Tenants plead with Colorado lawmakers to let cities enact rent control measures | SummitDaily.com

Tenants plead with Colorado lawmakers to let cities enact rent control measures

House Democrats have thrown their support behind the proposal, but Polis is skeptical

Seth Klamann
Denver Post
Leonard Moralez fixes a cup of coffee in his Westminster apartment on Feb. 16, 2023. Moralez testified at the state Capitol Wednesday before the House of Representatives Transportation, Housing and Local Government committee, which is considering a rent control bill, HB-1115, that would allow local governments to enact rent stabilization. Moralez, 65, a permanently disabled Army veteran, is expecting to be priced out of his current apartment after his lease ends in May.
Andy Cross/The Denver Post

DENVER — For hour after hour, the pleas washed over lawmakers.

It began with 65-year-old Leonard Moralez, who said the rent on his Westminster apartment was set to increase by $500, consuming his $1,200 monthly fixed income. He’d spent three years unhoused, he told legislators, and now feared “that I’m going to be homeless again.”

Four hours later, Emma-Ingrid Pena-Carrera described how she and her husband sleep in the living room of their two-bedroom rental home in Green Valley Ranch so their children can have the bedrooms. Their rent is $2,500, she said, and covering it takes up more than half of the family’s income. Loans from friends, trips to the food bank and the sale of personal possessions keep them afloat.

“I know many of you ignore and can’t even imagine the way we live,” Pena-Carrera said in Spanish to members of the House’s Transportation, Housing and Local Government committee, which spent eight hours on Wednesday listening to back-and-forth testimony about the promises and perils of rent control.

The meeting was the first public hearing for HB23-1115, which would repeal a 42-year-old prohibition on local governments enacting rent control policies. The bill, which passed the committee after lawmakers placed guardrails around how rent control policies could be enacted in Colorado, pitted tenants versus landlords and housing advocates versus property developers and business groups. Elected officials from several Colorado towns and cities, including Denver councilwoman Robin Kniech, testified in support of the bill.

Read the full story on DenverPost.com.

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