DENVER, CO - The House today advanced legislation in a preliminary vote to secure eviction protections for Coloradans who rely on public assistance programs.
“Rapidly rising rents and increasing demand for housing are some of the biggest issues Coloradans are facing today,” said Rep. Junie Joseph, D-Boulder. “This bill will help protect renters from being pushed out of housing options over issues that could be worked through with better communication. Landlord-tenant mediation for eligible lower-income communities and Coloradans with disabilities would create a process that works for all parties involved and curtail the need for an eviction.”
“People with disabilities are twice as likely as their able-bodied counterparts to be impoverished,” said Rep. David Ortiz, D-Littleton. “Communities that are reliant on critical safety net programs are the most susceptible to the threat of eviction and the most at-risk for homelessness. It’s essential that we protect our most vulnerable communities that might not have the financial or legal resources to fight against the eviction process, especially in the middle of our housing crisis.”
HB23-1120 would require a residential rental agreement to include mandatory landlord-tenant mediation if the renter receives supplemental security income, federal social security disability insurance, or cash assistance through the Colorado Works program and discloses that information to the landlord in writing. Nonprofits and landlords with less than five single family homes and less than five total units are exempt. Under the bill, residential rental agreements are prohibited from including a waiver of mandatory mediation and must include language stating that a residential tenant who receives cash assistance has a right to mediation conducted by a third party at no cost, before their landlord files an eviction complaint with the court. Renters who receive cash assistance and have provided written notice to their landlord would be protected from being removed from the property by law enforcement officers for at least 30 days after the entry of judgment, except in cases of substantial violation or if the landlord has less than five single family rental homes and less than five total rental units.