By Jaimie Goldstein

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado’s Attorney General Phil Weiser is taking steps urging major online real estate companies to address illegal price gouging of rental properties on their platforms in the wake of the Marshall Fire that destroyed nearly 1,100 homes in Boulder County.

Weiser sent letters to Airbnb, Zillow, Vrbo and REColorado requesting the necessary steps to make sure their platforms were not taking advantage of vulnerable Coloradans during a disaster period.

Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency on Dec. 30 when nearly 35,000 Coloradans were forced to evacuate because of the destructive wildfire. Those who lost their homes or cannot return to their unlivable homes for months are in need of safe and affordable housing as they begin to rebuild their lives.

Two homes burn in the Centennial Heights neighborhood in Louisville. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

Colorado law prohibits charging excessive amounts for essential goods, products or services during a disaster period, which is 180 days from the day of declaration.

The companies have until Jan. 25 to respond to Weiser’s letters with what steps they are taking to make sure price gouging isn’t happening. Although Weiser didn’t send letters to every landlord out there, price gouging laws apply to any rental property, even those that don’t use those online platforms.

Coloradans who witness price gouging or think they may be a victim of it should reach out to the Attorney General’s office at 800-222-4444.

Jaimie Goldstein