DENVER (KDVR) — Denver’s new residential licensing program is in effect, and now the city will begin to take action against landlords who do not comply.

Jan. 1 was the deadline for landlords of multi-unit residential rental homes to get licensed by the city — a deadline looming since the city began accepting license applications last March.

“Our hope is that landlords and property management companies who receive communication from the city about unlawful operations will take immediate action to get an inspection and apply for a license,” Molly Duplechian, executive director of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, said in a statement.

Denver’s residential licensing program is focused on ensuring minimum housing standards are met for the city’s renters. Those standards include properly functioning facilities, sanitary conditions and pest-free living, among others.

Fines possible for unlicensed Denver rental homes

Denver City Council passed the ordinance back in May 2021, giving the owners of multi-unit rental properties more than a year and a half to prepare for the rule that took effect at the start of 2023.

The law requires multi-unit residential properties to be licensed no later than Jan. 1 of this year, with single-unit landlords required to be licensed by next year. The rental properties must pass an inspection for approval.

Meanwhile, the city has begun warning property owners who missed the 2023 deadline about possible citations and fines. As of Friday, 173 violation notices had been issued against landlords.

The city has said 25,000 multi-unit properties need to be licensed. As of Thursday, just 2,822 were in compliance — about 11% of the total.

A license costs an estimated $150-$200, according to the city, and is good for four years, while more expensive fines are possible for non-compliance. The first fine costs $150, while a fine of $999 may be issued with a third citation.

How to check rental home licensing in Denver

If you’re wondering if your landlord is in compliance, here’s how to check.

  1. Go to the website for Denver’s Permitting and Licensing Center (make sure the “Business Licenses” tab is selected).
  2. Enter your address under the search section.
  3. Click search.

That’s it. If your landlord is licensed under the program, it will be listed with “Residential Rental License” as the license type. The search results will also show if the city has taken enforcement action against your landlord for failing to get licensed.