(The Center Square) – Colorado Democrats introduced legislation this week to overturn the state’s ban on rent controls.
The bill, which would allow municipalities to implement their own rent control measures, has its critics in the housing industry, who argue that rent control would negatively affect the availability of affordable housing.
House bill 23-1115 was unveiled Monday and sponsored by Rep. Javier Mabrey, D-Denver, Elizabeth Velasco, D-Glenwood Springs, and Senator Robert Rodriguez, D-Denver. It has been assigned to the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee, which is due to meet at 1:30pm on 15 February.
The Colorado Apartment Association, a trade group representing landlords and developers, released a statement Tuesday criticizing the measure.
“Everyone in Colorado is deeply concerned about the lack of accessible housing across the state,” said Drew Hamrick, the group’s general counsel and senior vice president of government affairs, in a statement. “While it may be well-intentioned, it will only allow cities to enact rent controls, making housing more expensive and less available, making the problem worse rather than solving it. The rental price brake has failed wherever it was tried.”
2019, Senate bill 225also sponsored by Rodriguez, would have repealed the rent control ban law, but it couldn’t advance the House before the end of the legislature.
“Colorado’s ban on local governments from enacting rent control ordinances for more than 40 years is both an acknowledgment of the damage rent controls can do to available housing and an understanding that a local government’s housing policies can have negative impacts on neighboring communities,” said Hamrick to the annual accounts. “If Denver imposes a rent cap and homebuilders cut back on new housing units in Denver, it will drive up housing costs in all surrounding communities. People in Aurora and Westminster will end up paying more for housing because their neighbor artificially reduced supply with the rent cap.”
Approximately 98% of Colorado residents live according to a report published by the Common Sense Institute last year. Between 46,600 and 72,600 permits will be needed annually over the next two years to close the nationwide housing shortage and meet the demands of future population growth.
research by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a shortage of affordable rental housing for extremely low-income households, defined as those with incomes at or below the poverty guideline, or 30% of the region’s median income.
“Heavily cost-burdened poor households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities, such as healthy eating and health care, to pay rent and experience housing instabilities such as evictions,” according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition website.
Hamrick added that lawmakers “need to focus on policies that encourage the creation of more housing units.”
“Multi-family houses are a particularly useful way of addressing our housing shortage because they are more energy efficient, take up less land, are less expensive and allow people to live closer to where they live and therefore drive less,” he said.