Colorado landlords would have to limit rental application fees and explain why tenants were rejected under measure

Landlords would be required to tell prospective rental-property tenants more about their application costs and requirements in a measure that passed the Democratic-controlled House on Monday.

House Bill 1127 also seeks to limit rental application charges to the costs of background and credit checks and mandate that landlords spell out to applicants the requirements for approval — such as rental and credit histories and income.

The legislation would also require landlords to provide a written notice to rejected tenants, as well, explaining on what grounds they were turned away. Landlords, under the measure, would also be barred from charging different rental application fees to different applicants and from changing those fees between different properties they might be offering for rent.

Those who violate the legislation, should it go on to be signed by the governor, would face penalties.

The measure passed 36-27 and now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate.

A bill that seeks to give renters more information as they apply for a home passed the Democratic-controlled House this morning. GOP-controlled Senate blocked similar measure last year. #coleg #copolitics

— Jesse Aaron Paul (@JesseAPaul) February 26, 2018

A similar bill was rejected in the upper chamber last year. This year’s legislation had no GOP support in the House as it passed through committee, with Republicans voicing concerns about overregulation.

The lawmakers — all Democrats — sponsoring the effort this session say their measure affects people in every lawmaker’s district across the state. They say they have tried to address industry concerns.

The roughly 2,000-member Colorado Apartment Association, which was against last year’s legislation, said they are neither a “yes“ nor a “no” House Bill 1127.

“This year is different because there was more time spent with stakeholders at the table to iron out the issues at hand,” said Nancy Burke, vice president of government and community affairs for the association. “We are very appreciative of that.”

Burke said her trade group is hopeful that it can continue working with the bill’s sponsors to get it to the point where they can support it.

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“Every elected representative needs to stand up and advocate for their constituents, ” said Rep. Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora.

The bill’s sponsors say they hope the measure will ease Colorado’s housing crisis by preventing rental application fees that can far surpass $100.

“Rental application fees should be used to cover the costs of screening potential tenants, not to generate additional profits,” Rep. Chris Kennedy, a Lakewood Democrat who is another prime sponsor of the legislation, said in a written statement.

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