Apr 15, 2021 - News

Denver's new permit plan for landlords could mean renters pay more

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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