Going to a city council meeting is hardly a normal Tuesday night
for most CSU students.
Courtney Stephens, director of community affairs for the
Associated Students of CSU, hopes that tonight that will be
Stephens is urging students to attend tonight’s city council
meeting and voice concerns about the new rental-licensing plan the
council is considering.
Landlords would be required to get a license to lease their
property to renters. Although specific details have not been
outlined, rental licensing, which has been implemented in a variety
of college towns across the United States, is usually used to
increase landlord and tenant responsibility for nuisance behavior,
parking problems, health and safety issues and the number of
tenants occupying any one property.
Fort Collins has a three-unrelated law that mandates that no
more than three unrelated adults may live in the same house. This
law causes problems for many students because they violate the law
to keep their rent costs low, Stephens said.
In many situations, she said, students rent houses with enough
bedrooms and parking facilities for more than three renters. Only
three people are listed on the rental agreement, but the students
add roommates to further divide rent costs.
This puts the listed tenants in a dangerous position. If one of
the unlisted roommates violates the rental agreement, there is no
legal recourse for the registered tenants, since they are already
violating Fort Collins’ law.
Rental licensing could change the city’s occupancy laws,
although the lack of detailed plans makes it hard to anticipate its
effects on students.
Rental licensing would also classify rental properties as
businesses, which would require landlords to undergo licensing
processes and possible property inspections, leading to expensive
The cost of these renovations, Stephens fears, may increase rent
“That is the main worry for students,” she said. “If you have
properties that are under code that need thousands of dollars worth
of renovations, that cost could be passed on to the students.”
Stephens also worries that rental licensing targets students,
because many of the city’s renters are students.
“It is somewhat discriminatory in that it is targeted at student
populations,” she said.
Lloyd Walker, a member of Rolland Moore West Neighborhood
Network, which supports rental licensing in Fort Collins,
“I don’t think there’s any particular discrimination against
students in general, there’s a problem with students who don’t
respect the neighborhoods they’re in,” Walker said.
Robin Armstrong, who runs 51 rental properties with her husband,
worries licensing regulations would be costly for landlords, as
well as difficult, if not impossible to enforce. She also worries
that, as a landlord, she would not be able to monitor the
One major concern that rental licensing would address is
nuisance complaints on rental properties. Complaints range from
noise violations and loud, late-night parties to renters using more
parking spaces than neighbors think is fair.
Armstrong thinks the idea of holding landlords responsible for
their tenants’ behavior is impractical.
“So how do we know (what they’re doing) unless we go spy on them
every weekend?” she said.
Anthony Smith, a broker associate for Keller Williams Realty,
said he believes the purpose of rental licensing is to keep student
renters out of certain neighborhoods.
“It’s intolerance,” he said. “The stuff that they complain about
is stuff anyone could do. We’re talking people who will call and
complain because trash day is Thursday and the trash was put out on
Walker said that nuisance problems are more of a concern than
landlords realize. He said that violations of the three-unrelated
law are common in his neighborhood, and disregard for the law
encourages violations of other property issues.
Melisse Anderson, who lives in the Rolland Moore West area, said
that problems in her neighborhood include unsightly and uncared-for
“We’ve had major trash and rubbish left out on front yards and
driveways that is left there for weeks. People leave their trash
can out in front of their garage door, and (city) code says trash
cans should be screened from view,” Anderson said.
Stephens encouraged students to attend the city council meeting
at 6 tonight at 300 LaPorte Ave. Early in the meeting, she said,
there will be a time for gallery input when students can address
concerns about rental licensing.
Let your voice be heard at city
Fort Collins City Council
300 LaPorte Ave.
6 p.m. tonight