These are all of the Housing bills proposed in the 2019 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.

None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about the bill.  If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.

Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in []. They are color-coded by party.

Some bills will have text highlighted in pink or highlighted in orange. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium, Minor, and Technical. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.

Senate

Click on the Senate bill title to jump to its section:

MAJOR

SB19-180: Eviction Legal Defense Fund

MEDIUM

MINOR

HB19-1011 Scope of Manufactured Home Sales Tax Exemption (Tate) [Hooton] TECHNICAL BILL

From Statutory Revision Committee

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Fixes the definition of factory built housing in a sales tax bill passed last year. It was pointing to the wrong place in statutes that limited its application.

Long Description: n/a

HB19-1075 Tax Credit Employer-Assisted Housing Pilot Program [Wilson]

AMENDED: Minor

PASSED A HOUSE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Creates a pilot program for employer-assisted housing projects in rural areas. Gives a state income tax credit between 2019 and 2023 for donations made to a sponsor that is solely used for costs of an employer-assisted affordable housing activity in a rural area.  Amount of credit is 20% and limited to $400 in a year. Affordable is defined targeting household with less than 120% of the median income of the area.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Affordable housing is a crisis in many parts of Colorado, and the ability to find a home near work becomes even more difficult in rural areas. This program tests out the theory that offering this tax incentive for employer-assisted housing will help alleviate this problem in the state’s rural areas. Employer-assisted housing is an increasingly popular way for employers to retain employees, and usually consists of help with rent or mortgage payments. This has the potential to be a win-win-win: a win for employers keeping employees happy and housed near work, a win for employees getting affordable housing, and a win for the state.

Arguments Against:

The amount of this tax credit is not enough to spur the large scale investments required to truly make a dent in affordable housing. Limiting it even further by requiring it goes to employer-assisted housing makes it even less likely to make the difference we need. Finally, limiting it to rural areas ignores the substantial affordable housing crisis we have in non-rural areas of the state. All of these limits adds up to not enough of an impact.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1075

HB19-1078 Landowner Consent Listing National Register [Lewis]

AMENDED: Moderate (requires repassage in House)

PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE

Short Description:

Requires the state historical society to obtain the approval of each owner of the land and property described that provided private information or let people onto their property to gather information prior to making a multiple property form submission request to the keeper of the national register of historic places. Right now only a majority is required under federal law and there is a backdoor on multi-property forms where people's private information can become publicly visible without their consent.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

The listing of your property on a national, publicly visible database is something every property owner should have veto power over. In addition, the federal government isn't doing its job to make sure property owners have consented to having their property placed on the registry, individual property owners have had their property improperly presented to the registry and their information made public.

Arguments Against:

There are many benefits to being listed, including access to multiple tax credits and codes. Listing does nothing to the owner’s property rights, they are free to sell, alter, or demolish the property. So we should not let the view of one owner potentially derail the desires of the rest. As for the problems with the federal listing, the issue that this bill identities is with a form that does not actually enact the listing. There is a separate form that does that, and that is what requires the property owner's consent.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1078

HB19-1098 Deeds to Convey Real Property (Lee) [Gray]

AMENDED: Technical

SIGNED INTO LAW

Short Description:

Allows licensed title companies to prepare deeds for the conveyance of real property. Any deed prepared by a title company containing a warranty must include a limitation on the warranty of title and use the phrase “subject to statutory exceptions.” Currently only licensed real estate brokers can do this, although they can (and do) delegate the authority to a title company. The broker is then liable.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Title companies are a natural fit to do this without needing a broker, and it makes sense that the title company should be liable for errors, not the broker, which this bill will allow. We’re basically already operating in this world, except that right now brokers, who are not the true experts when compared to title companies, are being put in a supervisory role.

Arguments Against:

Real estate brokers are the point of contact for the buyer and seller when it comes to property. They are generally the ones selecting the title company and the consumer should be able to hold the broker, the person the consumer has placed trust in, responsible for the process, not some 3rd party forced on them at the end of the process.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1098

HB19-1106 Rental Application Fees (Pettersen) [Titone, Gonzales-Gutierrez]

AMENDED: Moderate (requires repassage in House)

PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Limits the rental application fee to cover the landlord’s costs for processing the application and requires disclose of how the fee will be used to the prospective tenant. Forbids charging different fees for different units at the same time. Also requires the landlord to provide written notice of their selection criteria and grounds for rejection prior to accepting applications or fees, and forbids them from considering any rental or credit history beyond seven years in the past. Any leftover funds in the fee must be returned to the applicant. Also requires a notice of any adverse action on their application and the reasons for it. Violating any of these provisions causes liability of twice the rental fee charged plus court costs and reasonable attorney fees.

