FILE - Denver Colorado Apartments

South Platte River surrounded by apartments and office buildings at Shoemaker Plaza in Confluence Park, Denver, Colo.

(The Center Square) — Denver City Council approved an ordinance on Monday that requires landlords of long-term rental properties to be licensed by the city.

Known as the “Healthy Rentals for All License Program,” the ordinance requires that landlords get one license for every parcel of land they own, not every property. The bill also requires landlords to have a city inspector inspect their property to ensure compliance with Denver’s habitability standards before renting it out.

Fees for licenses range from $50 for landlords who rent a single-family home on one parcel of land, and up to $500 for multi-family dwellings or apartment buildings.

The ordinance also requires landlords to provide a written lease for agreements lasting longer than 30 days and provide a written list of a tenant’s rights.

The ordinance will begin phasing in with opt-in licensing beginning in January 2022. Multi-family rental units will need to be licensed by January 2023 and single-family rentals by January 2024.

“Denver has been in a housing crisis for decades and the pandemic has put even more uncertainties on our residents,” said Council President Stacie Gilmore, District 11, one of the ordinance's sponsors. “This policy will help stabilize housing and neighborhoods by gathering basic property owner information as well as important rental data, enabling us to broadly share resources with tenants, and strengthen landlord-tenant education and outreach.”

The Colorado Apartment Association (CAA), the state’s largest apartment trade group, has criticized the policy as one that will increase housing costs.

Drew Hamrick, CAA’s vice president of government affairs, told The Center Square in a statement that the final version of the ordinance is both redundant and poorly timed.

“While the Denver metro area has experienced flat rental rates is in the midst of recovering economically, now is not the time to implement changes that will increase rental housing costs,” Hamrick said, adding, “We need more rental housing units, not greater regulation of the ones we have. We will continue to propose solutions and find ways to support rental housing providers and residents in Denver.”