DENVER (KDVR) — A Colorado House committee began hearings on a bill that would require “just cause” for evictions.

The bill, which passed out of committee Wednesday on a 9-4 vote, could have a big impact on both renters and landlords across Colorado.

Supporters gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday, saying it will ensure that families who pay their rent and follow the rules of their lease can stay in their homes.

Christina Morales, who was at the rally, said she was unfairly evicted from her home in Northglenn.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was still in denial. I would still reach out to my landlord and say, ‘Can you work with us?’ (But) he went through with it and I went through the court system (before being evicted),” Morales said.

Advocates say renters left with little lease protections

A group called Colorado Homes for All said that House Bill 23-1171 would prevent the displacement of families and decrease evictions.

Advocacy groups say renters have little protection and are left homeless many times at the end of their leases when they are not renewed.

“We don’t feel that what we are doing here is unreasonable. The end of the lease is particularly vulnerable for tenants, and House Bill 1171, it will provide added protection and prevent them (renters) from being evicted through no fault of their own,” District 1 state Rep. Javier Mabrey said.

A House committee began hearings on the bill Wednesday.

Industry groups concerned with eviction bill

The Colorado Association of Realtors said it has significant concerns. Among other things, the Association said the bill hinders the selling of property and negatively impacts their values.

The association said it is working with legislators to change parts of the bill.

There are other groups, too, that are not supporting the bill as it’s currently being proposed.

The Apartment Association of Metro Denver said requiring that rental housing providers enter endless leases with renters will dramatically increase the cost of renting housing.

The organizations’ full statements are below.

The committee will continue discussing this bill before it possibly goes to the Senate.

Statement: Colorado Association of REALTORS

“In the current, introduced form of House Bill 23-1171, the Colorado Association of REALTORS· (CAR) has significant concerns and holds an AMEND position to hopefully have these concerns addressed. 

“Our association members believe that there are several key elements of the current bill that need significant clarifications, amendments, and exclusions. We have been in communication with the bill sponsors and remain optimistic that our concerns will be addressed by them.  

“CAR’s key issues within the current bill language as introduced include:

  1. The bill hinders the selling of property and negatively impacts the values of those properties because of the limitations put on rental properties under this bill. Rental agreements need to be allowed to expire per the contract when a property owner wishes to sell their property. 
  2. There needs to be greater clarity around timing and circumstances surrounding court-ordered eviction process. 
  3. Current bill language is punitive in forcing housing providers to pay for relocation assistance in the amount of two months of rent.

“Again, issue #1 above is a significant sticking point for CAR and we have provided the detail below to further emphasize our Association’s concerns:

“The bill cannot hinder the selling of properties. 

  • Under this bill, property owners who rent their property – whether it is a home being rented because the owner must relocate temporarily such as a during a deployment or a new job or because the home is always a rental property – would not be able to allow a rental contract to expire so they can sell their home. They would be required to sell the property with a tenant still occupying it, which for many reasons would impact its value on the market. Homebuyers who wish to buy a home for themselves to live in will not often consider purchasing a property that has a tenant in it. Further, under this bill those new owners would be forced to evict the tenant under a “no cause” so that they could simply just live in the home they just bought and pay for that tenant to move. This is not an acceptable hinderance to the real estate transaction.
  • We strongly believe that the selling of a rental property should be included as a reason to allow for the termination of a rental contract. California, which passed similar legislation in 2020 allows for the withdrawal of a property from the rental market as a reason for termination of an agreement.”

Statement: Apartment Association of Metro Denver

“By requiring that rental housing providers enter into endless leases with their renters, HB 23-1171 will dramatically increase the cost of renting housing. We already have a transaction for an endless lease – we call it a sale and it is much more expensive. If one person wants to borrow a housing unit from another person for a year, it cost on average about $1,800 a month. If on the other hand, they want the unit forever, it cost on average about $577,000. As you can imagine, people will be far less inclined to loan another person a home if there is no way to get it back,” reads a statement from Drew Hamrick, senior vice president of government affairs for the Apartment Association of Metro Denver.