Proposed Bill Would Improve Tenant-Landlord Communications

With affordable housing becoming increasing scarce and rents getting higher, landlords hold the advantage in Colorado’s ever-tightening rental market. Unfortunately, because landlords are only required to give seven days’ notice on rent increases or terminations on “month-to-month” tenancies, tenants can literally be left out in the cold. Recent reports indicate that Colorado’s population of homeless families has been growing as affordable housing becomes harder and harder to find.

As the demand for housing has escalated, this issue has intensified in Colorado. In Denver, the more than half of the city’s households are renters. Nearly 40 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by 9to5 Colorado reported that their landlords refused to let them renew their lease, resulting in housing insecurity as they became month-to-month tenants. Having only seven days to find a new home would be problematic for anyone, but the short notice is even more onerous for those with disabilities, senior citizens, low-income individuals with few affordable options and tenants with young children. Though landlords have a right to raise rent or end a month-to-month tenancy, renters need more than seven days to secure a new place, pack their household and move.

Fortunately, a recently introduced, bipartisan proposal would give tenants more notice before having to move. Sponsored by Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson and Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, and developed by Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Senate Bill 245 extends the state’s notification period for month-to-month tenants to raise rent or terminate the tenancy from seven days to 21 days. The bill also requires renters to provide 21 days’ notice to a landlord before deciding to move, which will be helpful should the market slacken again.

Currently, 47 states require more than seven days’ notice on month-to-month tenancies. In fact, most states require 30 days notification – and some states require an even longer period of time.

“Legislators from both sides of the political aisle recognize the growing problem that our state’s affordable housing shortage is imposing on their constituents,” said Claire Levy, Executive Director of Colorado Center on Law and Policy. “While lawmakers are limited in what they can do to solve the problem, SB 245 could ease some of the challenges faced by those who are vulnerable in Colorado’s rental market. We’re proud to support this bill because it gives Coloradans across the economic spectrum a little more breathing room to find a new home when they learn that their rent is going up or are told their lease is ending. SB 245 is a practical and fair measure that respects both the landlords’ and the tenants’ needs.”

Introduced on March 16, SB 245 has been assigned to the Senate Local Government Committee.

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Bob Mook

Bob Mook is Communications Director for the Colorado Center for Law and Policy. You can contact him at: bmook@cclponline.org