Governor Polis Signs Rent Control Bill for Affordable Housing Units

Walnut Street Lofts, a permanently affordable housing development adjacent to the 38th and Blake RTD Station. Rendering courtesy of KEPHART.

Last week, Governor Polis signed CML-initiated legislation HB21-1117 into law that will give local governments an enhanced ability to control rents in new or redeveloped affordable housing units.

Under the bill, cities and counties may plan for and regulate the use of land, including the authority to regulate development or redevelopment in order to promote the construction of new affordable housing units. The provisions of the state’s rent control statute do not apply to any land use regulation that restricts rents on newly constructed or redeveloped housing units as long as the regulation provides a choice of options to the property owner or land developer and creates one or more alternatives to the construction of new affordable housing units on the building site.

The bill also states that it should not be construed to authorize a local government to adopt or enforce any ordinance or regulation that would have the effect of controlling rent on any existing private residential housing unit in violation of the existing statutory prohibition on rent control.

Colorado Municipal League — a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1923, representing the interests of 270 cities and towns — applauded the signing of the bill in a press release.

“This act corrects an unfortunate decision by the Colorado Supreme Court in 2000 and restores local control over land use. The crushing costs of rental housing, when any is even available, require every tool municipalities can reasonably use,” said CML Legislative Advocacy Manager Meghan Dollar. “We thank Rep. Susan Lontine, Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, Sen. Julie Gonzales and Sen. Robert Rodriguez for their support and tireless work on this important issue.”

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