(Feb. 22) – The House gave voice-vote approval this morning to a bill to limit out-of-control costs of application fees for prospective tenants.

HB18-1127, sponsored by Reps. Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora, and Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, is part of the House Democrats’ affordable housing agenda. It limits the application fee a landlord may charge a prospective tenant to the landlord’s actual screening costs.

Currently, there are no guardrails to assure that rental application fees have some correlation with the actual cost of screening. Unscrupulous landlords have turned application fees into an income stream. Renters often must apply to several different apartments, incurring hefty application fees that eat away at savings for security deposits and first month’s rent and making the affordable housing crisis worse.

Under the bill, landlords would also have to disclose their criteria for tenant selection in advance, and in the event an application is denied, landlords would be required to provide written notice explaining which criteria were not met, so the applicant can take steps to correct the deficiency.

“This bill asks landlords to only charge what they actually need to charge to screen a tenant,” Rep. Jackson said. “In today’s market, affordable housing is harder to find than ever. This bill will make that struggle a bit easier.”

“Rental application fees should be used to cover the costs of screening potential tenants, not to generate additional profits,” Rep. Kennedy said. “This bill adds three common-sense requirements for landlords: disclose your tenant screening criteria, don’t charge more than it costs to screen, and if someone’s application is declined, tell them why.”

After a recorded vote, HB18-1127 will be off to the Senate.

 

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