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DENVER (KDVR) — Time is ticking for landlords when it comes to getting their properties licensed in Denver. The deadline is just a couple of weeks away and thousands of rentals are still unlicensed, which will be required on Jan. 1.

Denver City Council is cracking down on housing standards and passed an ordinance early this year that requires all landlords in the city and county to have a license. The ordinance is being implemented in a phased-in approach.

On Jan. 1, all landlords renting more than one unit, including apartment complexes, must be licensed. If you own one rental property, the deadline to get licensed is Jan. 1, 2024.

In September, FOX31 interviewed Eric Escudero, spokesperson for Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses. He shared that only 1% of property owners had complied with the ordinance at that time, calling it a slow and disappointing start.

“There are obviously a lot of people who are procrastinating to get this required licensing to be a landlord,” Escudero said.

Fast forward to December and FOX31 is revisiting the numbers and checking back in with the city, which said the number has bumped up to about 3%. Although many still have not complied, the department has seen a surge in the last two months as the year dwindles down.

25,000 properties need to be licensed

Escudero shared that in total, 25,000 multi-unit properties need to be licensed. Right now, 702 have been issued for multi-units and 402 for single units. The city has issued 1,104 residential rental licenses and has received 1,366 applications.

On Tuesday, Molly Duplechian, executive director of Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses, said the latest numbers are encouraging.

“We knew that it was going to be a slow start and we know that they’ll be continued outreach,” Duplechian said. “We’re encouraged by the numbers we’re seeing right now, especially with a new licensing program like this one.”

There is still work to do. A landlord’s license is not one of luxury, but basic living standards.

“Could you imagine living in a house where you’re paying thousands of dollars in rent, but yet you don’t have hot water or you have a leak in your roof?” Duplechian said.

Denver rental properties must pass inspection

Property owners must pass an inspection that includes things like running water, no black mold and heat. If an owner does not pass inspection, repairs must be made, but if an owner does pass, an online application is required.

Escudero said the city has seen a massive surge in the amount of qualified private inspectors, going from four in May to 26 companies now. You can find a list of all the companies doing the inspections here.

After the inspection is complete, an online application is required. Duplechian said the cost ranges based on the number of rental units but starts at $50. She also said rentals newer than four years don’t need one and a license is valid for four years, so now is the time to apply.

“If we don’t hear from them, they’ll be hearing from us pretty soon,” Duplechian said.

Another incentive to get licensed before the new year is the 50% discount on application fees happening for the next three weeks. Duplechian said outreach and education will continue into next year, however refusal to comply after being notified will lead to fines.