Colorado Law & Renting to Felons

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In Colorado, it is legal for a landlord to ask a prospective tenant whether the tenant has previously been convicted of a felony. Colorado also provides a frequently updated public registry of all convicted felons. Landlords may deny housing to prospective tenants based on their prior felony convictions.

Illegal Denial

  • The federal Fair Housing Act and Colorado law makes it illegal for landlords to discriminatorily deny housing for protected classes. Felons in Colorado are not members of a protected class. Protection is extended to individuals of different religious denominations, color, gender, economic status, age groups and disabled individuals. Colorado landlords may not deny housing based on a tenant's race, origin, religion, gender, age, disability or family status. Landlords may not use any of these factors during their application or screening process.

Petition to Restore Rights

  • Criminal defendants may have their legal constitutional rights taken away once they are found guilty of committing a criminal felony. Commonly, rights to voting or disenfranchisement, rights to bear arms, and rights to hold public office can be taken away from felons. Additionally, felons may face a denial of housing or access to available rentals based upon their prior felony convictions. Some jurisdictions provide ex-felons with an automatic restitution after a certain number of years with no subsequent felony charges, allow state legislatures or governors to provide pardons or simply disallow restitution and permanently remove rights.

Colorado's Restoration of Rights

  • In Colorado, felons may lose their rights to housing based upon their prior criminal records. Felons in Colorado can receive an automatic restoration of their right to vote after completing prison terms; felons cannot receive a restoration to restore housing rights. The Colorado Code only addresses a felon's rights to future employment and licensing on a nondiscriminatory basis.

Duty of Habitability

  • Title 38, Article 12, Section 503 of the Colorado Statute contains a landlord's warranty of habitability. The duty of habitability requires the landlord to provide safe and livable premises for its tenants. A landlord who fails to exercise reasonable caution in screening convicted felons who may be a danger to other tenants places the landlord in jeopardy of violating his duty to maintain a safe environment.

Considerations

  • Since laws frequently change, you should not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.

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References

  • Photo Credit prison wire image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com
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