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All Denver landlords would be required to have a license under proposed City Council bill

This would be the largest licensing program in Denver by far.

DENVER — A bill that would create the largest licensing program in Denver will be introduced at a City Council meeting Monday night. 

Denver already requires short-term rental property owners to be licensed, but Council President Stacie Gilmore wants to expand that to require all landlords in Denver to get a license to rent. 

“About 60 percent of cities across the United States have some form of a rental license or registry," said Gilmore. 

She said there are only estimates of how many long-term rental properties there are in Denver, and they range from 37-50% of total residential properties.

“That’s a pretty wide discrepancy," she said. 

Under the new proposal, landlords would be required to have properties they rent inspected every four years.

Denver's Department of Excise and Licensing estimates there would be about 54,000 licenses. That would more than triple Denver's current 15,700 licenses for businesses and occupations. 

Eric Escudero, a spokesperson with the Department of Excise and Licensing, said it would require a dramatic increase in staffing if passed. 

The Colorado Apartment Association is against this bill because they believe it will make rent more expensive. 

Gilmore said they drafted the proposal with the idea that landlords would pass the costs of inspection and licensing fees down to renters, but she said those fees are small. 

To create the program, the city would foot the bill of around $400,000. 

Ultimately, Gilmore believes the cost is worth it to add more protections for long-term renters.

“They live here, and we’re not protecting them as much as we’re protecting others that might utilize a short-term rental in our city," said Gilmore. 

To make sure landlords don't rent without a license, Escudero said if passed, the city would look into using software similar to what they use for their short-term rental program that would scrape the internet for listings to find landlords trying to rent without a license. 

“Right now, we’re asking nicely for people to comply, and there can be an administrative fee process," said Gilmore. "But with this rental license, we will also be able to revoke or suspend that license if someone isn’t in compliance and encourage a quicker resolution through this license structure.”

If passed, all landlords would need to have a license to rent by 2024.

RELATED: Long-term rental licenses for Denver landlords approved by City Council committee

RELATED: Latest Denver-area housing market stats: Median single-family home price reaches $560K