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April 3, 2024

Lindsay, Froelich Bill to Protect Renters from Unsafe Housing Passes Committee

DENVER, CO - The House Transportation, Housing & Local Government Committee today passed legislation sponsored by Representatives Mindy Lindsay and Meg Froelich that would update existing law to ensure tenants have access to safe housing and timely repairs when unsafe conditions arise. SB24-094 passed by a vote of 8-3.

“Every renter deserves for their home to be a safe place to live, yet loopholes in our tenant laws have left Coloradans in dangerous living situations,” said Rep. Mandy Lindsay, D-Aurora. “These unsafe living situations negatively impact the health and safety of renters, and our current laws fail to hold landlords accountable for providing necessary repairs. With this legislation, we’re clarifying our Warranty of Habitability laws to protect Colorado renters and ensure their right to safe and healthy housing.”

“From broken elevators to no access to running water, Colorado renters have struggled with ongoing maintenance issues that make it difficult for families, elders, and Coloradans with a disability to live their day-to-day lives,” said Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood. “No one should be forced to deal with these living situations. Our bill would ensure that renters have the right to timely repairs for mold, sewage leaks, and other serious issues to avoid preventable housing-related health conditions.”

Colorado’s current “warranty of habitability” law requires landlords to maintain a minimum standard of housing – however, in practice, most renters suffering from unsafe living conditions don’t receive the repairs they need due to easily-exploited loopholes in the law. 

SB24-094 would modify existing warranty of habitability laws by:

  • Closing the timeframe loophole by setting deadlines for a landlord to complete necessary repairs: 14 days for many issues and seven days for more serious conditions that impact a tenant’s life, safety, or health.

  • Requiring landlords to include in leases that tenants are entitled to safe and healthy housing and cannot be retaliated against for requesting repairs.

  • Protecting tenants against having to use their own rental insurance to pay for repairs that fall under the warranty of habitability, which drives up their premiums.

  • Clarifying the process for arranging alternative lodging pending the completion of a necessary repair.

  • Updating policies that allow for appropriate cooling in extreme heat, like ensuring landlords fix cooling units they provide with the unit when they break, and allowing tenants to install their own cooling devices.

  • Clarifying the current process by which a tenant may pursue a court order demanding compliance with the law or otherwise seek monetary damages.

Additional changes include updating the civil process initiated by landlords or tenants regarding breaches, prohibiting landlords from retaliating against tenants, and provisions focused on children, older adults, and those with disabilities.

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