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 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;
- 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 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 calendar days;
- Charging a tenant a late fee in an amount that exceeds the greater of:
- $20; or
- 2.5% 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 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 but not more than $2,000 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: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)