Bill suppressing eviction records clears Colorado House

Politics
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DENVER -- A bill suppressing eviction records is moving closer to becoming law in Colorado. Pending legislation would prevent a vast amount of eviction records from becoming public. The proposal would make it easier for tenants to find apartments moving forward. Landlords have mixed reviews on the bill.

Currently, filing an eviction creates a public court record. Even if the case is eventually dismissed, the filing can still haunt someone trying to find an apartment.

“Having a safe and affordable place to live, I believe, is the cornerstone to being self-sufficient,” said Democratic state Rep. Dominique Jackson of Aurora.

Jackson, who is sponsoring the bill, is on a mission to eliminate what she calls discriminatory barriers that prevent Coloradans from finding adequate housing. Her eviction fairness bill recently passed the Colorado House of Representatives. Her bill would prevent landlords from seeing previous eviction filing records unless a tenant is officially ordered evicted by a judge.

“The problem is that some of these tenant screening reports do not distinguish between an eviction that’s been filed versus an eviction that’s been ordered,” said Jack Regenbogen, senior attorney with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.

Even if an eviction is secured, the legislation would allow a landlord and tenant to come to an agreement after the fact to suppress the records.

“It’s not the worst,” said William Bronchick, president of the Colorado Landlord's Association.

Bronchick doesn't have many concerns, but he does see at least one issue in suppressing eviction filings.

“That paper trail of constant nonpayment is something that a new landlord wants to see about their prospective tenant,” Bronchick said, referring to people who make a habit of paying rent late.

The bill has primarily Democratic support with some Republicans also signing on. Those who have faced eviction, who are pushing for the bill, preferred privacy over talking on camera to FOX31 about their experiences.

The bill is set to go to the state Senate before heading to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk.

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