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Majority Leader Duran: Coloradans need greater protection from evictions, and our legislation will help protect renters

Mar 8, 2024

As a state legislator, I work to improve the quality of life for all Coloradans. This year, I’m advocating for a cause that resonates deeply with my personal journey — one marked by challenges, sacrifices, and housing instability. Having experienced homelessness due to an unnecessary eviction with my son, I understand the toll that housing instability can take on women and children. 

After passing the House in late February, I am excited to see HB24-1098 move forward in the legislative process. This is a bill to keep Coloradans housed and prevent evictions without cause. I’m joined by my Democratic colleagues Rep. Javier Mabrey and Sens. Julie Gonzales and Sen. Nick Hinrichsen to sponsor this bill. Dozens of state labor, grassroots and housing organizations back our legislation. It’s also a priority bill for Democratic House leadership, and we’re grateful for Speaker Julie McCluskie’s support. 

Coloradans are currently facing an affordable housing, eviction and homelessness crisis. We’ve seen some of the country’s highest rent increases in the past few years.

The Denver metro area has the second highest annual rent inflation nationally. In January, Denver saw 1,548 eviction filings, the second-highest monthly total in years. Last year, according to state court data, Colorado saw over 52,000 eviction filings — a historic number for our state. A recent point-in-time (PIT) count conducted by the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative found that the number one self-reported cause of homelessness in Denver is an inability to pay rent. The number two cause is eviction.  These experiences of being rent-burdened, evicted and homeless have devastating consequences. 

As someone who has grappled with the fear of losing a roof over my head, I am acutely aware of the emotional and financial burdens that accompany housing insecurity. Having an eviction on your record can make it nearly impossible to find stable housing. 

According to research from The Eviction Lab, hundreds of thousands of families in the United States are evicted every year. Women, families with children, Black families, families with low incomes and families living in urban areas are more likely to be evicted than their counterparts — households with children between ages 0 and 5 face the highest risk of eviction. 

Our For Cause Eviction legislation will prevent arbitrary, retaliatory or discriminatory evictions by clearly defining in state law when a landlord may evict a tenant, including nonpayment of rent, property damage or violation of the lease agreement. Our bill will also ensure tenants have more protections when a landlord doesn’t renew their lease at the end of the lease term. 

This framework strikes a delicate balance, protecting the rights of tenants and property owners, and will help keep more Coloradans housed. It is not an attack on the free market but rather a sensible approach to safeguarding a fundamental human right — the right to a stable and secure home. 

My journey fuels my passion for championing this bill. I vividly recall the sleepless nights spent worrying about eviction notices and the constant fear of uprooting my child from school and close friends. No mother and child should repeatedly endure this kind of anxiety and stress. 

Our For Cause Eviction legislation sends a powerful message about our commitment to the well-being of our communities. By enacting these protections, we affirm our dedication to fostering a state where families can flourish, children can learn without disruption, and households experience more stability.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 38 to 19 with no support from my colleagues across the aisle. We’ve made it clear — this bill will keep Coloradans housed and does not prohibit landlords from being able to evict unlawful and disruptive tenants, especially if they do not pay their rent.

The bill will now go through the legislative process in the Senate, and I’m calling on the state legislature to join us in enacting For Cause Eviction legislation to bring systemic change to our housing landscape and protect our communities.

Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge, represents District 23 in the state House of Representatives, where she is majority leader.

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