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New Eviction and Lease Termination Laws in Colorado (SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN THE LAW)

Posted May 23, 2024 in Landlord Tenant and Leasing, Real Estate

2024 brought about SIGNIFICANT OVERHAUL of lease termination and eviction law. A landlord’s ability to terminate or even non-renew a lease has significantly diminished. As discussed in our summary blog here, landlord tenant law in Colorado has seen significant change since the pandemic era.

Below we have provided a summary of the new laws that every landlord, property manager, and tenant needs to know. If you are a landlord, owner, or property manager, read carefully, and do your own research, as these changes may impact how your leases need to be drafted. And, the changes include significant penalties for non-compliance. Be forewarned: the below reading is dense.

2021 Changes (2021 Colo. S.B. 173)

Unlawful Evictions
  • Tenant may bring civil action to “restrain” landlord from unlawful removal or exclusion from the rental unit, and enjoy an award of damages, costs, attorney fees, triple damages or $5,000, and restored possession.
Updated Civil Procedure and Court Rules (see also Colorado County Court Rules of Civil Procedure)
  • Additional requirements for summons & complaint including required list of resources and document request form (See C.R.S. 13-40-111)
  • Updated pleadings rules & procedures (See C.R.S. 13-40-113)
    • Trial must be set 7-10 days after answer filed absent good cause
    • Court must order disclosure of information prior to trial
  • Tenant’s right to pay and mandatory dismissal of action; judgments (See C.R.S. 13-40-115)
  • 2021 Colo. H.B. 1121 added some language to what must appear on an FED Summons and delayed the execution of a writ of restitution to ten days after judgment for residential tenancies. (See C.R.S. 13-40-111, 122).

2023 amendments (2023 Colo. H.B. 1120)

For Tenants who disclose SSDI or Colorado Cash Works assistance.
  • New procedural laws require a signed affidavit with the eviction complaint that states whether mandatory mediation was completed as to tenants on certain disability/assistance programs (See C.R.S. 13-40-110(1)(a)).
    • Exemption: Landlords with five or fewer single-family homes and no more than five total rental units are exempt from this requirement.
  • Pre-eviction mediation required for units with non-exempt landlords where the tenant tells the landlord the tenant is on SSDI or Colorado Works programs.
  • Failure to hold a required mediation at no cost to tenant is an affirmative defense resulting in dismissal of the FED case. (See C.R.S. 13-40-110(1)).
  • Tenants on the above disability programs get 30 days delay after entry of judgment before a writ of restitution can execute.
    • Judgments involving substantial violations under C.R.S. 13-40-107.5 are exempt.
    • Landlords with five or fewer single-family homes and no more than five total rental units are exempt from this requirement.
  • Demands for possession must now include a statement to the tenant that they have a right to mediation prior to eviction if they are on SSDI or the Colorado Works Program. (See C.R.S. 13-40-106).
Remote Hearings (2023 Colo. B. 1186)
  • County court eviction participation may be remote for parties and witnesses. (See C.R.S. 13-40-113.5).
  • Pro Se parties may use the E-Filing System and have fees waived for e-filing. (See C.R.S. 13-40-113.5).
Eviction (FED) Complaint Forms MANDATORY (24 Colo. S.B. 064)
  • Amendment to C.R.S. 13-40-110 requires state provided eviction complaint forms to be used for residential evictions. (NOT SIGNED INTO LAW AS OF THIS WRITING. PASSED by Legislature 5/10/24)

2024 Changes – Cause Required for Eviction of Residential Tenant

2024 Colo. H.B. 1098 creates an entirely new statutory scheme for evictions and lease terminations/non-renewals (Codified at C.R.S. 38-12-1301 – 1307). Evictions are now either “for cause,” or “no fault.” New notice requirements exist. Importantly, Landlords are now forced to renew leases absent meeting the particular requirements and/or exceptions of the new statutory scheme. While this new system can benefit tenants who want to stay in their rental unit, freedom of contract for the landlord side, is significantly eroded.

First, Does the For Cause Eviction Statute Apply to Me?

  • The new requirements do not apply to: 1) commercial properties; 2) short-term rentals; 3) certain owner-occupied/maintained dwellings; 4) certain dwellings adjacent to the owner-occupied dwelling that meet certain criteria such as accessory unit dwellings, duplexes, or triplexes; 5) certain mobile home spaces; 6) employer housing agreements; 7) tenants who have lived in the property for less than 12 months; and 8) unknown/undisclosed tenants.

Second, If the statute applies to you, then cause is required to evict a tenant.

  • What is cause? The Statute reiterates a long list of potential causes already listed in C.R.S. 13-40-104(1) (See C.R.S. 38-12-1303).

