DENVER (KDVR) — The Apartment Association of Metro Denver says the average cost of rent in Denver is down $32 from the last fiscal quarter but the average cost for rent in Denver is still $1,900 a month.
Some state lawmakers are looking to stop rent from fluctuating so much, but do they have enough support to get it passed this session?
Rent stabilization has been explored at the Colorado Capitol for years. Four years ago, lawmakers introduced a bill that would give local governments the power to stabilize rent by removing the language in state law that prevents that from happening. It failed to make it out of the Senate in 2019 but lawmakers think it will have better success this time around. Freshmen state Representatives Javier Mabrey and Elizabeth Velasco are bringing the 2023 bill.
“We really need to do something to make sure that people can live in the communities that they work in,” Mabrey said. “The big thing that has changed is what is happening on the ground. We are dealing with a housing crisis like Colorado has never seen before. Representative Velasco talks about this a lot — people commuting two hours to go work in the communities that they can no longer afford to live in and I think because of this pressure we are feeling across the state, the political dynamics have changed.”
Twenty-one Democrats have signed on to co-sponsor the measure, a sign that there is widespread support for the bill.
“There is so much momentum for helping working families for supporting working families. So we definitely have all the support and we are looking forward to getting more people on board,” Velasco said.
One Democrat may need some convincing to get their support. Governor Jared Polis notably opposed a rent stabilization aspect of a mobile home protection bill last year. On this year’s plan, his office told us:
The rent is too damn high. The governor and his team are always open to seeing specific proposals and letting legislators know if they have any concerns. Governor Polis is skeptical that rent control will create more housing stock, and locations with these policies often have the unintended consequences of higher rent.Spokesperson for the governor’s office
Sponsors are hopeful they will be able to sway the governor.
“We need more housing in our state but we also need to make sure that renters are a part of the conversation and that we are doing something to immediately stabilize people in their homes and these policies work best when they are paired with re-zoning policies like the governor talked about in his State of the State. And so because that’s where he is at, we’re eager to partner and optimistic,” Mabrey said.
The bill has been assigned to the Transportation, Housing and Local Government committee.