DENVER — A bill that would significantly reduce the amount of pet rent and deposits that renters would have to pay has advanced through the state legislature. The House is set to approve the final version on Monday before sending it to Governor Jared Polis.
When looking for places to rent in Colorado it can be a challenge to find one that is pet friendly. Even then, renters will likely need to pay a pet rent and non-refundable pet deposit on top of their base rent. Sometimes owners need to make the tough choice to give up their pets to afford rent, or struggle to make ends meet.
"Pet rent just adds on to the additional fees you pay, for utilities and parking, so one less crazy fee is is really helpful," said Cassidy Thomas a pet owner and renter.
House Bill 23-1068 aims to ease the financial burden. Pet rent can only be 1.5% of the full rent amount, or $35, whichever is higher. The maximum pet deposit will be $300 and it must be refundable. The state will create a pet friendly landlord damage mitigation program that will reimburse the landlord up to $1,000 for damages caused by tenant pets.
Several landlords have told Denver7 that, often times, pet damage exceeds the pet deposit they charge.
"One property, they were in a three bedroom how and the cats had the third bedroom to themselves," explained James Denny a Littleton landlord who owns and rents several properties, "10 grand. I had to tear out the whole floor."
Some of his properties are pet friendly, he's even made investments in properties to put in dog runs and pet doors. In other properties without yards, he does not allow dogs. He said he's not too concerned about the changes.
"I charge $500 on a pet deposit per dog. $500 to $300, that's not going to break the bank," Denny said.
He suspects some landlords might just stop allowing pets or will absorb their ideal pet rent amount into the full rent.
"[The new rent/pet deposit amount] sounds a little low to me. But bottom line is that they can control that by just saying, 'This is the total rent," he said.
The bill would also prohibit insurers from denying a policy based solely on the breed of dog that lives in the home.
If signed by the governor, the new rules would take effect January 1, 2024.