February and March were active months for the Colorado House of Representatives with respect to attempted reforms of current landlord/tenant laws in Colorado.  In addition to proposed major overhauls to Colorado statutory eviction procedures (House Bill 23-1171), on February 27th the House passed House Bill 23-1115, which proposes repealing the current statewide ban on local government rent control measures.

Under current state law, counties and municipalities are expressly prohibited from enacting any ordinance or resolution controlling rent on private residential property or individual private residential housing units (C.R.S. § 38-12-301).  In addition to repealing that prohibition, HB 23-1115 proposes a conforming amendment placing specific requirements on future local government rent control measures.

Among those requirements proposed by HB 23-1115, valid local government rent control ordinances or resolutions would need to:

  1. Be uniformly applied among all renters that are similarly situated;
  2. Be uniformly applied, among all private residential properties and residential housing units that are similarly situated; and
  3. Not impose a limit less than the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index, plus 3% and reasonable increases based on actual costs incurred and demonstrated by landlords in conducting “substantial renovations.”

Rent control ordinances and resolutions would be statutorily prohibited from applying to any private residential properties or units until 15 years after the date on which the property owner received a certificate of occupancy, or housing units provided by non-profit organizations and regulated by HUD or other Federal programs.

HB 23-1115 was introduced in the Colorado Senate on March 1st, and its future remains uncertain amid signals from Governor Jared Polis that he is “skeptical” of the efficacy of rent control measures in promoting increased housing supply.  Governor Polis’ concerns regarding Colorado’s housing supply are not unfounded, as Colorado and the Denver metro area remain among the nation’s worst markets for housing shortages.  While the passage of HB 23-1115 would not result in a statewide blanket of rent control measures, landlords and renters throughout the state may be impacted as local governments consider whether to adopt such measures in their jurisdiction.