New Law Limits How Much Landlords Can Charge Renters With Pets

Kayla Banzali
By: Kayla A. Banzali
PublishedMar 13, 2024
2 minute read

Colorado lawmakers are limiting the amount of leash slack landlords get when it comes to how much they can charge tenants with pets. 

Colorado lawmakers are limiting the amount of leash slack landlords get when it comes to how much they can charge tenants who have pets.

How HB23-1068 Affects Landlords

Effective January 1, 2024, Colorado law HB23-1068, or the Pet Animal Ownership in Housing Act, limits tenant pet-related charges, including pet rent and security deposits. 

When it comes to pet security deposits, landlords can’t:
  • Charge more than $300 for a deposit per pet
  • Retain a deposit without a damage-related reason
When it comes to pet rent, landlords can’t:
  • Charge a tenant more than $35 or 1.5% of their monthly rent, whichever is greater

Look, when it comes to your rental property, we both know pets can create a little bit more than ordinary wear and tear. As much as you try to vet potential candidates for qualities like reliability and accountability, we can’t hold their furry friends to the same standard. 

You’re probably asking yourself, what if my tenant’s dog causes more damage than these new rules allow me to collect for repairs? That is a good question, and one worth keeping because there’s more to consider regarding this new law. 

Landlords Have More Responsibilities

When you lease property to a tenant who has an animal companion, you have to consider what responsibilities you’re taking on as a result. Under HB23-1068, it’s ultimately up to you to decide if you’re okay with being held liable if something goes sideways. For instance, what if your tenant falls behind on their own rent payments? What if you need to evict?

In the case of an eviction, landlords must:
  • surrender the pet to local animal control authorities; and
  • let the ex-tenant know where they can pick up their pet 

If you get to the point where you’re serving your tenant with a notice to quit and they willfully leave, you don’t have to worry about surrendering any animals. But if they voluntarily leave the animal behind, well, that’s a different story. 

Landlords Can’t Put a Lien On a Pet

The new law also excludes pets from being categorized as a tenant’s personal property. That means you cannot include pets in any liens placed on a tenant’s belongings. In other words, if you need to recover unpaid rent through a lien on the tenant’s personal property, the pet cannot be seized or used as collateral. 

Home Insurance Companies Can’t Deny Coverage Based on Dog Breeds

This law doesn’t just affect landlords. It also affects companies that sell home insurance policies, specifically how they treat dogs. This new law stipulates that insurance companies can’t ask the tenant to disclose their dog’s breed. 

In the past, insurers could deny coverage, restrict it, or impose higher premiums on policyholders with dogs deemed a riskier breed to cover. Now all an insurance company can ask is if a dog is known to be dangerous. For instance, does a dog, regardless of its breed, have a documented history of biting? 

While the law doesn’t specifically mention renter’s or building insurance, I wouldn’t be surprised if future legislation introduces similar restrictions for other types of insurance. For now, homeowner insurance is the big one, as it tends to cover personal injury if there is a dog bite incident. 

Landlords Can Still Ask Tenants for Dog Breed Disclosures

This provision could work in your favor. Since landlords aren’t listed in the law, you won’t get into trouble for wanting to know what type of dog your tenant has. If there are HOA limitations on specific breeds that you need to comply with, you should not run into a problem.

Make Sure You’re In Compliance – Talk To An Attorney

This recent law is part of a growing trend I’ve observed in Colorado that aims to strengthen tenant rights. There is no law forcing you to rent to tenants with pets. You can sidestep the potential wear and tear by simply not allowing pets on your property. 

If you’re hesitant to ban pets altogether, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re not completely liable for property damage caused by pets. 

Having an attorney draft your lease agreement can help ensure a lawful pet addendum stipulating that any pet-related damage is up to the tenant to cover is included and enforced. Call 303-688-0944 to schedule your consultation. 

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