BARHA Hot Topics
We are always up to date with the world of housing and rentals. Be in the know. Our resource page will provide important information about issues that are currently impacting YOU as an independent rental owner or property manager. Our organization is a powerful voice in the Boulder Area that works together to influence legislation in the rental housing industry. Join us to be a part of that voice.
Conversations about rent control have been coming up again in Colorado, most recently at the Colorado legislature. This is a reflection of rising prices and scarcity of housing in certain markets. Politicians and citizens alike are looking for ways to help people find more affordable housing. For some, rent control seems like an easy answer. While the goal of rent control is positive, it has a lot of negative outcomes. Rent control leads to a reduction in the supply of housing, driving prices further up. To learn more about rent control and its effects check out these links below:
Warranty of Habitability
Every lease agreement carries with it an implied warranty of habitability. That is, the landlord warrants to the tenant that the premises leased to the tenant for the purpose of habitation is in fact suitable for human habitation. This does not need to be written in your lease in order to be in effect; the implied warranty of habitability is implied in every lease agreement. Every landlord is required to fulfill certain requirements that make the rental property fit for human habitation. (Colorado Revised Statutes § 38-12-503).
Recently Colorado House Bill 19-1170 was signed which alters the Colorado Warranty of Habitability Act (WHA) initially enacted in 2008. See section below (New State Laws That Impact You) to view the bill. If you have questions, call us. We help members understand new laws and the impact that they have on your business.
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional Support Animals are a big topic for independent rental owners and property managers these days. We field numerous calls on the topic each week.
Fair Housing laws, unlike the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which covers places open to the public, requires housing providers to allow qualified individuals with disabilities reasonable accommodation for both types of Assistance Animals: service and companion animals. Under the ADA, only true service animals, which the U.S. Department of Justice defines as mainly dogs, are allowed. However, under the Fair Housing laws, both service and companion animals are allowed if an individual with a disability qualifies for these animals as a reasonable accommodation. “Emotional support” or “therapy” animals are the same as “companion” animals and must be given the same consideration as service animals. Further, unlike the ADA, not only are companion animals allowed, but they do not have to be limited to dogs.
- Colorado House Bill 16-1426
Landlord’s Guide to Handling Tenant Requests for Assistance Animals written by Cindy Manzano, attorney at law
The city of Boulder originally passed this ordinance in 2003. Any property that has gotten a building permit since then most likely has complied but staff understood that there were significant properties not in that category that may not be aware of the law. The law went into effect November of 2018, with enforcement starting in November of 2019.
This ordinance requires exterior lighting to meet “brightness” standards that move to eliminate light pollution. Exterior lighting will have to ultimately be replaced if lights shine upward and/or glass enclosures release light pollution that exceeds the standards set forth in the ordinance (equivalence to a 60 watt bulb). See links below for more information.
If you are renting a condo, no worries. Thanks to BARHA, staff now understands that in a condo situation most folks do not have control over the exterior lighting. So if you do not have control over it, you are not responsible for it. If you are a member, please email and call and let me know if you have questions. We are happy to help. If you are not a member, JOIN NOW!!
New State Laws that Impact YOU
We have been seeing lots of changes that impact us with recent legislation. We work hard to continually update our members about new laws and current issues in the rental industry.
Members- Be sure to review your summer newsletter for details on how these newest laws effect you. Contact our Executive Director, email@example.com, if you need a copy. We have also made changes to our lease and forms. Be sure you are using the information that we sent out in July!
Be a Better Boulder Area Landlord- Info You Need
Being an independent rental property owner or property manager in the Boulder area can be overwhelming. We provide valuable pieces of information to help keep you educated and up to date on topics that impact you. We also provide assistance to help you navigate the process of being a landlord. Join us to take advantage of all aspects of membership including:
- Education: Enjoy our monthly luncheons (held Sept-May) on the second Thursday of the month. These events will keep you informed about current management practices and local, state and federal laws pertaining to our industry. Luncheons are from 12-1:45 pm at the Avalon Building, 6185 Arapahoe Rd, Boulder, CO.
- Information: You will receive our “Dwellings” newsletter 10 times per year. Be sure to review it for current industry news, tips and the Vendor Yellow Pages. We also provide forms and information that are key to succeeding as a landlord or property manager in Boulder County- including a lease and multiple addendums.
- Advocacy: Take a look at all that BARHA has accomplished and be an active participant in city council meetings and campaigns! Help our Government Affairs Coordinator influence local issues.
- Connection: Work with our industry partner members who provide vital services for our industry. Connect with other owner members who have common goals and concerns at our community building/networking events.
Contact us today! Executive Director: Jennifer Crowell, firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Boulder Rental Licensing and Renewal
Did you know that all rental properties are required to be licensed in the City of Boulder? If it seems overwhelming or you just have questions, BARHA can help! We help our members navigate this process.
The City of Boulder requires a rental license for all rental properties in the city. If a property is occupied by a family member of the owner then no license is needed. The only other exception is if a property is going to be rented for no more than one year, with the owners returning to reside on the property after a year, then no rental license is required.
In 2004 BARHA worked hard with the City of Boulder to create a new rental inspection program. This new program was a great improvement over the old system. Currently a baseline inspection is required in order to get a license and the inspection is based upon a fixed checklist of items that are inspected. All inspections are conducted by professionally trained, professional inspectors who are hired directly by the property owner/manager. Additional safety/mechanical inspections are then required every four years, again based upon a fixed inspection checklist. At the time a property is sold, a baseline inspection must be redone in order for the new owner to get a new rental license. Often the new baseline inspection can be combined with a property inspection done for a potential buyer. If you need help finding the right inspector, we can help. BARHA provides a directory of vendors for our members which includes industry partners in who can assist with every aspect of rental housing.
The city of Boulder has specific laws when it comes to how many unrelated people can live in a rental dwelling. Maximum occupancy is determined by zoning district. Property owners, managers and tenants are responsible for knowing the allowed legal occupancy. Advertisements for rental units also must state the maximum number of unrelated occupants. There are fines for violations of the code.
Every operator of any property with fewer than five dwelling units, shall at the time any dwelling unit is shown to any prospective renter, post conspicuously on the inside of the main entrance to each dwelling unit a sign listing a maximum occupancy number that shall be no greater than the maximum number of unrelated individuals permitted.
SmartRegs is a program through the City of Boulder that requires rental property owners to have a certain level of energy efficiency in their property. It was implemented in 2011 and all licensed rental properties had to comply by Dec. 31, 2018. If people are seeking a new rental license in 2019 or after, they need to prove SmartRegs compliance as part of the rental license application process. Property owners can comply with the energy efficiency requirements by following one of two pathways to compliance. They can use either the prescriptive path or the performance path.
The rental licenses for all licensed rental properties that did not pass a SmartRegs inspection before the end of 2018 expired on Dec. 31, 2018. Until the property reaches SmartRegs compliance, you will not be able to receive or renew a rental license at the start of 2019 and beyond. The discovery of an unlicensed rental property will result in legal action.
The City of Boulder has calculated the interest rate for tenant security deposits for the 2019 calendar year to be 0.75 percent, up from 0.16 percent. The new rate is effective Sunday, Jan. 1, 2019, and is the highest rate since 2009.
The tenant security deposit interest rate is recalculated each year in accordance with Ordinance 7320, which was adopted on Feb. 17, 2004. The rate is the average of the one-year certificate of deposit from the top three financial institutions in Boulder, based on market share data as of Dec. 15, 2018.
The computation formula of the interest due for residential security deposits in the City of Boulder is: Multiply the entire amount of the security deposit by the appropriate multiplier for that year, divide that number by 12 to obtain a monthly percentage amount due, and then multiply that monthly number by the number of months the deposit was in the landlord’s possession, including the 30 or 60 days after the end of the lease. The rate in effect at lease signing is in effect for that lease period, until termination or renewal for another period. Month to month leases are considered renewed each month, so the interest rate due will change on the first of every calendar year for month to month leases.
Six Day Review:
During student move-in and move-out times in May and August, properties in the special trash service zone which is defined as: the area included within Ninth Street, Baseline Road, Broadway, and Arapahoe Avenue, and the area included within Fifteenth Street, Folsom Avenue, Arapahoe Avenue, and Canyon Boulevard are required to have contract with a trash hauler for additional trash pick-up during those time periods. As a member of BARHA, you will receive an announcement each spring and fall for the specific dates.
Within the special trash service zone and during a designated period, no owner of property required to be licensed by Section 10-3-2, “Rental License Required Before Occupancy and License Exemptions,” B.R.C. 1981, shall fail to maintain in effect a current and valid contract with a commercial trash hauler providing for the removal of accumulated trash from the property, which contract provides for trash hauling:
(1) The hauler will check the regular trash containers for the property every day, excluding Sundays and holidays.
(2) The recyclables hauler will check the regular recycling containers for the property at least two times per week during the city manager’s designated consecutive days in the third quarter of the calendar year.
(3) Any trash container which is full Monday through Friday will be emptied by the hauler. On Saturdays, containers will be emptied if more than half full.
(4) Any trash which is on the ground or otherwise near the container is picked up by the hauler.
(5) Any recycling container which is more than half full when checked will be emptied by the recyclables hauler.
Bear Protection Ordinance
If you own property in the area bounded between the west side of Broadway Street and the city’s western boundary, the City’s southern boundary, and a line extended from Sumac 15 Avenue due west through Wonderland Lake Park you are in the Bear Protection Zone. Properties in the Bear Protection Zone must have all trash and compost secured from bears at all times until collected by a waste hauler. The city of Boulder has been strict on enforcement if trash cans are not secured at all times. Fines start at $100.00 per violation and go up to $500 for the third offense.