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SB21-173

Rights In Residential Lease Agreements

Concerning rights related to residential rental agreements, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
Session:
2021 Regular Session
Subjects:
Civil Law
Courts & Judicial
Housing
Bill Summary

The bill addresses the following items related to landlord and tenant rights in residential rental agreements:

  • When a landlord removes or excludes a tenant from a dwelling without resorting to proper court procedures, it is an unfair or deceptive trade practice for the purposes of the "Colorado Consumer Protection Act";
  • After a complaint is filed by a landlord, the clerk of the court or the attorney for the plaintiff shall issue a summons, including information concerning filing an answer and legal aid. A court shall not enter a default writ of restitution before the close of business on the date upon which an appearance is due.
  • Provides additional details regarding the defendant's answer, including that a defendant does not waive any defense related to proper notice by filing an answer; that the court shall set a date for trial no sooner than 7, but not more than 10, days after the answer is filed, unless the defendant agrees to waive this provision and schedule the trial for an earlier date, and in the time after an answer is filed and before a trial occurs, the court shall order that the landlord provide any documentation related to the tenancy or the current action that the defendant requests except that a court with a docket that is impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency is not required to comply with this time frame. In the time after an answer is filed and before a trial occurs, the court shall order that the landlord or tenant provide any relevant documentation that either party requests.
  • Repeals language requiring the defendant, in an appeal from a judgment of a county court, to deposit with the court the amount of rent found due;
  • When a court has issued a writ of restitution in a residential forcible entry and wrongful detainer (FED) proceeding, a tenant may pay any rent that is still owed to the landlord at any point up to 48 hours after A landlord who provides a tenant with proper notice of nonpayment shall accept payment of the tenant's full amount due according to the notice, as well as any rent due under the rental agreement, at any time until a court has ordered a writ of restitution;
  • Eliminates the bond requirement for the warranty of habitability and allows the tenant to assert an alleged breach of the warranty of habitability as an affirmative defense;
  • Establishes allowable court procedures and remedies in cases of an alleged breach of warranty of habitability;
  • Bans liquidated damage clauses that assign a cost to a party stemming from a rental violation or an eviction action;
  • Prohibits rental agreements that contain one-way fee-shifting clauses that award attorney fees and court costs only to one party; and
  • Guarantees parties to a residential FED dispute the right to a trial by jury.

The bill prohibits a landlord of a mobile home park or a residential premises (landlord) from:

  • Charging a tenant or mobile home owner (tenant) a late fee for late payment of rent unless the rent payment is late by at least 14 7 calendar days;
  • Charging a tenant a late fee in an amount that exceeds the greater of:
  • $20 $50 ; or
  • 2.5% 5% of the amount of the rent obligation that remains past due;
  • Requiring a tenant to pay a late fee unless the late fee is disclosed in the rental agreement;
  • Removing, excluding, or initiating eviction procedures against a tenant solely as a result of the tenant's failure to pay one or more late fees;
  • Terminating a tenancy or other estate at will or a lease in a mobile home park because the tenant fails to pay one or more late fees to the landlord;
  • Imposing a late fee on a tenant for the late payment or nonpayment of any portion of the rent that a rent subsidy provider, rather than the tenant, is responsible for paying;
  • Imposing a late fee more than once for each late payment;
  • Requiring a tenant to pay interest on late fees;
  • Recouping any amount of a late fee from a rent payment made by a tenant; or
  • Charging a tenant a late fee unless the landlord provided the tenant written notice of the late fee within 180 days after the date upon which the rent payment was due.

A landlord who commits a violation must pay a $20 $50 penalty to an aggrieved tenant for each violation. Otherwise, a landlord who commits a violation has 7 days to cure the violation, which 7 days begins when the landlord receives notice of the violation. If a landlord fails to timely cure a violation, the tenant may bring a civil action to seek one or more of the following remedies:

  • Compensatory damages for injury or loss suffered;
  • A penalty of at least $500 $150 but not more than $2,000 $1,000 for each violation, payable to the tenant;
  • Costs, including reasonable attorney fees if the tenant is the prevailing party; and
  • Other equitable relief the court finds appropriate.

The attorney general may investigate and prosecute alleged violations. A violation that is not timely cured or that was committed by a landlord in bad faith is an unfair or deceptive trade practice for the purposes of the "Colorado Consumer Protection Act".

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)


(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)

Status

Introduced
Passed

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