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2021 Legislative Update

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Hello, and greetings from Colorado Springs. My name is Lance Kohler. I'm the president of the Cornerstone Real Estate team. Today I'd like to provide you with a legislative update and discuss two new laws that are impacting Colorado landlords. These are new requirements for landlords and property managers in Colorado. Today, I'm going to talk about Senate Bill 20-224, commonly known as the immigrant tenant protection act and House Bill 20-1332, which is commonly known as the source of income bill. Both of these went into effect on the 1st of January, 2021.

First, Senate Bill 20-224. It prohibits a landlord from engaging in activities related to a tenant’s citizenship status. I'm not a lawyer; I've said that before on our legislative updates. If you need legal advice, we highly recommend you seek a lawyer, but we want you to be aware of the bill’s provisions and seek legal advice if necessary. Violations can result in civil penalties, damages, or attorney fees.

Senate Bill 20-224 essentially prohibits a landlord from using immigration or citizenship status as a discriminating factor in determining whether you're going to rent your property to an individual. You can't demand, request, or collect information about immigration or citizenship status with one exception: if you are the tenant’s employer, you need to collect that information in order to fill out the paperwork to make them an employee. That's one exception, but as the landlord alone, you cannot collect that information. You can't disclose or threaten to disclose that information to somebody else, such as immigration or law enforcement agencies.

You can't harass or intimidate or retaliate against a tenant for using this bill. You can't influence them to surrender a property. You can't refuse to rent them a property. You cannot put requirements in your listing for the property that somebody has to be a citizen or have anything to do with their immigration status or citizenship status. And you can't bring action to recover possession of a dwelling from them based on the immigration status or citizenship status. So those are prohibited, that's what's in the bill. I'll give you a website here at the end of my video so you can read the entire bill if you so desire.

Secondly, House Bill 20-1332 is the source of income bill prohibition on discrimination in housing based on source of income and therewith making an appropriation; that's the long title. Again, I’m not a lawyer but I want you to be aware of the provisions of the bill so that you know what you can and can't do with regards to tenant screening. Violations, again, result in civil penalties fees and damages.

In short, in Colorado you cannot discriminate or not rent to someone based on the source of their income. Where that's most commonly seen or where we've seen that most commonly in the past is Section 8 housing. In most of Colorado, you were not required to accept Government subsidized or government assistance for housing payments. Now you are. So anything, any source of income (whether it's their legal occupation, whether it's somebody paying on their behalf, whether it's government or private assistance) all of that needs to be considered the same; it all counts. You can no longer refuse to rent to somebody based on the source of their income in Colorado.

You can't set any conditions or privileges. An example of that would be requiring a higher security deposit if somebody is receiving additional income or subsidized income for housing; you're not allowed to do that. You can't steer somebody to another neighborhood or to a different property based on the fact that they receive housing assistance.

This bill specifically does not prohibit you from checking credit scores. If that's part of your tenant assessment, or a part of your screening process is to check credit scores, then you're still allowed to do that. You're still allowed to look at income. You just have to consider all sources of income when you do that. A note on that, because it was spelled out in the bill summary: if you are checking credit score of a prospective applicant, you have to do that across the board. I think everybody probably already knows that; you treat every prospective applicant the same, with regards to your screening criteria. Source of income is defined in the bill as any lawful verifiable source of money paid directly or indirectly on behalf of a person, including their legal occupation, government or private assistance, a grant, or a loan program.

There are a couple exceptions. It doesn't apply to a landlord with three or fewer rental units. It doesn't apply to a landlord with five or fewer single family rental homes, and no more than five rental units. I would recommend, if you think you're an exception, that you check with legal counsel. That's what I would recommend. But we wanted to give you the summary. Again, both of those bills went into effect on the 1st of January, 2021, impacting Colorado landlords, property managers, independent rental owners. If you wanted to read the full bill, you can find it at I hope this was helpful for you. Thanks for your time. Make it a great day.