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January 30, 2024

Colorado House Democrats Pass Bill to Make Housing More Affordable

Legislation would help alleviate housing crisis across Colorado

DENVER, CO - The House Transportation, Housing & Local Government Committee today passed legislation to prohibit local governments from implementing or enforcing residential occupancy limits except for health and safety reasons. 

“Arbitrary housing limits exacerbate the housing crisis, creating an unnecessary barrier that makes it even more difficult for Coloradans to find a place to live,” said Rep. Manny Rutinel, D-Commerce City. “Prohibiting occupancy limits opens up affordable housing options, reduces our environmental impact, and gives Coloradans the freedom to live with others even if they aren’t related. This legislation is critical in giving Coloradans more housing choices and creating more affordable housing opportunities.” 

“Occupancy limits that are not genuinely based on health and safety concerns limit the ability of Coloradans struggling to get by to find affordable housing,” said Rep. Javier Mabrey, D-Denver. “At a time when Coloradans face a shortage of housing supply, our governments should not be limiting the supply of housing. This legislation will expand housing options for all and allow people to make their own housing choices that benefit their families and save them money.”

HB24-1007, which passed by a vote of 8-3, would prohibit local governments from limiting the number of people who can live together in a residence, regardless of familial relationship. Exceptions include only for demonstrated health and safety standards, such as fire code regulations, wastewater and water quality standards and international building code standards. 

Occupancy limits cap the amount of people that can live in a residence if they are not related, even if the residence has more bedrooms than the occupancy limit standard. In 2023, there were over 14,000 Coloradans experiencing homelessness. More than 50 percent of renters in the Denver Metro Area, as well as counties like Boulder, El Paso, Larimer, Pueblo, Summit, Eagle, and Mesa, are cost burdened.

In 2021, Denver City Council passed a measure to increase their occupancy limit standards from two to five people, and last year, Boulder City Council voted to increase their occupancy limit standards from three to five people. 

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