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Proposed Senate Bill to hold landlords accountable for timely repairs

Posted at 5:30 PM, Jan 31, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-02 21:20:56-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — A proposed bill in the Colorado State Senate would set repair deadlines for landlords. News 5 looks at what is in the proposal.

The purpose of this bill is to bring updates to Colorado’s current habitability laws, but more importantly getting landlords to make repairs preventing tenants from living in unsafe conditions.

Safe housing for residential tenants. That’s what Senate Bill 24-094 aims to bring if it becomes law. One major provision, landlords will have up to 2-weeks after they are notified by a tenant to make reasonable repairs. State law currently doesn’t require that.

"The landlord is not required to actually fix the problem. They're just required to take reasonable steps toward remedying the problem, and what this amounts to is that the problem doesn't actually have to be fixed," Rebecca Cohn.

Cohn is the head of Denver-based CED Law. She not only helped write the bill but also led the Community Economic Defense Project. A group dedicated to preventing evictions.

The proposed bill also requires landlords to document all communications with tenants about their claim, and any actions taken on the landlord’s part. Landlords must also provide a tenant with comparable temporary housing during extreme circumstances.

“We want the tenant to actually have heat restored or have the rat infestation removed from their home," Cohn says.

“I have a 2-year-old daughter. I can’t afford to have a dirty house."

Zachary Mullins knows all too well about infestations. He and his young family moved into an apartment on South Union Boulevard managed by Atlas Real Estate. He says the place they call home is crawling with cockroaches. He worries about his daughter.

“She doesn’t know the difference between what’s a bug and what is a chocolate chip," Mullins says. "So, I can’t afford to leave having anything on the ground around her.”

He says he has been asking property management for help solving this issue with no luck. He too is hoping for the passage of Senate Bill 24-094.

“I feel that it will help me being able to get my family out of this lease. Be able to get the money that we need to be able to move into a new apartment.”

News 5 contacted Atlas Real Estate with that family's concerns. Atlas Real Estate shared with us their email correspondence attempting to schedule time with a pest control company to enter the apartment. Those emails date back to December. According to the emails, the Mullins would not comply with the pest control company's requirements to fumigate the apartment, including removing furniture and allowing the company to have full access to every room in the apartment.

Atlas Real Estate says in the email that this is a violation of the lease agreements, and this is a contributing factor to starting the eviction process. Atlas Real Estate sent News 5 the following statement:

“At Atlas Real Estate, our commitment is to ensure that every resident feels secure and comfortable in their home. With our in-house maintenance team and dedicated resident resource team, we are devoted to promptly addressing any in-unit concerns that may arise. Our residents are our top priority, and we strive to do everything we can to ensure a well-maintained living environment and we take these types of complaints with great severity.”

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