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'We're off to a very slow start': Denver officials worried landlords won't be compliant with new safety license

Denver officials worried landlords won't be compliant in time
Denver officials worried landlords won't be compliant in time 02:14

A plan to make sure rental units in Denver are clean and safe is having slow uptake from property managers.

"This is the largest expansion of required licensing in the history of Denver," said Eric Escudero with the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. 

"It's an effort to try to make sure when people rent a home or an apartment it has minimal housing standards. I'm talking about no pests, broken windows, running water, a heater that doesn't give you carbon monoxide poisoning, basically the most minimal standard for someone to live in a place," said Escudero.

The city has a website with more information on the residential rental program. The city is hoping it can find unsafe units and get landlords to make improvements and make conditions safer for renters. The program says every property with a rental unit needs to be inspected. Large complexes must comply by the beginning of 2023, while rental homes have until 2024.

It's anticipated the program will impact 50,000 properties, but so far only 200 have completed the process.

"We're off to a very slow start. that's very concerning. So far, we hit 200 licenses today. 200 out of 25,000. That's not nearly enough, especially when you look and we're 20 weeks away from the first licensing requirements going into effect," Escudero said.

Adding to the concern within the city is the limited number of licensed inspectors, the city approved only five companies.

"I think the demand here in Denver this January and February is going to be pretty large. We built our company to answer just that," said Andy Rhodes who founded Colorado Compliance Inspections.

Rhodes has hired a team of a dozen inspectors and wants to bring on a few more members to the team. He believes toward the end of the year they'll be able to conduct thousands of inspections to meet demand.

"Denver's issued a 26-point inspection list. What our inspectors are doing is making sure each unit they inspect is safe for people to rent," said Rhodes.

"We're going to have a licensing tool to hold slum lords accountable if they have properties that are not up to par. There have been too many instances in Denver of rental properties that are substandard, that impacts the longevity of people's lives," Escudero said.

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