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SUPPORT FAIR HOUSING APPLICATION FEES HB 19-1106

SUPPORT FAIR HOUSING APPLICATION FEES HB 19-1106 Sponsored by Rep. Brianna Titone, Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, & Sen. Brittany Pettersen THE PROBLEM

~ For many of Colorado’s most economically disadvantaged residents, one of the most difficult challenges in attaining housing often occurs at the onset of their search— when they must pay the non-refundable application fees often required just to submit a rental application.

~ Landlords collect rental application fees to recoup costs they incur to assess whether to rent to an applicant. These expenses can include credit checks, criminal record inquiries, and administrative fees for the time and effort required to conduct screening.

~ Under existing state law, there are no limits on what landlords can charge as a rental application fee and there are no safeguards to assure the fee aligns with the cost of screening.

~ The unregulated collection of rental application fees has been a significant factor in exacerbating Colorado’s affordable housing crisis. In a 2016 survey conducted by 9to5 Colorado, more than half of all respondents stated that application fees posed a barrier to housing. Respondents also reported fees as high as $145 per person or up to almost $1,000 when landlords tact on ambiguous “administration” or “initiation” fees.

~ For low-income families who are struggling to find housing, the relatively high cost of these non-refundable fees can quickly exhaust limited financial resources, which are also needed for a security deposit and the first month’s rent.

THE SOLUTION ~ HB19-1106 limits the fee a landlord may charge a prospective tenant to the landlord's actual costs for a personal reference check, consumer credit report or tenant screening report. It also requires the landlord to provide an itemized receipt of actual expenses incurred and return any unused portion of the fee. It also defines application fees to include any sum of money that is charged by a landlord in connection with a prospective tenant’s submission of a rental application.

~ The bill additionally would limit landlords from going back in credit and rental history to 7 years and in the event an application is denied, the bill requires landlords to provide a written notice explaining exactly which criteria were not met by the applicant. It would also limit criminal background checks to 5 years for most types of convictions. Arrests without convictions could not be cause for denial of an application.

~ From the time an application is accepted, the landlord has 20 days to comply with these regulations or return the application fee before a tenant can take legal action. If a landlord violates the act, a tenant can receive up to 3 times the amount of the application, plus reasonable attorney and court fees.

For more information, please contact:

Andrea Chiriboga-Flor at andrea@9to5.org,

Meghan Raynes at 303-898-1716


ENDORSEMENTS

Colorado Homes For All

9to5 Colorado

Enterprise Community Partners

United for a New Economy

Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

Padres y Jóvenes Unidos

Mile High Connects

Our Home Our Right

Colorado Center on Law & Policy

Center for Health & Progress

Colorado Cross Disability Coalition

Denver Homeless

Out Loud Denver

Artists for Rent Control

The Denver Foundation

The Interfaith Alliance

El Paso County Democratic Party

Center for Health Progress

B-Konnected Together

Colorado Southwest Center for Independence

Westwood Unidos

Second Chance Center

Denver Indian Family Resource Center (DIFRC)

SafeHouse Denver

The Gathering Place

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG)

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