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Gov. Jared Polis signs bill banning most occupancy limits in cities

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Gov. Jared Polis signs bill banning most occupancy limits in cities

Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill Monday that officially lifts most restrictions on the number of unrelated household members who can live together in Colorado.

House Bill 1007 prohibits local governments from imposing occupancy limits, which Polis and other critics of the policy have derided as discriminatory and outdated. About two dozen cities in Colorado have imposed such restrictions, though lawmakers said only a few — including the college city of Fort Collins — are actively enforcing them.

“This issue is both a housing issue and a civil rights issue,” Polis said at a signing ceremony outside the Capitol. “It’s really both. In terms of housing, the ability for people to officially have a lease – it gives them protection, allows them to build their credit, gives them the security that they can live here.

The bill, which takes effect July 1, still gives local governments the ability to limit housing occupancy based on health and safety standards or affordable housing guidelines. The measure was sponsored by Democratic Reps. Manny Rutinel and Javier Mabrey and Democratic Sens. Tony Exum and Julie Gonzales.

Supporters presented the bill as a way to improve housing options, especially for students and older Coloradans, and to eliminate a vestige of old land use policies.

“I live in a five-bedroom house, where I and all my housemates have their own room. There are only three people legally allowed on the lease, which meant the two of us were just hanging out quietly,” said Chase Cromwell, a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder and chair of external affairs for the school’s student government.

“We don’t get any of the legal protections that come with a lease.”