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House bill seeks to ease Colorado's high rent prices using local control

Downtown Denver
Posted at 6:13 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 08:57:28-04

DENVER — As housing prices across Colorado continue to increase, a potential new law will allow cities and town to regulate affordable housing in new development projects.

House Bill 21-117 seeks to give localities the authority to regulate development and construction of new affordable housing units.

"All it does is seek to uncouple inclusionary zoning from rent control," said Elena Wilken, policy director at Housing Colorado which helped create the bill. "Thereby restoring that zoning authority to local governments."

The bill comes as rents continue to increase across the Colorado, one of the fastest growing states in the country.

"It's it is basic economics --housing affordability has to do with supply and demand, and we have less supply and more demand," said Wilken. "We have never caught up in housing construction. And our wages remained relatively stagnant. So, that's where you get into an affordability crisis where there's not enough supply, there's too much demand."

The law seeks to reverse a decision by the state supreme court that said local regulations of rent control are not legal under the states TABOR law.

"Local governments have just come to us begging for something that they can do to resolve the housing crisis in their community," said Wilken. "The hope is that they would start to explore methods of incentivizing affordable housing development. It really just gives them a tool in their fairly small toolbox right now."