Shifting Dynamics: Changes to Landlord Eviction Rights in Colorado Under HB1098
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Shifting Dynamics: Changes to Landlord Eviction Rights in Colorado Under HB1098

Co-Authors, Brownstein Client Alert, April 29, 2024

The recently enacted HB24-1098 in Colorado introduces significant shifts in the dynamics of landlord-tenant relationships, prompting a need for careful understanding of the new regulations and procedures regarding evictions. Following similar recent legislation in California, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Oregon and Washington state, Colorado has become the sixth state to implement certain “for-cause” eviction laws. HB24-1098 was designed to protect residential tenants from arbitrary displacement and enhance safety and public health. The new law could present challenges for landlords, particularly in managing their properties and dealing with problematic tenants.


This was the second year in which the sponsors of HB24-1098 attempted to pass this for-cause eviction legislation, with this version being a narrower version from what was initially proposed. Specifically, HB24-1098 more clearly delineates what constitutes a for-cause eviction and it eliminates the requirement of landlords to provide relocation costs for tenants in certain situations, when compared to the previous version. These concessions likely contributed to the recent passage of HB24-1098.


The new standards and procedures outlined in a new Section 38-12-1301 et seq. apply to all residential premises, with specific exceptions. These limited exceptions include short-term rental properties, certain owner-occupied units, residential premises under employer-provided housing agreements, tenants who have not resided at a property for at least 12 months and tenants who are not known by the landlord as such. Presumably, the new regulations outlined in the bill do not appear to apply to tenants with lease terms shorter than 12 months, unless such tenants have been at the premises for over 12 months (i.e., by renewing a lease for an additional term).


Essentially, HB24-1098 restates the existing, comprehensive list of circumstances in which landlords are allowed to initiate evictions during the term of a lease. Some of these circumstances include the nonpayment of rent, substantial violations occurring on the premises (such as certain criminal acts or acts endangering the landlord, other occupants or property), a material violation of a lease or repeated violations after proper notice, remaining at the premises beyond the lease term, conduct constituting a nuisance that interferes with the landlord or other tenants, and negligent property damage by the tenant. 


More notably, HB24-1098 eliminates landlords’ right to decline to renew leases, except in certain situations, and instead enables tenants with the choice of whether to renew a lease. Prior to this bill, at the expiration of a lease term, a landlord had the discretion not to renew a tenant's lease for any reason, so long as it wasn't discriminatory. Under HB24-1098, landlords can no longer solely rely on lease expiration as grounds for the removal of a tenant; alternatively, tenants now have the power to decide whether they would like to renew their lease and remain at the premises.

However, there are certain situations that allow landlords to remove or not renew tenants at the expiration of a lease. These situations include: if the tenant has a history of nonpayment of rent; if the tenant refuses to sign a new lease with reasonable terms; if the landlord plans on selling, demolishing, completing substantial repairs or renovations or converting the residential premises; or if the landlord or a family member of landlord plans to use the premises as their own residence. Section 38-12-1303(3)(f) specifies late rent payments as “payments submitted more than ten calendar days after the day it is due … and the landlord provides the tenant with proper service of a written notice.” However, the bill does not further define what constitutes a “reasonable term.” A rent increase is not necessarily an unreasonable term; however, it is possible that a court could find a rent increase, depending on the amount of the increase and the motivations for the increase, to be an unreasonable term. In that case, the landlord would be prevented from evicting the tenant and could be required to maintain the lease with the tenant at the current rent amount.

Although evictions are allowed both during and at the expiration of the lease term under certain circumstances, HB24-1098 mandates that landlords must comply with specific notice procedures and other requirements (based on the circumstance) in order to perform a for-cause eviction. Such notice procedure includes a 90-day written notice to a tenant prior to the lease expiration and in certain circumstances, such as the demolition or conversion of a residential premises, the notice must include a description and timeline of the demolition or conversion and evidence of the proposed project commencement date. Tenants may cite the landlord’s failure to comply with any of the provisions of HB24-1098 as an affirmative defense in an eviction proceeding. 


The passage of HB24-1098 signals a significant shift in Colorado's rental housing landscape. As Colorado joins other states in implementing for-cause eviction laws, it highlights the ongoing efforts to tackle its own affordable housing crisis. By requiring landlords to offer lease renewals with reasonable terms upon lease expiration, the bill aims to curb unnecessary tenant displacement and prevent unreasonable rent hikes, ultimately aiding in the preservation of more affordable housing. For further clarification or assistance regarding HB24-1098 and other landlord/tenant questions, please reach out to one of the authors.

This document is intended to provide you with general information regarding HB24-1098 in Colorado. The contents of this document are not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have any questions about the contents of this document or if you need legal advice as to an issue, please contact the attorneys listed or your regular Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP attorney. This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions. The information in this article is accurate as of the publication date. Because the law in this area is changing rapidly, and insights are not automatically updated, continued accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

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