Titone and Gonzales-Gutierrez’s commonsense bill could help ease housing crunch
(Feb. 21) – This morning, the House voted in favor of a bill that would 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 Colorado’s affordable housing crisis,” said Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Arvada. “ We need to do everything we can to ease the housing crunch and increase transparency in the rental application process to ensure bad actors aren’t harming Coloradans seeking a home for themselves and their families. This bill helps accomplish that.”
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 legislation will provide relief to individuals or families searching for housing from the Front Range to the Western Slope by putting in place a key 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 and now heads to the Senate.