Titone and Gonzales-Gutierrez’s commonsense bill could help ease housing crunch
(Feb. 5) – The House Business Affairs and Labor Committee voted in favor of a bill this morning that would protect renters from unnecessarily high rental application fees.
“The high cost of unchecked rental application fees has played a role in exacerbating the affordable housing crisis,” said Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Arvada. “The goal of this bill is to ease the housing crunch, increase transparency in the rental application process and 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 actually be used to conduct a consumer credit or reference check, not increase a landlord’s profit,” said Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver. “Our bill aims to provide some relief to individuals or families searching for housing across our state by putting in place a key consumer protection safeguard in the rental process.”
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.
HB19-1106 puts in place commonsense limits on the application fees that renters face as they search for their next rental home. The bill keeps 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.
The bill was approved on a vote of 7-4 and now heads to the House floor.