DENVER, CO - The House Transportation, Housing & Local Government Committee today passed a bill to reduce overbearing rental application qualifications, making it easier for all communities to access housing. SB23-184 passed by a vote of 9-4.
“Housing is crucially important in getting a job, raising a family, and everything in between,” said Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood, sponsor of SB23-184. “Coloradans need stable housing and are often put in a position to apply for housing that costs upwards of half of their income. Our bill caps income requirements at two times the rent, keeping Coloradans from being iced out of housing because of unreasonable income requirements and security deposits.”
“While our economy is growing and our state is seeing near record low unemployment, many Coloradans are still struggling to keep up with the rising cost of housing, which is driving people out of their communities and causing them long commutes to get to their job,” said Rep. Lorena Garcia, D-Unincorporated Adams County, sponsor of SB23-184. “By making it easier for Coloradans to qualify for housing opportunities, more people, especially those on fixed incomes, will be able to find and keep housing that fits in their budget.”
Because there are no current regulations to prevent landlords from requiring prospective tenants to make three to five times as much as their annual rental cost, some hardworking Coloradans find it impossible to qualify for housing opportunities. SB23-184 would expand access to housing by limiting any minimum income requirement to two times the cost of the rent.
For prospective tenants with a housing voucher or subsidy, this cap would only apply to their portion of the rent obligation, and landlords wouldn’t be able to inquire about or consider their credit score. Large security deposits can also price renters out of housing. This bill would break down cost-barriers by capping security deposits at two times the monthly rent.
Although Coloradans who experience housing discrimination can sue or file a civil rights complaint, they’re not able to raise discrimination as a defense to an eviction. SB23-184 would further protect tenants from eviction by establishing that a violation of the bill's new prohibitions is an unfair housing practice and clarifying that fair housing violations, including source of income violations, are an affirmative defense to eviction.