Charles serves as CCLP's Deputy Director of Research, using data and research to support our efforts to stand with diverse communities across Colorado in the fight against poverty. Staff page ›

Mar 22, 2023

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A Summary of Pro-Tenant Bills in the 2023 Legislative Session, Part 1

by | Mar 22, 2023

Protections for renters are important for Colorado. Pro-tenant policies lead to greater housing stability, particularly for our lowest income households. They also can help prevent displacement and the process of gentrification – changing the character of a neighborhood through the influx of new and affluent tenants, typically displacing the current inhabitants in the process. Keeping Coloradans housed is also the most effective way of preventing homelessness. While advocates in Colorado, including Colorado Center on Law and Policy, have expanded the protections available to tenants in our state, renters need more protections to ensure that the balance of power between them and their landlord is equitable, and that tenants feel safe and secure their homes. Legislators have introduced many pro-tenant bills during the 2023 session of Colorado’s General Assembly that will continue to move the needle towards balance between landlords and renters in our state. 

This is the first of two articles related to the Pro-Tenant Bills in the 2023 Legislative Session. 



There are few options for a person or family to stay in their home once they receive an eviction notice. Tenants often go up against landlords who are far more likely to have the time and legal representation needed to prevail in court, unlike tenants—even in instances where the facts of the case are in the tenant’s favor. We know from our own research, and a recent report from our partners at Enterprise Community Partners and the Colorado Futures Center at Colorado State University, that few renters have legal representation in eviction cases in Colorado. Yet, outcomes for renters were more likely to be in their favor when represented by a lawyer. Tenants do not have a right to an attorney in eviction cases, which is why communities like Boulder have asked voters to approve programs that ensure all tenants have a right to legal representation (the No Eviction Without Representation or NEWR effort succeeded in Boulder but failed in Denver last November).  

According to a report from the City of Boulder on their Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Services (EPRAS) program, only 20 of the city’s 88 eviction cases in 2021 resulted in an eviction. The evictions that did occur did so because the tenant either did not respond to the City’s attempt to contact them or the tenant failed to appear in court, resulting in a default eviction. The General Assembly is considering a bill that could reduce the rate of no-shows in eviction cases in Colorado. HB23-1186 Remote Participation in Residential Evictions would allow tenants and landlords to take part remotely in the proceedings. A similar policy implemented in Maricopa County, AZ lowered the failure to appear rate for eviction cases from between one-third to 40% of cases to 13%. According to a survey respondent quoted in the report, “Litigants like [being able to appear remotely] because it reduces cost for travel time and time off work. Attorneys like it because it reduces the problems associated with having to be in multiple courts on any given morning.” 

Another bill that would expand access to eviction protections for tenants in our state is HB23-1120 Eviction Protections for Residential Tenants. This bill would require landlords and tenants to participate in mediation prior to an eviction action if the tenant receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or cash assistance through Colorado’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, Colorado Works. The bill also prevents law enforcement from executing an eviction for at least 30 days after a court authorizes one. This extra time is important for SSI or SSDI recipients who may have disabilities that make finding a suitable place to move more difficult (e.g., those with limited mobility may need a home with a no-step entry), not to mention the challenges that moving to a new home in the first place may present. 

Even with greater access to legal representation or mediation and the ability to appear remotely for an eviction proceeding, it is important to recognize that many evictions never make it to court. Tenants often choose to move out of their home immediately after receiving an eviction notice, even if there is no legal basis for the eviction in the first place. Tenants may be afraid to challenge the eviction or are unaware that they have a legal right to do so. Because of the power imbalance that exists between landlords and tenants, increasing the rights and protections available to tenants prior to an eviction notice will be necessary to ensure predatory landlords do not abuse their power over tenants, leading to situations where tenants might be afraid to exercise the rights they have under state law for fear of what their abusive landlord might do in retaliation, including serving them with an eviction notice.  

This is where another important bill under consideration by the General Assembly this year comes in. HB21-1171 Just Cause Requirement Eviction of Residential Tenant defines when a landlord would have “just cause” for an eviction. Under the bill, “just cause” exists only when the tenant fails to pay rent after proper noticing of nonpayment by the landlord, the tenant commits a substantial violation of the lease agreement and does not address it within 10 days after notice, the tenant refuses to allow the landlord entry to their property even after proper noticing, or the tenant refuses to renew a lease with terms that are substantially identical to the tenant’s current rental agreement. There are conditions where a no-fault eviction can take place, such as if the landlord wishes to demolish their property or convert it to a new use, to perform substantial repairs or renovations to the property, or to live in the property themselves. Landlords that proceed with a no-fault eviction must also provide the tenant relocation assistance in the amount of 2 months’ rent plus the amount of one additional month of rent if the tenant or their family includes an individual who is less than 18 years or 60 years and older, has a household income that is equal to or less than 80% of the area median income, or includes an individual with a disability. With these guardrails in place, tenants can feel more secure in their homes knowing that they can only be legally evicted under a specific set of circumstances and that their landlord cannot use the eviction process to intimidate or retaliate against them.


Part 2 is to come later this week.

Click here for the list of 2023 Tenant Protection Legislation.

Recent articles

May Letter from Bethany Pray, Interim Executive Director

The anti-poverty movement involves hundreds of organizations that, like CCLP, take the fight to the state. Operating at the state level is an absolute necessity because many of the core laws and policies that affect access to health, housing, income, and food are...