Third, if no cause exists, certain no-fault evictions are allowed after the lease term expires.

This part of the statute appears to modify the pre-existing law on notices to quit during a lease term following the initial 12-month term, such as a month-to-month term. No-Fault Evictions allowed in certain circumstances:

  • Demolition/conversion of the premises after giving 90-day written notice to vacate;
  • Substantial repairs/renovations unrelated to habitability or retaliation after giving 90-day written notice to vacate with right of first refusal to tenant if repairs will last less than 180 days and tenant gives notice of desire to return within 10 days of receipt of 90-day notice.
  • Landlord or family member of landlord assumes occupancy of the premises after 90-day written notice and other strict criteria;
  • Landlord selling the home after giving the 90-day written notice to tenant.
  • Tenant refusal to sign new lease with reasonable terms after giving the 90-day written notice to tenant.
  • Tenant history of late rent payment (more than 2x during the lease term and more than 10 days late each time) after giving the 90-day written notice to tenant. However, if tenant pays the rent due in the cure period (typically 5 or 10 days’ notice), this does not apply.
Penalties for landlord violating the new eviction laws
  • Landlord is guilty of unlawful removal or exclusion. Tenant remedies include injunctive relief, costs, and attorneys fees + mandatory award of tenant’s actual damages and the greater of 3x monthly rent or $5,000, and restored possession. (See C.R.S. 38-12-1304; 510)
Tenant Affirmative Defense
  • For violations of the for-cause eviction statutes result, shifts burden to landlord to prove compliance with for-cause statutes, and on failure, court mandated to dismiss the case. (See C.R.S. 38-12-1306).
Anti-Retaliation Measure
  • Rent cannot be increased to retaliate or circumvent the requirements of the for-cause eviction statutes. (See C.R.S. 38-12-1307).

Amendments to Definition of Holdover/unlawful detention in C.R.S. 13-40-104(c).

  • Commercial properties and the for-cause eviction exempt residential property types listed at C.R.S. 38-12-1302 (except mobile home spaces)
    • Practically speaking, for most typical residential landlords, this means that the old notice to quit eviction process only applies when the tenant was in the property for less than 12 months.
    • Now, when a tenant is in the unit for 12 months or more, a landlord can no longer quit the lease unless certain requirements are met.
  • “Holdovers contrary to terms and conditions of the lease” has been amended to require breaches of “material” terms and conditions of a lease. (See C.R.S. 13-40-104(1)(e)).
  • Entire new section added that includes holdovers past proper no-fault eviction notices in the definition of unlawful detention. (See C.R.S. 13-40-104(1)(e.8)).
  • Entire new section added that includes tenants engaging in nuisance-like conduct that interferes with quiet enjoyment of others as well as destructive conduct, unless a victim of domestic violence (See C.R.S. 13-40-104(1)(j).

Amendments to Demands for Possession and Notices to Quit

  • Written demands/notices must have specific descriptions of the alleged violation(s) or grounds for no-fault eviction. (See C.R.S. 13-40-106). These demands or notices must be in a language that the landlord has reason to know is the primary language of the tenant.
    • Practically speaking, there is now a burden placed on the landlord to write a notice in a language that the landlord does not know.
  • Notice to Quit Statute amended significantly.
    • At will tenancy presumption is gone.
    • “Quit” is replaced with “terminate”
    • Landlord notices to terminate a tenancy under this statute apply to commercial leases or the list of residential leases excepted from the new for-cause eviction policy. In these circumstances, Landlord can notice to terminate or non-renew the lease at the end of the term within the time frames already existing in Section (2). (See C.R.S. 13-40-107).
      • Significantly, Landlord Notices to terminate a tenancy appear to now be required for any tenancy regardless of whether the lease agreement ends the tenancy on a certain date.
    • Tenant can notice to terminate any type of lease may notice to terminate at the end of the tenancy or elect to not renew by serving the notice within the applicable time frames in the statute.
      • Significantly, tenant is not required to provide the notice for fixed-term leases ending on a certain date.
  • Changes made to mobile home statutes in C.R.S. 38-12-201 et seq.
  • Notice of Conversion of rental units into Condominium Units per C.R.S. 38-33-112 after expiration of lease term with minimum 90 day notice.

CONTACT AN ATTORNEY IN COLORADO TODAY

For further information and advice regarding new landlord tenant laws or new eviction/lease termination laws, reach out to Volpe Law today to request a consultation. We can be contacted through our online form, or you call us directly at (720) 441-3328. Our team of dedicated attorneys are here to listen and identify the best legal options for you.

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