DENVER (KDVR) — State lawmakers are one step closer to passing a bill to protect renters from being unfairly evicted.

The “just cause” eviction bill passed in the House by a vote of 38-26. The purpose of the bill is to protect renters from evictions based on a landlord’s whims, retaliation and discrimination.

One renter, Jesse, told FOX31 he has been illegally targeted by a landlord in the past.

“I’ve been paying my rent. I’ve been doing my part. But because you’re biased for some reason, feel that you have to evict me,” he said.

What would the ‘just cause’ eviction bill do?

State Rep. Javier Mabrey, of Denver, co-sponsored the bill to fight against the devastating impact of eviction.

“Those are burdens that working families really can’t keep up with,” he said, referring to the cost of paying the first and last month’s rent at a new home and moving belongings.

The bill only allows an eviction if a tenant:

  • Fails to pay rent after the landlord provides written notice
  • Commits a serious lease violation without making corrections within 10 days of receiving written notice
  • Refuses to allow the landlord to enter the property after 72 hours of written notice
  • Or refuses to sign a new rental agreement with terms that are basically identical to the current one.

Andrew Hamrick, general counsel for the Colorado Apartment Association, said the bill will end up costing renters more money and hurting landlords.

“You can’t rent somebody a piece of property if you don’t have a mechanism to get it back,” he said.

Hamrick added that the bill places a burden on the process of terminating leases.

“This bill mandates endless leases, and we already have a transaction for an endless lease: We call that a sale,” he said.

‘Just cause’ eviction bill would still allow for tenant removal

Mabrey pointed out that under the measure, a landlord can remove the tenant if they have a good reason under the law.

“There are other exemptions, right: if you want to sell, if you’re the owner of a single-family home and you want to sell then you can remove the tenant, if you want to do substantial renovations, get out of the market as a landlord, you can remove the tenant if you want to move in an immediate family member,” Mabrey said.

The bill also permits some no-fault evictions for construction or repairs, but the landlord must provide two months’ rent worth of relocation assistance or three months for low-income renters and others who qualify for special assistance.

There are certain exemptions for small landlords and short-term rentals.

Every tenant should be aware of their rights and document any problems and communication with their landlord.