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August 7, 2023

JOINT RELEASE: Laws to Save Coloradans Money on Housing, Improve Wildfire Insurance Coverage Take Effect

DENVER, CO - On August 7, three laws to reduce the cost of housing, protect homeowners’ access to insurance plans, and improve local governments’ ability to hold short-term rentals to local rules and regulations will go into effect.

“The lack of housing in Colorado is driving up home prices and rental rates while also negatively impacting our environment,” said Rep. William Lindstedt, D-Broomfield, sponsor of HB23-1255. “By eliminating arbitrary local growth caps, communities will be able to strategically build housing that better accommodates our needs while also reducing our reliance on car travel, which will improve our air quality.”

"Colorado needs more housing," said Senator Julie Gonzales, D-Denver, sponsor of HB23-1255. "Eliminating arbitrary growth caps will increase supply and allow more Coloradans to remain in the communities they currently live and work in. I’m proud to champion policy that will help communities keep up with ongoing growth, ease displacement, and help us meet our housing needs."

“Arbitrary growth caps shift the burden of keeping up with housing demand on neighboring, and often lower-income, communities,” said Rep. Ruby Dickson, D-Centennial, sponsor of HB23-1255. “Housing affordability is one of the biggest concerns for Coloradans. With our new law going into effect soon, we can tackle our housing shortage together while reducing commute times and air pollution.”

Beginning August 7, local governments are prohibited from enacting and enforcing housing growth restrictions that limit housing development to a certain number of building permits or approvals without a transparent process and fair consideration of a proposal’s merits. Under HB23-1255, local governments are not required to accept any specific developments or projects, but they can’t reject a proposal simply due to an arbitrary growth cap. 

“The increasing threat of wildfires has left many homeowners with less insurance coverage than they need, but with our new law, home owners will have more options for additional coverage they can afford,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder, sponsor of HB23-1174. “Coloradans will be able to purchase a plan that provides the peace of mind that their home is appropriately insured in the event of a wildfire disaster.”

“Homeowners in my community have faced devastating and costly damage from wildfires that can feel impossible to build back from,” said Rep. Kyle Brown, D-Louisville, sponsor of HB23-1174. “With our new law going into effect soon, Colorado homeowners will be able to purchase coverage that meets their needs and protects them from future wildfire damage.”

Starting August 7, HB23-1174, also sponsored by Republican Senator Mark Baisley, requires home insurance companies to offer a variety of extended coverages to protect consumers, covering the cost of repair or replacement for a damaged or destroyed structure. If a homeowner wants additional coverage, the insurer must offer coverage for extended replacement, law and ordinance, and inflation protection. It also extends the length of time in which an insurer would have to notify a homeowner of a cancellation or refusal to renew a homeowner’s policy from 30 days to 60 days.

Representative Judy Amabile passed similar legislation in the 2022 Legislative Session in response to the Marshall Fire that destroyed over 1,000 homes in Boulder County. The law ensured that homeowners received fair compensation for the loss of their property and streamlined the insurance claims process for underinsured disaster victims.

“These two new bipartisan laws that take effect today are the next step forward in our continued and multi-faceted commitment to addressing the housing crisis in Colorado,” said Senator Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, sponsor of HB23-1174 and HB23-1287. “The bolstered insurance protections offered by HB 1174 will help protect vulnerable Coloradans and allow people to insure their homes, businesses, and property against potential disasters like wildfires. And with HB23-1287, we’re strengthening protections for local residents in rural resort communities to help curb the unintended impacts of short-term rentals on our communities.”

“Short-term rentals offer important benefits to our mountain communities and support tourism, but it’s clear they have impacts on the liveability of our towns,” said Speaker Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, sponsor of HB23-1287. “By strengthening transparency and compliance with local regulations of short-term rentals, we can live in neighborhoods that work better for everyone.”

“Rural resort communities know firsthand the impact that short-term rentals have had on our neighborhoods and our housing market,” said Rep. Meghan Lukens, D-Steamboat Springs, sponsor of HB23-1287. “With the implementation of our new law, local governments will now be able to effectively regulate short-term rentals to protect owners, renters, and community members if a short-term rental violates local rules and regulations.”

A board of county commissioners already has the authority to regulate units that are rented or used for short-term stays. HB23-1287 clarifies the definition of a short-term rental and provides counties with the authority to work with digital platforms to accurately list compliant short-term rentals.

Beginning August 7, HB23-1287 gives counties the ability to require an owner of a property, or the owner’s agent, to include a rental license or permit in any listing for a short-term rental unit on a digital platform. If a county has regulations on short-term rentals, the county will be able to require a digital platform to remove any rental listing if the owner of the listing:

  • Has their local short-term rental license or permit suspended or revoked,

  • Has received a notice violation, or a similar legal process, for not holding a valid local short-term rental license or permit, or

  • Is not allowed to list their unit as a short-term rental due to county rules.

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