(Apr. 25) – Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill sponsored by Rep. Brianna Titone and Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez to protect renters from unnecessarily high rental application fees.
“Unchecked rental application fees that are too high for families and seniors struggling with the rising cost of living have exacerbated our affordable housing crisis,” said Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Arvada. “This new law will increase transparency and protect renters in the rental application process to ensure bad actors aren’t harming Coloradans seeking a home for themselves and their families.”
Under current state law, there are no limits on what landlords can charge for a rental application fee, and there are no safeguards to ensure the fee aligns with the actual costs of screening a prospective tenant.
“Rental application fees should be used to conduct a consumer credit or reference check – not line a landlords pockets,” said Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver. “This new law will provide relief to individuals or families searching for housing across our state by putting in place a strong consumer protection safeguard in the rental application process.”
HB19-1106 puts in place commonsense limits on the application fees that renters face as they search for their next rental home. The bill limits application fees to the price of what is necessary to screen residents—such as credit reports, reference checks or tenant screening reports—and ensures the fee is refunded if the applicant is never screened.
More than a dozen states have enacted policies that set reasonable terms for the collection and retention of rental application fees. For hardworking individuals or families struggling to find housing, the high cost of non-refundable application fees can easily exhaust their limited financial resources, sometimes making it impossible for them to pay a security deposit or the first month’s rent.
The bill was approved by a vote of 40-23 in the House and 20-10 in the Senate. The Governor signed it into law this afternoon.