Colorado bill would extend notice for rent increases, ending contracts and vacating rentals | SteamboatToday.com

Colorado bill would extend notice for rent increases, ending contracts and vacating rentals

— When landlord Matt Patterson contemplated raising the monthly cost for a four-bedroom home he rents out in Steamboat II, he gave his tenants six months notice of the change as a courtesy.

"I wanted them to be aware that as the house ages and the more I rent it, I have to raise the rent for maintenance purposes," said Patterson, who manages the rental from Arkansas. "I'm a good landlord, and I want to treat people fairly."

Patterson's six-month notice to raise the rent from $2,200 to $2,400 was not only generous, it was significantly more than the current seven-day notice landlords are required to give under Colorado law.

A new bill introduced in the Colorado Senate in March would extend the state's notification period to raise rent or terminate tenancy for month-to-month tenants from seven days to 21 days.

The bill also requires renters to provide 21 days notice to a landlord before deciding to move.

Patterson said he also informally asked his tenants for two months notice if they choose to move instead of accepting the rent increase, though tenants in Colorado without contracts specifying otherwise are only required to provide seven days notice.

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While Patterson's contract with his tenants specifies a 30-day notice by either party to amend or change the terms of the agreement, not all tenants and renters abide by such contracts and instead fall under the state's rules.

Senate Bill 245 was introduced March 16 with bipartisan sponsorship from Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, and Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, and was assigned to the Senate Local Government Committee. Bill language was developed by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.

According to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, 47 states currently require more than seven days notice for changes to month-to-month tenancies, with most requiring 30 days and some requiring longer.

"Legislators from both sides of the political aisle recognize the growing problem that our state's affordable housing shortage is imposing on their constituents," said Claire Levy, executive director of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, in a news release. "While lawmakers are limited in what they can do to solve the problem, SB 245 could ease some of the challenges faced by those who are vulnerable in Colorado's rental market."

Broker and owner Tara Weaver with Central Park Management said she's noticed tenants reaching out to the company earlier and earlier to learn about the future of their rental, because of Steamboat Springs' tight rental market.

"Most people are good about calling us quite early to find out what's going on with their lease," Weaver said. "More and more we're seeing tenants reaching out earlier, because they do want to ensure they're staying in a property."

Weaver said most owners choose to do some type of rent increase each time a contract is renewed, with increases typically at 3 percent, unless homeowners association dues or other costs have also increased.

Patterson said he's had tenants try to move out on short notice without paying their final month of rent, and he's supportive of any measure that leads to landlords and tenants communicating about the future of a rental as early as possible.

"More time for everyone is better," Patterson said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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