David I. Blower


In 2005, Governor Bill Owens vetoed House Bill 1061, which was an attempt by the Colorado legislature to enact some minimal protections for residential tenants. Governor Owens's veto was the latest chapter in Colorado's failure to provide residential-tenant protections. Although the vast majority of states have either judicially-implied or statutory tenant protections, Colorado has bucked the trend. First, in 1976, the Colorado Supreme Court refused to imply a warranty of habitability in residential leases, instead deferring to the legislature. Since then, in addition to Governor Owens's veto, the legislature has also failed to pass a residential warranty. Instead of maintaining the status quo of caveat emptor, the Colorado legislature should pass broad tenant protections like those embodied in the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act. If a warranty fails to gain the support of the political branches, Colorado's courts should recognize their role in creating caveat emptor and their duty to eliminate it in light of changing conditions that undermine the doctrine's underlying assumptions.