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Home | Steps to Compliance | Inspection Information | SmartRegs Renter Information | Program Progress

SmartRegs requires all licensed rental housing, about half of Boulder's housing stock, to meet a basic energy efficiency standard by Dec. 31, 2018.

The SmartRegs ordinances update the City of Boulder Housing Code, Rental Licensing Code, and provide new baseline energy efficiency requirements for existing rental housing in Boulder. Improving energy efficiency in existing rental housing enhances tenant comfort and supports the community's energy goals and climate commitment.

The community has made significant progress in achieving these energy efficiency goals pdfAs of March 31, 2018, about 90 percent of the 23,000 licensed rental units in Boulder were engaged in the SmartRegs process, and more than 77 percent of all units were compliant. 

Based on projected 2018 costs to administer the SmartRegs program, a services fee of $100 is recommended by Planning & Development Services staff. This is in addition to the 2017 services fee of $50, for a total SmartRegs Service fee of $150 for properties which are not compliant prior to 12/31/2017.

Frequently Asked Questions on 2018 Fee Changes

What is the SmartRegs Service Fee?

  • SmartRegs program costs, including staff and advising services, have been supported through CAP Tax since adoption in 2010 through 2016.  Fees to cover operating costs are reviewed annually. In 2017, a first-time services fee of $50 applied to rental licenses which were not compliant with SmartRegs requirements.
  • The proposed 2018 SmartRegs fee is $100, in addition to the 2017 SmartRegs fee, for a total of $150.
  • You can review proposed 2018 SmartRegs fee changes here. pdf
What does the fee pay for?
  • City costs to administer the SmartRegs program, including contracted services and associated employees for 2018, including EnergySmart advising services to assist with compliance.
  • 60 percent of the program costs would be covered by the new fee.
  • 40 percent of the program costs would be covered by the General Fund. 
Who will pay the SmartRegs Service Fee and when?
  • The $100 fee applies to any rental housing license that has not passed a SmartRegs inspection by December 31, 2017. 
  • This fee does not apply to Short Term rental licenses.
  • The fee would be due at the time of license issuance, including issuing an updated license to a full four-year term.
  • The 2018 proposed fee is in addition to the 2017 SmartRegs fee which was already assessed.
What if I only do Short-Term Rentals?
  • The SmartRegs Ordinance does not apply to a short-term rental license, which requires a property to be the owner’s principle residence.
What help is there to become compliant?
  • Get started at  Steps to Compliance
  • EnergySmart  provides advising for property owners with a comprehensive, one-stop-shop for energy efficiency solutions including:
    • A free, dedicated energy advisor to assist with determining where individual properties stand in relation to SmartRegs compliance, and to recommend the best method of compliance for each individual rental property; and
    • Direct installation of free energy efficiency measures, help scheduling contractors for any efficiency improvements that need to be made, and assistance identifying and applying for eligible rebates and incentives.
What happens if I don't become compliant?
  • All rental licenses for properties which are non-compliant will expire on 12/31/2018.
  • Properties continuing to rent without a license after expiration will be subject to enforcement including:
    • Civil Penalty for renting without a license:
      • 1 st violation - $150 - $500
      • 2 nd violation - $300 - $750
      • 3 rd violation - $1,000
    • Investigation fees from enforcement staff:
      • Each investigation - $250

Continued non-compliance may result in a court summons, which carries a $250 bond per violation.

How can I give feedback?
  • The first reading of the 2018 budget, including fee changes, occurred at the Oct. 3 City Council meeting.  This meeting  included a public hearing where community members can provide feedback on the budget and fee changes. The second reading and another public hearing on the 2018 recommended budget occurred on Oct. 17.
  • You can contact us by phone or email at: 303-441-4038  [email protected]

SmartRegs History

This multi-departmental effort started in summer 2009 with the goal of enhancing tenant comfort in Boulder's licensed rental properties. From its inception, the project included both community and technical-based working groups to represent key stakeholders as well as help formulate proposals. The SmartRegs, or Smart Regulation, project went through various layers of public outreach and integration including public meetings, online surveys, social media channels and an official public process. SmartRegs was adopted by Boulder City Council on Sept. 21, 2010.The Community Planning and Sustainability and Public Works departments examined code changes needed to update the technical provisions of the Housing Code and Rental Housing Inspection and Licensing Program. Potential code requirements that would further community sustainability objectives, especially energy efficiency. Adjustments to the rental licensing provisions of the code may be warranted to further streamline and clarify its administration, including evaluating the program’s cost recovery and fees.At a Nov. 18, 2008 City Council Study Session on the Climate Action Plan (CAP), council identified strategies needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet Boulder's climate objectives. One of the primary strategies for reaching this goal is reducing energy use in buildings. From 2007 through the first quarter of 2009, several energy efficiency measures were implemented that exceeded 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) minimum standards for residential and commercial buildings in new construction, remodels and additions (learn more about the Green Building Program).Addressing energy efficiency in existing rental housing and existing commercial buildings continues to be an area of focus for the city. The Boulder Building Performance Ordinance, adopted Oct. 20, 2015, is currently advancing rating and reporting and energy efficiency requirements for commercial, industrial and city-owned buildings in Boulder.


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