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Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Denver’s elected officials are advancing a controversial plan that would require landlords to obtain a permit to lease long-term rental property in the city, starting next year.

Why it matters: The city lacks a database to track how many long-term rentals are in Denver, and a new licensing program would fix that, Council President Stacie Gilmore says.

  • Knowing the number of rentals is critical to solving the city’s affordable housing crisis, proponents argue.

Yes, but: Landlords are likely to pass the costs of required inspections and licensing to tenants who are already struggling to get by in a high-priced market.

  • "So it’s not really helping the tenants," said William Bronchick, president of the Colorado Landlords Association.
  • A Gilmore spokesperson disputed the notion, telling Axios that the proposal would keep application and license fees low, essentially requiring a payment of $225 over four years.

Of note: The plan would mark one of the largest licensing expansions in Denver history and require new hires to ensure compliance, Excise and Licenses Department spokesman Eric Escudero tells Axios.

  • Denver has an estimated 50,000+ rental properties that would need licenses, he said. That's eight times as many as the largest category the agency currently regulates.

The big picture: The proposal, which will be voted on by the full council in the coming weeks, has the backing of Hancock’s administration, spokesperson Mike Strott tells Axios.

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Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Apr 14, 2021 - Axios Denver

Colorado prepares to lift most COVID restrictions by May 16

Expand chart
Data: JHU; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Denver area is dialing back COVID-19 restrictions and preparing to completely reopen in May — but some counties are moving faster and others are expressing concern about the pace.

Driving the news: Six counties — Denver, Jefferson, Boulder, Adams and Broomfield — are easing public health limits by moving to "Level Blue," even as case counts remain elevated.

California wildfire explodes in size, destroys historic town

Battalion Chief Sergio Mora looks on as the Dixie fire burns through downtown Greenville, Calif. on Aug. 4, 2021. Photo: Josh EdelsonAFP via Getty Images

The small Sierra town of Greenville, California, was heavily damaged on Wednesday night into early Thursday as the Dixie Fire surged northward amid high winds, extremely dry air and hot temperatures.

The latest: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, continued to threaten communities in Plumas County into Thursday night, as more mandatory evacuation orders were issued in the region.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Top labor leader Richard Trumka dies unexpectedly at 72

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who led the largest federation of unions in the country for over a decade, has died at 72.

The big picture: Trumka began working as a coal miner in 1968 and would go on to dedicate his life to the labor movement, including as president of the 12.5 million-member AFL-CIO beginning in 2009.