a true positive impact on renters in Colorado,” said Rep. Benavidez.

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