Lengthy Time period Rental License Requirement for Denver Landlords Passes First Metropolis Council vote to Concentrate on Denver

A new rental property licensing policy requiring landlords to pay for long term licenses to rent their properties over the long term passed its first full vote in the Denver city council on Monday and is now on its way to final scrutiny.

By requiring long-term licenses, the “Healthy Rents for All” guideline is intended to improve the conditions for rental properties, support the city in tracking its housing stock and establish better communication between tenants and landlords.

“This is something my office and I have been working on for two years to regulate the rights and protection of tenants,” said Stacie Gilmore, President of the Council, who sponsored the policy, calling it “a tool to help the people of our lives.” City to accommodate “.

To obtain a license, rental properties would have to pass an inspection to ensure they met Denver’s minimum housing standards – including functional facilities, adequate lighting and heating, plumbing, no pests, and utilities like water and gas – to ensure health and safety To care.

Although the proposal was unanimously supported by the Council on Monday, it was not without controversy. Many landlords’ associations have spoken out against the directive and are concerned about the fees they will have to pay to implement it.

The Denver Metro Association of Realtors, of more than 7,000 members, rejects the license proposal and even emails its members asking them to speak out against the city council members.

“We’re not against making sure owners take care of their rental properties. That’s not the problem, ”said Mike Papantonakis, chairman of the association.

Papantonakis argued that there are already laws on the books, like the Colorado Warranty of Habitability, to ensure tenants get recourse from negligent property owners, and the proposed measure would increase property owner costs and likely result in higher rents.

“The majority of rental properties are owned by ‘mom and pop’ owners who may have one or two rental units,” Papantonakis said. “Adding costs will hurt the owners and tenants alike. … It just looks like the city is trying to find another source of income. “

Under the proposal, the one-time license application fees would be $ 50, and the license fees would range from $ 50 for single homes to $ 500 for multi-family homes with more than 250 units. Landlords would need licenses for every rental package, not every unit.

The licenses would have to be renewed every four years. Inspections would also be required every four years or when there is a change of ownership.

Landlords would need to hire certified private home inspectors, which cost around $ 150 for individual homes and $ 45 for each additional unit. In apartment complexes, only 10% of the units would need to be inspected, selected at random by the inspector.

Gilmore and Councilor Robin Kniech opposed the idea that the policy would place a huge financial burden on landlords or increase rent.

“(For a single unit) we’re talking about $ 200 over four years … about $ 4 a month. That’s not an exorbitant price, ”said Kniech. “I’m not sure everyone who writes to us understands how modest the fees are in the current proposal.”

Kniech also responded to the claim that the required inspections would add extreme costs to repairs to meet guidelines, noting that the inspections only require minimum housing standards, which are already required by law.

“It is not a new cost that this regulation adds. This is not “is every part of your building code up to date?” This is, ‘Is there any heat? Is there electricity and lighting? Is there hot water? ‘Said Kniech. “If those things aren’t there, you have no business running a rental unit in our town.”

Contrary to the concerns of landlords’ associations, councilor Candi CdeBaca argued on Monday that fees should be higher for landlords in large multi-unit properties, saying the current plan disproportionately punishes mom-and-pops.

CdeBaca said it plans to introduce changes to the policy next week that would increase license fees for all landlords to $ 50 per unit instead of increasing to $ 500.

This change would also change the licenses to require fees for each unit instead of each package, increasing the eligible licensees from around 54,000 packages to around 200,000 units.

“We harm the people who are least equipped to comply, and we also do not recognize that corporate landlords are most responsible for our eviction crisis,” said CdeBaca. “Letting company landlords off the hook would be very problematic for me.”

Gilmore disagreed with this change, saying the fee structure was intentionally made low to avoid increasing rents and promoting compliance as the policy aims to ensure that minimum housing standards are met.

Kniech also spoke out against the change to increase fees, saying it was likely not legally justified.

“In a fee situation, we cannot charge fees based on our values,” said Kniech. “It has to relate to the actual turnaround time and work that city workers do. If it’s not 250x the work for employees, then how do you justify 250x the fee? “

During the meeting, Alderman Kevin Flynn raised concerns about the required inspections and said he was concerned that older homes might fail to meet applicable regulations.

Gilmore reiterated that the rental units only had to meet the minimum requirements, not the new building codes.

Gilmore also said it will consider older homes in creating the inspection checklist to be completed this summer when the policy is approved. The city will hold various contact events with tenants and landlords during the development process.

“We don’t want to crowd out people,” said Gilmore. “We want to make sure that these minimum living standards are met wherever you live.”

The policy also provides tenant protection, including requiring landlords to provide tenants with a written lease and notice of tenant rights and resources within seven days of all new leases and any rental inquiries.

The rights and resources are provided by the city and contain information on minimum living standards, how to file a complaint, the legal rights when receiving an eviction notice, as well as how to obtain rental support and legal representation.

Through the licensing process, the city would also collect contact information and data for landlords and rental properties. At this time, city officials don’t know how many rental properties there are in Denver. Estimates for the number of rentals range from 37% to 50% of Denver’s housing stock, Gilmore said.

This data would be used to track affordable housing and to provide information on tracking the city’s energy efficiency goals and the number of rents available for people with disabilities.

If adopted, the directive would be implemented in three phases:

  • January 1, 2022: Early licensing possible for all rental units.
  • January 1, 2023: Licenses are required for any rental property that consists of two or more residential units. Early licensing is required for individual residential units.
  • January 1, 2024: Licenses are required for each rental property that consists of a single residential unit.

Every landlord who goes through the licensing process early receives a 50% discount on the registration fee.

On-campus student dormitories, boarding houses, short-term rentals, commercial accommodation, and those who rent a room away from the home they live in are exempt from licensing. Rentals owned / operated by the government or whose income is restricted are exempt from all fees.

Politics must pass a final full city council vote next Monday.

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