Denver rental property owners may be required to get a license from the city starting next year.
A City Council committee will consider Wednesday a proposal spearheaded by City Council President Stacie Gilmore that would require anyone in Denver who owns rental property to register it with the city and to pass an inspection every four years.
The wholesale change to the city’s approach to the rental market would require owners to pay a fee to be licensed. The license would have to be renewed every four years and could be revoked if certain standards and practices aren’t met.
The fees proposed would be $50 for a property with one unit, $100 for two to 10 units; $250 for 11-50 units; $350 for 51-250 units; and $500 for more than 250 units. A 50 percent discount would be available for applicants between Jan. 1, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2022. The fee is intended to cover administrative costs of monitoring and executing the licenses.
Under the proposal, in order to obtain a license, a certified professional inspection of the units would have to be performed and submitted to the city. For units with multiple dwellings, 10 percent of the dwellings must be inspected at random.
Property owners in the city who want to rent out their home or apartment on a short-term basis, typically through websites like Airbnb, are already required to get a license from the city. This proposal would apply to those renting with traditional long-term leases.
Gilmore’s effort, which began in 2019, is geared toward solving three problems, according to the documentation sent to the council and available online under the heading “Healthy Residential Rentals for All.”
The three problems identified:
- • Denver does not currently officially track rental housing, and so has no idea exactly how much exists in the city;
- • There are limited means whereby the city is able to ensure minimum housing standards of health, safety and sanitation are met in rental properties;
- • The current housing crisis, extant before but exacerbated by the pandemic, means housing stability for renters is even more critical than ever.
The Budget and Policy Committee was briefed on Gilmore’s proposal in January, but the Business, Arts, Workforce & Aviation Services Committee will hear it officially Wednesday and consider forwarding it to the full council at Wednesday’s meeting.