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IQ: Kiss your deposit goodbye 

Colorado and Arkansas are the only states that don't have laws addressing tenants' rights, and the landlord lobby in Colorado wields enormous power. So guess what happened to a recent bill that would let tenants break a lease if a landlord failed to fix a major defect? Surprise, surprise -- it crashed and burned.

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Valerie Acosta
Counselor
Patty Jewett

What's your best landlord story? Eight years ago we moved into an apartment with a bad roach problem that the landlord refused to address. When we moved out a year-and-a-half later, he wouldn't return our damage deposit because he claimed that we created the roach problem, which was an absolute lie.

What change in the status quo would you most like? An enforceable tenants Bill of Rights.

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Roberto Lopez
Filmmaker/carpenter
Stratmore Hills

What's your best landlord story? While living in an apartment complex in Utah, I made a short film that spoofed the maintenance supervisor as a cross-dresser and serial killer. The apartment manager found out and kicked me out for it, accusing me of character defamation.

What change in the present landlord/tenant laws would you most like? Some sort of rent control limiting how much a landlord can jack up the rent any given year.

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Henry Hansen
Waiter/bartender
Downtown

What's your best landlord story? A friend I live with gets threatened with eviction almost every month for non-payment of rent. Every month he has to run all over the place to prove he paid it. It's a senseless, stupid hassle.

What's most aggravating about the status quo? As things stand now, it's pretty much a given that your so-called security deposit is a donation to the landlord. You'll never see it again.

Would you say rents here are too high, about right, or too low? The only place I've seen with higher rents is New York City, but wages are way higher there. Either rents should be a lot lower out here or minimum wage should be a lot higher.

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Mary Fortner
Waitress
Austin Bluffs & Academy

How would you rate Colorado Springs rents? When I moved here in 1990, I paid $145 a month for a furnished, one-bedroom apartment. Just several years later, I had to pay $550 a month for this extremely cramped, closet-sized downtown apartment with yellow water. And now a lot of landlords charge a fee just to show you the apartment.

What's most unfair about present landlord/tenant laws? Kiss your damage deposit goodbye. They'll always find an excuse to keep it. My advice to renters here is go through the apartment with the landlord before moving in and catalog any problem so it can't be blamed on you as an excuse to keep your deposit.

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