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February 27, 2024

Bills to Prevent Price Gouging on Rent After a Disaster, Reduce Evictions Pass Committee

DENVER, CO - The House Transportation, Housing & Local Government Committee today passed two bills that would prevent excessive increases in rent in the wake of a disaster and reduce evictions by saving Colorado renters money on filing fees during eviction proceedings.

“After the Marshall Fire, rents skyrocketed and priced people out of their community who just lost everything they owned,” said Rep. Kyle Brown, D-Louisville, sponsor of HB24-1259. “Our legislation will prevent excessive rent hikes after a declared disaster that generate profit from Coloradans’ suffering. This will protect Coloradans who have been displaced so they can rebuild their life after devastation.”

"When a community suffers from a disaster, they shouldn't be faced with landlords seeking to profit off their devastation,” said Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, sponsor of HB24-1259. “We’re extending Colorado’s consumer protection laws to prevent unscrupulous landlords from taking advantage of victims of disasters during their time of need."

HB24-1259, which passed by a vote of 6-4, would help protect Coloradans who have lost their home in a natural disaster from being taken advantage of by price gouging in rent. After a Governor- or Presidential-declared disaster, rent increases would be capped at the greater of 10% or the percentage rent increase in the previous year within the declared area for two years. The bill would make it a deceptive trade practice to price gouge when providing rental housing during this two-year period, allowing the Attorney General or a district attorney to pursue enforcement actions, including civil penalties, under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act. Affected tenants would also be able to pursue civil action for violations.

“When someone is being evicted from their home, they may not have the money to cover court costs,” said Rep. Mandy Lindsay, D-Aurora, sponsor of HB24-1099. “These fees can cost over $80, which can lead many facing eviction to abandon efforts to fight the filing in court. I’m proud to sponsor this legislation to reduce default evictions and remove these fees as a barrier to someone trying to keep their home.”

HB24-1099, also sponsored by Representative Matt Soper, R-Delta, would eliminate filing fees, including e-filing fees and service fees, for renters during an eviction proceeding, ensuring that renters aren’t priced out of advocating for themselves in the eviction process. HB24-1099 passed by a vote of 9-0.

Currently, defendants in eviction proceedings are charged filing fees and certain individuals can submit a motion to waive these fees. This bill removes fees associated with eviction proceedings to cut the red tape for defendants to eviction filings.

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