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June 27, 2024

Law to Make Housing More Affordable, Remove Unnecessary Occupancy Limits Goes Into Effect

New law to improve housing affordability and options goes into effect

DENVER, CO - On July 1, 2024, legislation goes into effect to prohibit local governments from implementing or enforcing residential occupancy limits except for health and safety reasons.

“Colorado has a housing shortage across the state, forcing people to live paycheck to paycheck just to have a roof over their head,”  said Rep. Manny Rutinel, D-Commerce City. “Discriminatory housing limits often prevent Coloradans from living with friends or distant family members, reducing housing options and pushing people out of their communities. Now, we’re allowing more Coloradans to legally share living spaces, which will make housing more affordable and help ensure that more Coloradans have a place to call home.”

“Ending discriminatory occupancy limits is a great way to break down housing barriers and create a more equitable market,” said Senator Julie Gonzales, D-Denver. “These limits disproportionately affect historically marginalized communities that may have diverse family structures. It’s time we lift outdated occupancy limits and give Coloradans a wider range of housing options.”

“Occupancy limits that are not genuinely necessary for health and safety 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.”

“Strict occupancy limits can reduce housing options and push folks out of their communities,” said Senator Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs. “Prohibiting occupancy limits would give residents the freedom to choose their living situations and who they live with. With this bill, we can allow families to live in a structure that’s best for them – without the interference of occupancy limits.”

HB24-1007 prohibits local governments from limiting the number of people who can live together based on family status. Limits are only permitted if they are based on affordable housing program guidelines or demonstrated health and safety standards, such as fire code regulations, wastewater and water quality standards, or 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.

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