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February 9, 2024

House Passes Bill to Make Housing More Affordable

Legislation would help alleviate housing crisis across Colorado

DENVER, CO - The House today passed legislation to prohibit local governments from implementing or enforcing residential occupancy limits except for health and safety reasons. The bill passed by a vote of 40-20.

“The scarcity of housing is a problem for Coloradans in every corner of our state, forcing people to live paycheck to paycheck just to have a roof over their head,”  said Rep. Manny Rutinel, D-Commerce City. “Unnecessary housing limits often prevent Coloradans from living with friends or distant family members, reducing housing options and pushing people out of their communities. By allowing more Coloradans to legally share living spaces, we can increase the availability of housing options and ensure that Coloradans have a place to call home.”

“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 would prohibit local governments from limiting the number of people who can live together in a residence. Limits would be permitted if based on demonstrated health and safety standards, such as fire code regulations, wastewater and water quality standards and international building code standards. 

Occupancy limits typically cap the number of people that can live in a residence based on whether or not 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 unrelated people, and last year, Boulder City Council voted to increase their occupancy limit to five unrelated people. 

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