What to know about your rights as a renter.
Colorado is in the midst of one of the most epic housing booms in recent history. The inventory for new homes is at an all time low, which means that the cost of home ownership has become unattainable for either the short term (best case scenario) or the long term (worst case scenario). In addition to those households who are not seeking home ownership as an option at this time are those individuals who seek out renting or leasing a space as a viable and, in most case, preferred option for the long haul.
Many homeowners are aware of the rights and responsibilities that are inherent in owning a house. This can run the gamut from obligations to Homeowner Associations or Covenant Controlled Communities (no bright orange houses, no cars on the street, and no unkept lawns), liabilities for injuries and losses that occur in the home (what happens when Uncle Oliver accidentally sets the garage on fire after deep frying a turkey), and basic necessities such as clearing a sidewalk of ice and snow after a storm or taking care of trees and nuisance weeds.
The protections of renters and lessees have oftentimes been absent when it comes to the overall discussion of rights and responsibilities, mainly because of the errant belief that there are no protections available to individuals who do not own the place that they call home. This is untrue, and can ultimately harm tenants who are unaware of the rights that are afforded to them as a renter.
The following renter's guide, provided by the talented team of attorneys and ancillary support staff from New Mexico Legal Aid, contains a lot of useful and important information that all renters should be aware of. Although this guide is specific to residents of New Mexico, a lot of the information in the guide is applicable to other states. A quick call to your state Legal Aid office can point you in the right direction, and can help you access renter's guides and rules that are applicable to your jurisdiction. As an example, states that have recently legalized the use of recreational cannabis have unique and varied statutory rules regarding the use of cannabis products in rental homes. The same holds true for state-specific rules relating to tenant ownership of exotic pets, or how many individuals are allowed to reside in a rental home.
The link to the New Mexico Legal Aid Renter's Guide can be found here.
Springtime is a popular time to take care of things around the house that were added to the "to do" list during the colder and less hospitable winter. Becoming aware of what protections you have as a renter should also be added to your personal "to do" list. Knowledge is power, especially for so many that can feel powerless as a renter.
Happy reading, everyone!!
Until next time,
Your friends at the RS & E Group