What the law says:
In 2017, the CO state legislature signed into law HB 1035, ensuring that survivors of sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence in CO will be able to break their residential lease agreements.
Previously, the law only applied to survivors of relationship violence (C.R.S. 38-12-402), and the only way to terminate a lease was to provide a documented police report or protection order. The new law allows for 2 additional ways to provide documentation about your status as a survivor. It is also important to know that survivors do not need to be engaged with the criminal justice system for these laws to apply to them.
If you disclose to your landlord that you are a victim of unlawful sexual behavior, stalking, or relationship violence, your landlord is not allowed to disclose what you tell them to anyone else, except with your consent or if they’re required to do so by law. Landlords are also not allowed to disclose your new address (once you move to your new home) to any person without your consent or unless they’re required to do so by law.
A landlord also cannot legally terminate a lease, refuse to renew a lease, evict, or refuse to rent to you just because you are a survivor. The law also adds certain legal protections for you if there are damages to your home due to the abuse that render your home uninhabitable.
How can you terminate your lease?
In order to terminate your lease under this new law, you will need to provide two things for your landlord.
- A written statement (notice) from you to the landlord that:
- States you are a survivor of “unlawful sexual behavior, stalking, domestic violence, or domestic abuse.”
- States you are seeking to vacate the premises due to fear of imminent danger for yourself and or your children because of the above victimization.
- States that the termination is pursuant to Sec. 38-12-402 (2)(a) C.R.S. which authorizes a tenant to terminate the residential rental agreement or lease and vacate the premises under these circumstances.
- Written evidence attached to the statement/notice of unlawful sexual behavior, domestic violence, or domestic abuse in one of these formats:
- A police report or protection order (also includes temporary protection orders)
- A statement from a medical professional confirming the victim’s status
- A statement from the state’s Address Confidentiality Program confirming that you have applied for help
How advocates in the WGAC can help:
Victim advocates at the WGAC are also certified Address Confidentiality Program application assistants. What this means is that they can provide documentation confirming that you’ve applied for help as a survivor of interpersonal violence. No specifics of your experience will be shared in the statement we provide to your landlord.
Additional housing resources:
Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Close to Home Campaign
Fair Housing Act
National Housing Law Project
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty