KATHLEEN LAVINE, DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL
As Denver’s final residential rental licensing deadline looms in front of landlords, the city has seen an uptick in applications to receive a license.
The City and County of Denver is taking the program seriously, as it has penalized delinquent landlords with approximately $82,000 in fines so far this year.
Jan. 1, 2024, is the final deadline for single-unit landlords to apply for a now-required license to run a rental property in the City of County of Denver. The Department of Excise and Licenses received a record number of license applications at 1,952 in November, but December has already surpassed that number with 2,415 applications so far.
Denver City Council voted in 2021 to require residential rental licenses; one of the goals of the program has been to make sure Denver renters live in safe and habitable spaces. In July, the program became the most licensed within Denver, with security guards and short-term rentals trailing it.
At least 144,000 rental units throughout the city of Denver now operate under the ownership of a correctly licensed individual or company. Currently, Denver has issued 12,580 active residential rental licenses to landlords. And 7,330 of those licenses belong to single-unit property owners, while 5,250 licenses belong to multi-unit rental properties, according to information provided by Eric Escudero, communications director for the Department of Excise and Licenses.
Single-unit landlords who still need to apply have until Jan. 1 to meet the deadline and pay only $25 of the $50 application fee. The process to get a license involves passing a rental inspection from a certified building inspector. Once obtained, the license is good for four years. If a property sells, the new owner must apply for a new license.
Meanwhile, landlords of multi-unit properties who have not received a license yet are approaching the one-year mark of delinquency, as multifamily landlords had until Jan. 1, 2023, to get a license. Denver continues to take action against those unlicensed property owners. The Department of Excise and Licenses has sent 1,755 warnings so far, followed by 317 $150 fines to different properties. The punishments have kept going for some landlords, with 47 $500 fines issued this past year, and a total of 11 $999 fines to landlords so far.
These properties have each received two $999 fines:
The city plans to begin warning single-unit landlords without pending applications at the beginning of the new year and will prioritize those with health complaints.