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Less than 1% of Denver multi-unit rental properties licensed before Jan. 1 deadline to legally rent out units

Downtown Denver
Posted at 5:21 PM, Jul 14, 2022

DENVER — The largest expansion of business licensing in Denver's history will take effect in less than five months.

By January 1, 2023, all multi-unit rental properties in Denver will need to acquire a residential rental license to legally rent out a unit, according to Denver Department of Excise and Licenses spokesman Eric Escudero.

Escudero says the goal of the new license is to enforce minimum required housing standards to ensure public health, safety and welfare.

"If you're a slumlord, things are about to get tough for you in Denver," Escudero said. "We see instances far too often a black mold, of pests, of carbon monoxide poisoning, things that could impact someone's longevity of their life... for the first time ever, the city is going to have a licensing tool to hold people accountable."

Any property that rents out multiple units at one address will need to apply for the license by Jan. 1, including apartments, rowhouses and condos. Properties older than four years old will need to undergo a health and safety inspection, prior to applying for the license.

Those who don't acquire the license by Jan. 1 cannot legally rent out a unit, according to Escudero, who says fees and ticketing will likely be the result.

If the property fails an inspection, the property will have to make repairs prior to receiving the license. Renters will be able to stay in their unit, unless inspectors deem the issue an imminent danger.

So where is the city in this process?

"Unfortunately, we're off to a slow start," Escudero said.

That may be an understatement when considering only 100 licenses have been issued and more than 28,000 properties still need one by Jan. 1, according to Escudero. That's less than 1%.

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The other issue? Escudero says there are only five inspectors listed on Denver's website that have partnered with the city to do this work, while there may be more in the process of joining.

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"Here's the bottom line — what we're afraid is going to happen for people who are procrastinating ... you might call this inspector say, in December, and they'll say, 'We can't get you in until July and then come January 1, you're in violation of Denver law.'

For more information regarding the licensing and inspection requirements, visit the city and county of Denver website.