Colorado Passes “Just Cause” Protections for Tenants, Requires Landlords to Provide Tenants with Reason for Eviction

Last month, lawmakers in Colorado passed “HB24-1098,” a new tenant protection law aimed at shielding renters from arbitrary and retaliatory eviction filings. By cracking down on discriminatory eviction practices, Colorado’s new law seeks to provide tenants with a sense of housing security, ensuring that tenants will not be evicted – or forcibly removed – from their residence without “good” or “just” cause. Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed the bill into law on April 19. The bill was strongly supported by tenant advocates in the state.

HB24-1098 prohibits landlords and property owners from filing to evict a tenant from their residence when they are not found to be in violation of any law. Not only does the new law require landlords and property owners to provide a tenant with a valid reason for filing for an eviction, but the law also prohibits landlords and property owners from refusing to renew a tenant’s lease or use a lease holdover as grounds for eviction. Also known commonly as “just cause” eviction standards, the state’s new “for cause” eviction standards outline specific and allowable causes for eviction, including nonpayment of rent, criminal activity, destruction or renovation of the rental unit, or other verifiable violations of a tenant’s lease agreement. For landlords and property owners who seek not to renew a tenant’s lease, moreover, at least 90 days’ notice must be given to the tenant.

HB24-1098 aims to address the negative consequences that arise from court-ordered eviction proceedings that occur without basis. In many states, a landlord does not have to provide any reason for evicting a tenant and can do so with impunity. As such, a tenant can face displacement from their home through no fault of their own. For the lowest-income and most marginalized renters, an eviction filing on a tenant’s public record can have immediate and sometimes lasting consequences. Even in situations where a tenant is found not to be at-fault during the eviction process, the mere presence of an eviction record can create a cycle of housing instability for tenants, shutting them out from accessing safe, stable, and affordable housing opportunities. 

When passed, just cause eviction laws seek to ensure long-term housing stability for renters. By establishing that a landlord and property owner can only evict a tenant for definitive causes outlined by the law, just cause protections can constrain the practice of arbitrary, informal, and illegal evictions – especially those that occur outside a court of law.

Known commonly as “informal” eviction proceedings, tenants can be effectively evicted from their homes through mechanisms such as harassing and intimidating behavior or lockouts, which include a landlord or property owner evicting a tenant from their residence by changing the locks on the property. Because informal evictions are difficult to prove in a court of law, a tenant may choose to “self-evict” or leave their residence willingly in the absence of tenant protection laws to safeguard against such practices. As such, just cause laws promote housing stability by giving tenants legal ground to defend themselves in court. Specifically, once an eviction filing has been issued against a tenant, just cause eviction protections give tenants the legal standing needed to be able to assert an affirmative defense, or a plea based in fact, by arguing that they have been evicted without due process of the law.  

With the passage of the state’s new law, Colorado becomes the eighth state nationwide to have enacted just cause protections for renters. Already in 2024, NLIHC has tracked the passage of just cause eviction laws in the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, California, New Hampshire, and New York, as well as in at least a dozen more localities nationwide, though the scope and strength of these protections vary based on state and local context. Several additional states have also introduced legislation to enact just cause eviction protections this year, including Arizona and Connecticut. New York is the most recent state to have enacted protections for tenants.

The passage of Colorado’s just cause law was widely supported by tenant advocates. The more than two-year effort to enact just cause protections for renters first culminated in a 2023 just cause bill for which tenant advocates pushed in the state’s legislature. Despite being a top-priority issue for tenant advocates, the bill failed in the state Senate after scheduling delays in the legislature caused the bill to be voted on during the final day of the legislative session, leaving insufficient time for the bill to receive the support it needed.

After six hours of debate in the Senate in the most recent 2024 session – during which lawmakers read stories from impacted tenants – the bill passed, with amendments from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. “We were excited to see the bill signed into law by the Governor a few weeks ago,” said Cathy Alderman, chief of communications and public policy officer at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, an NLIHC state partner. “The bill is a powerful measure to keep Coloradans housed by establishing reasonable and allowable reasons for when a landlord can evict a tenant and prohibiting evictions and non-renewals without cause. This law will help stem discrimination, protect households from displacement, and help mitigate the crisis of rising evictions and homelessness in our state.”

HB24-1098 is a bill that was two years in the making and will ultimately ensure that more people stay housed and avoid entering the cycle of homelessness, and we’re very grateful to the sponsors and the broad coalition of stakeholders who worked to get the bill passed,” she added.

Learn more about just cause eviction protections in NLIHC’s 2022 report “Promoting Housing Stability Through Just Cause Eviction Legislation.” The brief details the purpose of just cause eviction laws, including their role in diverting the threat of housing instability for renters at the federal, state, and local levels. Included in the brief are examples of state and localities that have passed just cause protections for renters, including a breakdown of the core components of these laws.

Learn more about Colorado’s new just cause eviction protections at: