Sawmill Condominiums are pictured May 15, 2020 in Breckenridge. Townhomes are one of the many complexes that allow for short term rentals in Summit County.
Photo by Liz Copan / Archives Summit Daily News

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct Ciancio’s spelling in the Ciancio Ciancio Brown law firm.

Summit County is experiencing a real estate boom, and a large majority of homes sold this year are destined for people living on the Front Range or out of state, according to data from Land Title Guarantee Co. april report.

Some of these buyers are undoubtedly people who plan to use their new properties only part of the year, which means that owners could turn those homes and condos into short term rentals or, if they have to. meaning, long term.

To do this, landlords should think about drafting a lease agreement designed to protect both parties.

“This protects both sides in different scenarios and also gives both sides a clear roadmap to follow,” said Leslee Balten, partner at the law firm Ciancio Ciancio Brown at Breckenridge.

Balten and Ehren Penix, a lawyer at Hartshorn law firm in Fairplay, think about what to think about before you start.

Leases 101

“The first and most important thing is that you still want to get a written lease,” Penix said.

Penix explained that in Colorado, by law, written leases are only needed for leases over one year, but it’s always a good idea to have something written for longer terms. also short. Penix noted that many short-term rental companies, like VRBO and Airbnb, will already have rental agreements built into the platform. It’s about protecting not only landlords, but tenants as well.

“The same with a tenant,” said Penix. “Tenants have rights and responsibilities, but trying to assert those rights in court when you don’t actually have a written lease can sometimes be problematic. “

What homeowners should be thinking about

Before going ahead with renting your property, Penix said it is important for landlords to check local guidelines as well as their homeowners association to make sure there are no restrictions preventing them from go forward.

Penix also said owners need to understand that they cannot discriminate under the law.

“Owners also need to be aware that they cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender and national origin – all of those kinds of things,” said Penix. “It is illegal in Colorado to refuse to rent or rent to someone because of these things.”

In addition, Penix recommends that owners be very clear on the areas to which they allow tenants access and on the prohibited areas.

Balten said other things she would make explicit in the lease include understandable rental terms regarding payment and security deposit arrangements, as well as utility liability.

Additionally, Penix suggests that landlords be transparent about how and when they want to be paid, as well as disclose that lead-based paints were likely used if the rental property was built in 1978 or before.

What should tenants think about?

On the flip side, Penix said tenants should look at much of the same metrics. First and foremost, Penix recommends renters spend time with the rental agreement to make sure they understand all of the terms and conditions.

“If you’re going to live there for a year, or even less than a year… take a few hours,” Penix said. “Read this thing. Make sure you understand what you are getting into. If there is something in there that you are not comfortable with, you can always talk to the owner about it and see if you can work with it.

Penix said tenants should have a full understanding of the areas to which they have access, such as common areas like kitchens or sheds. This is particularly relevant in communal living spaces.

Balten recommends that tenants also understand the conditions that occur at the start and end of their lease.

“It’s also important that tenants are clear about lease obligations, like what they’re paying and that the arrangements for the upkeep of the move in and out – things like that – are clear so that they know what their requirements are, ”Balten said. .

What about evictions?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium expired in late July, but days later it was extended until October 3 in areas “experience substantial and high levels of community transmission”.

When the moratorium finally ends, many of those who have suffered financial hardship as a result of the pandemic will no longer be protected from eviction.

Penix said it recommends that both parties consult a lawyer if and when an eviction or other legal disagreement occurs.

“(Bringing in) a lawyer as early as possible is the best thing to do,” he said. “It depends on the extent of the disagreement. Obviously, if someone comes to you as a landlord and tells you that they won’t pay their rent because of this, that, and the other, then it’s worth seeing at least one lawyer who might be in. able to sort out whether or not there is an actual claim they can make or whether it is totally inappropriate for them to withhold rent as is often the case.

“If you’re a tenant and your landlord says they’re going to evict you, then obviously you’ve got a big problem in your life. Housing is a necessity and, again, it’s worth consulting with at least one lawyer to determine what your rights and remedies might be and see if anything can be settled instead of taking legal action.

Penix noted that the eviction process can be difficult to navigate and that it would be in the best interests of landlords and tenants to work with a lawyer.

“The eviction process isn’t the hardest thing in the world, and a lot of homeowners like to think they can handle it on their own, but it can be complicated,” he said. “There can be pitfalls and areas where an inexperienced person can find themselves at a disadvantage without the right lawyer. I would say that for both of these people – landlords and tenants – it is necessary to consult at least legal counsel, if not outright hire legal counsel to help you deal with the situation.

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