May 9, 2019
Impact of the 2019 Legislative Session
This year’s legislative session was challenging for real estate because landlord/tenant issues were in the bull’s eye. Democrats didn’t have the votes to get these bills through the General Assembly in the past, but this year, holding the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the time was right. CAR’s strategy was to support bills that improve housing affordability without doing harm to our industry.
CAR’s lobbyists worked diligently getting the votes to kill bills that were dangerous for our industry such as the rent “stabilization” (control) bill, SB-225 that would’ve allowed local governments to legislate rent prices. CAR’s Call to Action on the bill was very helpful in putting pressure on legislators to stop this bill’s progress. Unfortunately, the bill’s sponsor has already proclaimed her intent to bring the bill back in 2020.
Bills that could not be halted were at least modified to limit their negative impact. For example, HB-1118, “Time Period to Cure Lease Violation” increases the amount of time a landlord is required give a tenant from three days to ten to “cure” a violation for unpaid rent or vacate the property due to a lease violation. CAR opposed the bill but could not stop its passage. However, our lobbyists were able to add important amendments to the bill: single-family homes owned by a property owner with five or fewer rental homes receive more leniency under the new law, which allows our vulnerable military and elderly families the ability to protect their savings and investments on their fixed incomes or sudden mobility change in circumstances as they serve our nation honorably.
This year’s warrant of habitability bill, HB-1170 “Residential Tenants Health and Safety Act” revises current law, which presumes that every rental agreement between a landlord and a tenant carries an implicit guarantee that a residential property is fit for human habitation. HB-1170 modifies the conditions that trigger a breach of the warranty of habitability, establishes a process for the tenant and landlord to deal with any potential safety problems with the premises, and creates time limits for the landlord to address defective conditions within a reasonable time frame.
CAR worked with the bill sponsors to find common ground on defining the types of conditions that would trigger property owner responsibilities to mitigate any safety concerns for the resident and help define a time period that allows the property owner to properly address these concerns with any potential work that must be completed to improve the habitability for a resident.
Of course, CAR also took positions on other bills that relate to real estate and economic development/quality of life issues. SB-181 “Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations” was one of the most controversial bills of the session. CAR opposed this bill and REALTORS® testified on its potential negative impacts on the housing market. Lobbyists worked to amend the bill so that local governments in anti-oil and gas areas like Boulder County, would not have the authority to control operations in Weld County, for example, where the industry is a key economic driver and job creator.
CAR supported two bills to amend the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) that referred measures to the November 2019 ballot. These bills will ask voters to allow the State to keep excess revenue that would otherwise be refunded to taxpayers in order to help fund education and transportation, which are significant issues for our industry. of great importance in our industry.