This Colorado legislation would remove a state-level ban on rent control |

This Colorado legislation would remove a state-level ban on rent control

Top House Democrats have signed on to support the bill

Seth Klamann
The Denver Post
Members of the Colorado House of Representatives gather during the final day of the 2021 legislative session at Colorado State Capitol building in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

Nearly half of Colorado’s House Democrats have signed on to a bill that would allow local governments to enact rent control, repealing a decades-old prohibition and setting up a potential showdown with Gov. Jared Polis.

HB23-1115 does not institute any rent control or stabilization policies statewide. But it removes a state-level block on local officials rolling out one of their own, and it comes as lawmakers and Gov. Jared Polis weigh an array of legislation to address Colorado’s growing housing crisis.

“Rents are too high,” said Rep. Javier Mabrey, a Denver Democrat, eviction attorney and one of the bill’s primary sponsors. “And that does not just mean essential workers like grocery store workers and servers. It’s unaffordable for teachers and nurses.”

Mabrey, a freshman lawmaker, is joined by fellow Democrat Rep. Elizabeth Velasco, of Glenwood Springs, as prime sponsors in the House. Twenty other members — all Democrats — have also signed on. That list includes nearly all of the chamber’s leadership, including Majority Leader Monica Duran, Assistant Majority Leader Jennifer Bacon and the House’s two whips, Reps. Iman Jodeh and Andy Boesenecker.

Supporters cast rent control not as a silver bullet to Colorado’s housing affordability crisis but as a tool that should be available to local officials. Mabrey said he supported ongoing debates about land-use reform — intended to increase the supply of housing statewide — but that affordability must be included in that policy discussion.

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