Property Management Blog

Colorado Fair Housing Laws: Everything You Need to Know

System - Tuesday, December 29, 2020

When discussing property management, the subject of the Fair Housing Act will inevitably come up. Separate from landlord-tenant laws, Fair Housing laws cover discrimination in housing, be it buying, selling or renting a property, the law seeks for fair treatment of everyone. This law was created to end discrimination. 

Discriminatory practices normally manifest as price distortion, repair delay or restricted access to particular renters or buyers for numerous shallow reasons.

Fair Housing Act Defined

The Fair Housing Act came into fruition during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Specifically, it was established in 1968 after Martin Luther King Jr. died. This law seeks to stop discriminatory practices that prevent everyone from enjoying a fair opportunity to access property renting or ownership.

Protected Classes

Under the Fair Housing Act, protected classes are the following:

  1. Color
  2. National origin
  3. Race
  4. Sex
  5. Religion
  6. Disability
  7. Familial status (pregnant women and those with children under 18)

Combatting Housing Discrimination

Colorado Fair Housing Laws discourage discrimination of the protected classes under the following cases: renting a home, selling a property and mortgage lending. This means equal treatment will be given when renting, selling and negotiating a housing property. 

Colorados Fair Housing laws are more strict than federal Housing laws in some instances

One will be given access if the property is available. There will be no separate accommodations or amenities provided only for a select few. When engaging in a mortgage, the protected classes will enjoy the same rates and charges. There won’t be separate requirements when applying for a loan to purchase a property. They’ll also have ready access to available loan types. 

Landlords and property sellers are also prevented from issuing advertisements that would be discriminating against the protected classes. This may be in terms of race, color, religion, national origin, disability or familial status. The rental property or property for sale will be available to buy and not limited to a certain class or group.

Exemptions from the Fair Housing Act

Some groups are exempted under the FHA. These are single-family residences that don’t go through a broker when being rented or sold. Another exemption would be private clubs and exclusive organizations limited to members only. Lastly, homes where owners currently reside (up to 4 units) are also not subject to the Fair Housing Act.

Colorado Fair Housing Laws History

Even before the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 came to be, Colorado already implemented its own version in 1959. In fact, Colorado has spearheaded anti-discrimination laws by being the first state in the entire country to offer protection.

Additional Protected Classes

Colorado has more expansive protected classes aside from the main seven under the federal law. These are:

  1. Ancestry
  2. Creed
  3. Marital Status
  4. Marriage

Colorado Cities with Additional Protected Classes

Other areas in Colorado that offer more security against discrimination are:

  • Aspen – protection no matter one’s age, political affiliation, affectional or sexual orientation and family responsibility
  • Boulder – protection no matter one’s pregnancy, parenthood and gender variance
  • Crested Butte – protection no matter one’s age and political affiliation
  • Denver – protection no matter one’s parenthood, age (beyond 40), gender variance, military status and income source
  • Telluride – protection no matter one’s gender, pregnancy and childbirth, family responsibility, political affiliation, age and military status.

Gender variance can be understood as gender identity no matter one’s biological sex classification. It also extends to include transitioned transsexuals without limits.

Parenthood and family responsibility is understood as families with children above 18.

Colorado Fair Housing Laws protect tenants against discrimination

Exemptions from the Fair Housing Act

Some exemptions under the federal Housing Act are not categorized as one in Colorado. They have even stricter Fair Housing Laws compared to other states. In Colorado, homes where owners currently occupy up to 4 units are STILL subject to the Fair Housing Act. 

The exemptions in Colorado fall under these:

  • A room open for rental in a single-family residence that’s also where the owner resides

  • Religious groups or private clubs are allowed to give preference to members for non-commercial housing they’re operating.

Remedies for Discrimination

In Colorado, people are provided with greater remedies when facing discrimination. By remedy, it’s understood as an action that the courts perform for enforcing legal rights when a person wins a court case. 

Commonly, remedies are financial and given as compensation to the aggrieved party for the losses incurred. However, in Colorado, those (landlords and management firms) that are guilty of housing discriminatory practices are penalized aside from the monetary damages they’ll be handing to the affected party. 

A huge difference can be observed between the federal FHA and Colorado’s FHA. Under the federal, ordering the guilty party to pay for a fine is only applicable if a systematic pattern of discrimination emerges. In Colorado, it does not need to be a systematic pattern. 

Filing for Complaints

There are two available options for those who are victims of housing discrimination in Colorado. They can go the national level route and file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They can also opt for the state route and file with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD). The only condition is that the complaint is lodged within a year of the presumed incident. Lawsuits have a longer timeframe and provided 2 years after the professed incident. 

Landlord Tips to Avoid Discrimination Complaints

To keep your record clean and free from any violations of the Fair Housing Act, here are some suggestions: 

  1. Treat everyone the same way and imagine that you’re entertaining a representative from the Colorado Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

  1. Set the same qualifying standards when assessing potential tenants. The requirements and the procedure for tenant screening must be the same. Moreover, the same fees must be collected.

  1. Show the same kind of professionalism, tact and respect to every prospect you’re facing. This can reduce accusations of unfair practices.

Discriminatory practices can land you in huge legal trouble

Final Thoughts

The Fair Housing Act is created to set up a fair housing system for everyone. Adhering faithfully to its mission is a way to contribute to more equitable treatment in society. 

Do you need a full-service property management company to take care of your property in Fort Collins, Colorado? If yes, contact Onsite Property Management Services at 970-282-8281. Thx. For more information, visit our website here!