Long Description: N/A

Arguments For:

First, this provides a check on using someone’s distant past to deny housing. This is important for people who had bad credit but have turned things around. For fees, this limits the ability of landlords to abuse the application process. Fees should not be profit centers, but only cover costs. Also, tenants have the right to know beforehand what the criteria is, so that they will not waste their own money (and the landlord’s time) on futile efforts. Finally, the requirement for notice of adverse action keeps everyone honest: no rejecting applicants for invalid reasons like race or lifestyle and no phantom adjustments to the typical rental agreement for no reason.

Arguments Against:

This is a cumbersome process that is not necessary and an infringement on the rights of the landlord. First, they should be able to judge for themselves what risk someone’s complete credit history poses, the landlord is the one who will be on the hook if someone cannot or will not pay. Obviously they are already required to follow all discrimination laws for housing. They should also be allowed to set their own fees and keep their own standards. This bill may create grist for frivolous lawsuits over fees and so called adverse action notices.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1106

HB19-1118 Time Period to Cure Lease Violation (Williams) [Jackson, Galindo]

AMENDED: Moderate

PASSED HOUSE

Short Description:

Changes the number of days a landlord must wait before initiating eviction proceedings based on failure to pay or violation or violation of a lease agreement, other than substantial violations. Currently it is 3 days from the notice date, this bill changes it to 14 10. It also exempts employer provided housing. It also forbids landlords from automatically evicting someone for any subsequent violation of the lease agreement (without giving the lessee a chance to fix the violation). Landlords are still allowed to evict someone without allowing them to fix their violation if the violation is the same as a previous violation. In this case the landlord must give 14 10 days notice of eviction.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

This gives tenants who make a mistake a chance to stay in their home. Three days is a ridiculously small amount of time, particularly if the problem is rent, to fix a problem. Landlords can still get rid of tenants who have the same problem twice (most likely fail to pay their rent on time twice), but previously no notice was required at all, so someone could be out on the street the same day they found out about their eviction.

Arguments Against:

14 10 days is too long to expect landlords to go without receiving rent or to allow a violation of the lease agreement, which may be something that bothers other tenants. Three days is a sufficient amount of time for someone to find out about a problem and fix it, this is a business and a legal document someone has agreed to, not a charity.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1118

HB19-1135 Clarify Income Tax Credit for Retrofitting a Home [Gray] TECHNICAL BILL

AMENDED: Technical

PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Clarifies that the income tax credit for retrofitting a residence is available for changes made that benefit a qualified individual’s dependent.

Long Description: n/a

HB19-1170 Residential Tenants Health and Safety Act (Williams, Bridges) [Jackson, Weissman]

AMENDED: Minor (requires repassage in House)

PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE COMMITTEE

Short Description:

Modifies the conditions for a breach of the implicit guarantee in every rental agreement that the property is fit for human habitation, the method for notifying the landlord, and the time limits for the landlord to address the problem. It also adds mold and absence of functioning appliances (if they are part of the property agreement) as breaches. Also removes all exceptions to this habitability guarantee, requires landlords to house tenants in reasonable comparable units or pay for housing in a temporary location until property is habitable again, and allows tenants to deduct rent in certain circumstances, terminate a rental agreement, and have easier access to the court system.

Long Description:

Modifies the conditions for a breach of the implicit guarantee in every rental agreement that the property is fit for human habitation, the method for notifying the landlord, and the time limits for the landlord to address the problem. Uninhabitable, under the bill, is a combination of meeting the conditions for uninhabitability and the landlord receiving notice but not commencing remedial action within 24 hours if the condition is dangerous and 72 hours for all other breaches. The bill expands notification to include electronic notification. It also adds mold and absence of functioning appliances (if they are part of the property agreement) as breaches. Also removes all exceptions to this habitability guarantee (previously could have language in rental agreement that required acceptance by the tenant of some habitability responsibilities and mobile home parks, single family residential premises, and four or fewer units sharing common walls were also exempt), requires landlords to house tenants in reasonable comparable units (previously was up to landlord) or pay for housing in a temporary location until property is habitable again, and allows tenants to deduct rent in certain circumstances, terminate a rental agreement, and have easier access to the court system. Rent deduction can occur if the landlord takes no action to repair the problem. The tenant must provide 10 days’ notice and at least one estimate of the cost to repair the issue. That is the amount that can be deducted from rent if the tenant repairs the problem by utilizing an unrelated professional (cannot do themselves, except for single-home properties where the two parties agree the tenant can do the repairs). Landlord can provide own estimate, but must be from a professional not related to the landlord. If the same condition reoccurs within 6 months then the tenant can terminate the rental agreement with 14 days notice.


Arguments For:

First, mold is a dangerous condition and deserves to be on this list, as does basic appliances which are necessary to live in the 21st century like a refrigerator. Second, the previous regime left way too much latitude in the hands of the landlord, who could decide for themselves if they wanted to house the tenant somewhere else(!) and could still merrily collect rent while do nothing while the tenant struggled through the court system to get relief. This bill requires landlords live up to the basic idea that all of their tenants have the right to live in a habitable space and if the landlord fails to keep up their end of the bargain, gives tenants the tools they need to force relief.

Arguments Against:

This bill goes too far in the wrong direction, by forcing landlords to become real estate agents if their tenants have a problem and the landlord doesn’t have any empty units, to deal with trigger-happy tenants who don’t understand that you can’t always get a repair person out immediately if the problem is more obscure, and to fix appliances in three days.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1170

HB19-1212 Recreate Homeowners' Association Community Manager Licensing [Titone, Duran]

Goal: To recreate the homeowners’ association community manager licensing program and implement the changes recommended in the 2017 sunset review report.

Description:

Recreates the licensing program for community association managers as it existed prior to sunsetting last year through 2024. Implements the recommendations of the state department of regulatory agencies’ sunset review report to: allow some functions to be done by non-licensed people, scaling back supervision of apprentices, and removing acceptance of some private credentials as licensure qualifications and substituting specification by division of real estate director. Also creates a seven member advisory committee.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

From the 2017 sunset review report, “Community Association Managers have access to association funds, which is often in the millions of dollars. An association relies on these funds to ensure the common areas, facilities and, in some cases, buildings are well maintained, and the loss or mismanagement of these funds can be devastating to a community. As a result, the owners may suffer large assessments in order to bring the reserves up to an amount necessary to pay for the daily operation of the community, which may include water bills, trash removal, landscaping and professional services, not to mention necessary upkeep such as repainting buildings, replacing old roofs, repairing driveways and any emergency situations that may arise. Ensuring Community Association Managers do not steal or mishandle association funds is an important reason to regulate the industry.” In just two years of running the program two managers and one management entity were disciplined for theft. Not renewing this was a mistake last year.

Arguments Against:

This was not renewed last year because the situation doesn’t rise high enough to warrant the burdensome regulations of licensure. Of course theft is a problem, but we don’t require licensure in every case where theft is a possibility (and we have plenty of laws on the books to deal with theft). In fact, the sunset review report noted, the majority of enforcement actions were related to unlicensed activity, which is not a compelling reason to regulate an occupation or industry. Licensure is not the answer here.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1212

HB19-1228 Increase Tax Credit Allocation Affordable Housing (Zenzinger, Tate) [Bird, Titone]

Goal: To increase the amount of affordable housing in the state by increasing available tax credits.

Description:

Doubles the annual cap on allowable tax credits from the state for affordable housing from $5 million to $10 million.

Additional Information: n/a

Arguments For:

We continue to have an affordable housing crisis in Colorado. Rent has risen 50% in Denver since 2010 and 50% of renters in the entire state spend more than 30% of their income on rent. As of last summer Denver had an estimated 32,000 unit housing shortage. And yet single-family homes are being built at the slowest rate in 40 years nationwide. We have never really recovered from the great recession when it comes to housing construction, which leads to a lack of inventory which leads to higher prices. So we need to do more to encourage affordable housing construction and expanding the tax credit cap should do just that by helping to lower costs for developers.

Arguments Against:

Rather trying to throw money and run away from this problem, we should be spending money to get at its roots in restrictive zoning, construction requirements, and shortage of construction labor. Make it easier to build large multi-unit dwellings for less money and we’ll see more housing. Dribbling out a few more million each year in tax credits may not have an appreciable effect.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1228

HB19-1245 Affordable Housing Funding From Vendor Fee Changes [Weissman]

Goal: To increase funding for the state housing fund and affordable housing, by lowering amount of sales tax vendors keep.

Description:

Raises the overall percentage of state sales tax vendors keep from 3.33% to 4% but puts a $1,000 monthly cap on the amount vendors can keep. The extra money remitted as a result goes to the state housing fund and is exempt from Colorado Regional Tourism Act. The bill requires the fund to spend 33% of this money on affordable housing projects for households whose annual income is 30% or less of the area’s median income.

Additional Information:

Vendors with multiple locations are required to submit under one account with department of revenue. $1,000 cap applies regardless of number of separate locations. Changes in state vendor fee do not apply to local governments that use the state fee for their own. $1 million is appropriated from general fund to make software changes necessary to implement the bill.

Arguments For:

50% of Colorado rentals statewide are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of income on housing. Independent analysis shows that we are facing a deficit of over 20,000 housing units until at least 2025. So we have a definite housing crisis, and it is well-known. We need more housing of all sorts and in particular more affordable housing. Where to get it is interesting. Colorado is one of the few states that does not have a cap on the sales tax vendor fee. Right now, large companies with millions in sales get to keep that 3.3% no matter how high their sales get. And it’s a very small number of companies that are benefitting from this: fewer than 2% of all Colorado retailers retain nearly 67% of all of the vendor fees: more than $50 million annually. Rather than lining the pockets of big businesses, this bill takes that money and puts it to work for Colorado in our housing market which in addition to creating more housing also injects the money back into the state economy. As a side-benefit, the rate actually increases for all of the smaller businesses that aren’t bumping up against this cap anyway.

Arguments Against:

There is no such thing as free money, so the money that is being taken away from businesses in the form of higher sales tax requirements may come right out consumer’s wallets in the form of higher prices. The bill also has no self-correcting mechanism if we reach a time where housing is not a major problem in Colorado. We also have enormous education and transportation funding needs in this state.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1245

SB19-180 Eviction Legal Defense Fund (Winter) [McCluskie]

Goal: To get representation for indigent Coloradans facing eviction legal proceedings.

Description:

Creates a state grant program to fund qualifying nonprofits that offer legal advice, counseling, and representation to indigent clients (income does not exceed 200% of federal poverty line) who are experiencing an eviction or at immediate risk of one. Appropriates $750,000 for the fund.

Additional Information:

Nonprofits must be Colorado-based, have demonstrated experience in this area, and obtain more than 33% of its funding from sources other than grants from this fund. Money from the fund can be used for: legal representation for evictions; establishing clinics to educate indigent clients about eviction proceedings; legal information and advice to indigent tenants; referring clients to appropriate people or agencies for housing problems; and mediation services between indigent clients and landlords.


Arguments For:

There is no constitutional right to counsel in civil cases. Legal counsel can provide significant help to renters who are facing an eviction. Counsel can be critical in facilitating a resolution that allows tenants to remain in their homes, arrange additional time to find another home, or keep a judgment off a tenant's record. Yet there were nearly forty-five thousand evictions filed in Colorado in 2017 and a study of Denver evictions found that the landlord had legal representation almost 90% of the time while the tenants had legal representation in fewer than 1% of cases. There is less than one civil legal aid attorney available for every thirty thousand people in poverty in Colorado, which ranks us 46th in the country. This is a clear problem related to one of the most important aspects of any person’s life: secure housing. An eviction makes it harder for someone to find housing in the future, which ends up costing taxpayers money through shelters, hospitals, mental health care, and juvenile delinquency. Denver itself is running a pilot program and so far the results are very positive. We need to bring this state-wide.

Arguments Against:

What ever happened to personal responsibility? Eviction isn’t just something that happens, landlords do it to tenants that are violating rules or not paying on-time. The state should not be using taxpayer money to try to bail out people who are unable to provide for themselves to such an extent that they cannot stay within a landlord’s rules.

This doesn’t provide enough funding. The bill cites a study in Philadelphia that found that $3.5 million spent on legal defense in eviction proceedings would save the city $45.2 million. So why are we only spending $750,000?

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-180