Merrifield’s tenant-protection bill gains House approval

       Colorado Rep. Michael Merrifield touted his tenant-protection bill at a town meeting in Manitou Springs City Hall Feb. 12.
       Titled HB 1061, the proposed law passed the House on third reading Feb. 16, meaning it will go to the Senate for consideration. The bill would give rights to tenants who suffer from “slumlords”- including late fees as high as $100 a day in some cases, according to the second-term Democrat state legislator whose district includes the older Westside.
       He had hoped for a discussion at the town meeting on this and other bills he has proposed this session, but a large contingent of the roughly 40 in attendance were parents who kept the focus on school issues, questioning Merrifield, the House education chair, on such issues as choice, charter schools and teacher tenure.
       After HB 1061's second-reading vote Feb. 15, Merrifield said, “I'm pleased that after 18 years of attempts, Colorado will join the rest of the nation in providing tenants with some very modest help in dealing with unscrupulous landlords. This bill will not affect the majority of landlords who treat their tenants with humanity and respect.”
       The bill would require landlords to return security deposits or a notice of reasons for retention within 30 days; require landlords to provide a copy of a lease to their tenants; prohibit landlords from levying excessive charges on late fees; require landlords to provide basic information about eviction proceedings and provide tenants case law and Colorado statute protections such as the right to notice and right to trial by jury.

Westside Pioneer article/press release