Polis signs bill banning residential occupancy limits in Colorado into law


by Brandon Richard at denver7.com

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis on Monday signed a bill aimed at ending “discriminatory” rules that limit how many unrelated people can live together into law.

“It’s none of the government’s business,” Polis said. “If they get along and they’re roommates and they want to be able to have their leases and live there together, of course, Coloradans should be able to do so.”

House Bill 24-1007, also known as the HOME (Harmonizing Occupancy Measures Equitably) Act, prohibits local governments from limiting the number of unrelated people living together under the same roof.

As she watched the governor sign the bill into law on the west steps of the State Capitol, Denver resident Sarah Wells couldn’t help but get emotional.

“We’ve been working on legislation like this since we moved into our house nine years ago and have been living illegally all of that time,” said Wells.

Wells lives in a housing co-op.

“I live in my home with my husband and our four-and-a-half-year-old son. And there are seven other adults who live with us,” Wells said.

Wells said her roommates include teachers, interpreters, and civil servants who, like many others in Colorado, can’t afford to live alone.

“A lot of those folks are staying with us and living with us and have become member-owners of our cooperative because we provide affordable rent,” said Wells.

In many cities, including Denver, there are limits on how many unrelated people can live under one roof. Some lawmakers believe such occupancy limits are a form of discrimination.

“Discriminatory occupancy limits prevent us from living with the people that we choose to live with,” said State Rep. Manny Rutinel, one of the bill’s sponsors.

Rutinel also noted that many Latino families may be discriminated against because they live with distant relatives.

“I’m excited that this bill will finally allow us to legalize roommates,” said Rutinel. “It’s as simple as that.”