DENVER, CO - The House today passed two bills on a preliminary vote to save Coloradans money on rental applications and bolster residential renter rights.
“As a renter, I’ve experienced firsthand how quickly fees can add up when someone applies to various housing opportunities,” said Rep. Stephanie Vigil, D-Colorado Springs, sponsor of HB23-1099. “Rental application fees are around $40 per adult on average, and rental applicants pay this fee at every stop, just to turn up the same information. This bill will allow rental applicants to pay that fee once and then share that report with multiple landlords, saving Coloradans potentially hundreds of dollars in repetitive fees.”
“Renters often apply to multiple housing opportunities when their lease ends,” said Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, sponsor of HB23-1099. “Lower-income Coloradans are often forced to choose between spending money on necessities and covering these application fees. Allowing renters to reuse these documents means that they can save more money that could otherwise go toward rent, food, and utilities.”
HB23-1099 builds off the Rental Application Fairness Act that was passed by Colorado Democrats in 2019 by allowing prospective renters to reuse a rental application for up to 30 days without paying additional fees. It also minimizes the number of times a credit score is pulled, protecting a potential renter’s credit score from being continuously damaged from credit score inquiries. Under this bill, a landlord must return an application to a potential tenant to reuse if the application is denied and provide a notice of the applicant’s right to dispute the accuracy of the report. Rental and credit history reports and criminal record documents must come from verified consumer reporting agencies to be eligible for reuse.
“Renters unknowingly sign away key rights when they secure housing,” said Rep. Stephen Woodrow, D-Denver, sponsor of HB23-1095. “Rental agreements often exceed 50 pages of dense text littered with hidden fees, legal traps and waivers of key rights like the right to a jury or to participate in a class action. Renters shouldn’t have to be experts in tenant law just to keep from being exploited.”
“Many Coloradans are facing the very real threat of housing insecurity and often have to choose between homelessness and rental opportunities that strip away the rights they’re entitled to by Colorado law,” said Rep. Mandy Lindsay, D-Aurora, sponsor of HB23-1095. “We created renter protection laws to ensure renters aren’t taken advantage of, but some landlords are writing leases that carve out these important protections. This bill prevents landlords from creating lease agreements that infringe on the rights of renters.”
HB23-1095 prohibits most rental agreements from including:
Any waiver of the right to quiet enjoyment of the property
Any waiver of the right to a jury trial, unless all parties agree to waive a jury trial in a hearing to determine occupancy,
Any waiver of the right to participate in a class action,
Penalties or charges if a renter does not provide notice of non-renewal unless the landlord incurred actual losses as a result, or
The landlord’s ability to charge renters for both third party services like pest control and valet trash that is in excess of 2% of the actual charge and a monthly administrative fee of $10 to cover these services
Landlords often profit from renters by including inflated third party charges like pest control and valet trash services in administrative fees. Under this bill, landlords would not be allied to charge renters more than the actual cost for services, limiting excessive profiting off of tenants. The right to enjoyment protects renters from landlords entering the property without notice and their right to have peace and quiet in their home, as landlords often include clauses that waive these rights.
Large rental companies often use a class action waiver to protect themselves from lawsuits by preventing renters from collectively pursuing legal action. Individual renters usually can’t afford a legal fight against a large rental company, which allows rental companies to get away with violations.