Denver leaders discuss rent control, but state law won't let those discussions get very far

DENVER — Soaring rent prices have brought the topic of rent control back on the table for Denver City Council members. 

A Rent control proposal would cap the prices of some units and cities would have a say as to how much property owners could charge.

City Councilwoman Debra Ortega says many of the residents living Denver are paying too much. Many tenants are spending more than 30 percent of their income toward rent.

“We are seeing focused involuntary displacement from the city because residents can't afford the increasing costs of housing. I believe we are at a crisis absolutely,” said Ortega. 

But talking about rent control isn't as easy implementing it.

There is a state law banning Colorado cities from enforcing rent caps, and cities that dare to challenge it, like the town of Telluride, won't win. 

In the 2000 case, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in favor of a developer that sued the mountain town for attempting to control unit prices. 

Rent control bills sponsored by Senators and state reps in the past have died. Most builders argue laws controlling rent prices keep development away.

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