Colorado Senate moves forward with bill mandating landlords to justify evictions

The Colorado Senate passed legislation on Monday to make it more difficult for landlords to remove tenants.

House Bill 24-1098 was passed on second reading by voice vote just before 5 p.m., capping a marathon day of debate. The law would prohibit renters from being evicted or having their leases renewed without cause.

Sponsors of the bill claim it will protect Colorado tenants, particularly those who dread being evicted for complaining about housing conditions or other difficulties.

“You should not have to make a calculated decision in your mind of, ‘Will addressing this problem cost me my housing?'” said Sen. Nick Hinrichsen, D-Pueblo County, a Senate sponsor of the bill.

Opponents of the law argue that it will raise rents and violate landlords’ rights by requiring them to provide new leases to some tenants and limiting when they can repossess their properties.

“This violates an individual’s property rights — on their property that they own,” said Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, R-Weld County.

The bill also prohibits landlords from retaliating against renters by boosting their rent.

Supporters of the measure agree that the majority of evictions are due to nonpayment of rent; landlords can still evict someone for this reason. However, they say the law has the potential to assist thousands of other families in the state to stay in their homes.

“We’re trying to prevent a relatively small but meaningful number of evictions here in our state,” said State Rep. Javier Mabrey, who sponsored the bill in the Colorado House of Representatives.

The House approved the bill last month. It must be voted on again in the Senate before being sent back to the House, where members will examine modifications added by the Senate. If the House agrees with the amendments, the bill will be delivered to the governor.

A similar bill failed last year. Sponsors claim they restricted the scope of the law this time.

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