Gov. Jared Polis signs HB24-1175 into law, furthering preservation of existing affordable housing. He is joined by Reps. Andy Boesenecker and Emily Sirota, Sens. Faith Winter and Sonya Jaquez-Lewis, and policy advocates.

The Colorado General Assembly passed landmark bills to increase the supply of affordable homes and enhance housing stability in the 2024 legislative session, including many initiatives that didn’t make it over the line last year.

Working alongside legislative champions, gubernatorial and departmental staff, and dedicated advocacy partners, Enterprise is proud to have played a role in shaping and passing many of the initiatives below. 

Meeting Community Needs through Affordable Homes & Climate Resiliency 

Governor Jared Polis’ signature land use and zoning efforts to increase housing across Colorado earned wide-ranging success in 2024. Successes included a bill on statewide housing needs and plans that eventually earned broad support. 

In Brief: A bill providing for high-quality assessments of housing needs and displacement risks – followed by responsive housing action plans – promises a clearer understanding of who Colorado’s affordable housing efforts are serving, and who is being left behind. 

  • Senate Bill 174 builds on the most widely agreed-upon aspects of land use legislation that died on the final day of last year’s session, providing for data-based housing needs assessments at local, regional, and state levels, with critical provisions for the inclusion of under-consulted communities. It also provides for local governments to respond to these assessments through actionable housing plans. Assessments and plans will be submitted to the State for acceptance and publication to increase community accountability.  

Anti-displacement and affordability: This year’s bill seeks to scale pioneering work from Denver identifying communities at risk of involuntary displacement so responsive housing plans and future policies, programs, and investments can better serve those communities. 

  • To be eligible for $15 million authorized in the bill and other state funds, local governments must identify and pursue at least three affordability and one displacement mitigation strategies responsive to their communities’ demonstrated needs. 

Timing: Initial rollout of the bill’s housing elements begins this year with the State Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) putting forward extensive guidance, continuing through the end of 2027, when DOLA is to publish the first-ever statewide housing assessment based on intervening local and regional analyses.  

Climate Resilience: In 2025, the State must publish two reports specific to climate resilience. 

  • One will supplement Colorado’s existing Climate Preparedness Roadmap and assess the impact of land use policies on the environment and housing sprawl alongside recommendations to advance environmentally and fiscally sustainable growth. 
  • Another will identify opportunities for communities to connect to and preserve open spaces, wildlife habitats, vulnerable ecosystems, and other such environments.   

TOD, ADUs, and More: A suite of related bills representing distinct parts of the 2023 omnibus land use effort passed this year. Enterprise and our partners worked extensively to ensure inclusion of requirements, incentives, and resources benefitting Coloradans facing the greatest barriers to affordable, stable housing:

  • Increasing housing near transit (House Bill 1313): Requires transit-oriented communities—local governments within one of the Colorado’s five metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) that meet defined population, geographic area, and public transit criteria—to maintain minimum zoning density allowances, particularly around defined “transit centers” and “transit corridors.” 
    • Subject jurisdictions must report to the state how they will zone and otherwise create opportunities for new home production near transit. 
    • In a national first, subject transit-oriented communities must also identify and then implement at least three local strategies to create homes affordable to low-to-moderate income residents and at least two strategies to mitigate development-driven displacement in the long-term—provisions essential to Enterprise’s support of the overall bill. 
    • The State will begin publishing implementation guidance in July 2024, and subject jurisdictions must submit initial reports by the end of 2026.   
  • Promoting accessory dwelling units (HB 1152): Certain municipalities and county areas within MPOs will be required to allow an approved accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on any single-family zoned lot, while also not passing or enforcing certain local policies prohibitive to ADU construction, by mid-2025. 
    • Any local government meeting these requirements and implementing at least one strategy to proactively facilitate ADU development will be eligible for related state grants, and financing will be available for LMI homeowners. These funds are prioritized to helping low-to-moderate income (LMI) homeowners build ADUs and homeowners creating ADUs as long-term rentals to LMI renters or local workers.   
  • Moving away from unnecessary parking (HB 1304): Starting mid-2025, municipalities and counties will be barred from requiring a minimum amount of parking specifically for the development or rezoning if a property: is at least half of the building will be multifamily residential, within one of the state’s five MPOs, and within a specified distance of transit. Otherwise, local governments can impose minimums of no more than one space per unit on developments with 20 or more units, or with income-restricted units, if the government publicly demonstrates harm in not enforcing such minimums. 
    • Developers must still deliver on pre-existing affordability requirements tied to parking waivers or reductions. 
    • By the end of this year, the state must publish best practices to reduce parking while increasing housing supply, including affordable housing. 
  • Maximizing housing choice (HB 1007): Starting July 1, state law will prohibit local governments from enacting or enforcing limitations on the number of unrelated people who can live together. Limited exceptions include restrictions related to safety, health, and welfare standards, specifically building, water, or fire codes, or as required by applicable affordable housing public program guidelines.   

Funding Production and Preservation of Affordable Homes

A bipartisan bill (HB 1308) provides for the State Division of Housing (DOH) to streamline its decision making process on which projects to support with loans or grants. It also allows for more transparency in how state funds are allocated. 

  • New statutory language is expected to better enable DOH to provide much-needed grants (rather than loans) to affordable projects, and to encourage DOH to serve as the first or an early funder in an affordable project, therefore better enabling the developer to secure additional funds—changes long sought by affordable housing providers.   

A coordinated multi-bill effort to generate tens of millions of dollars in new tax credits will help realize homes affordable to lower-income Coloradans, a fundamental component of increasing overall housing supply. 

  • Bolstering a proven program (HB 1434): The legislature authorized an increase in the total available State Affordable Housing Tax Credits by $136 million through 2031, for a total allocation of $216 million over the next eight years. 
    • Last year, demand for these tax credits was 3x greater than what the Colorado Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) could allocate. 
  • Increasing affordability in transit-oriented communities (HB 1434): CHFA will administer $30 million total in new tax credits from 2025 through 2029, targeted to more affordable rental homes near transit, with more credits available in later years. 
    • Credits can be used as a stand-alone credit or paired with either 9% or 4% federal tax credits. Income requirements will align with the existing State tax credit program.  
  • Publicly financing middle-income (HB 1316): Although not serving lower-income households, the newly created Middle Income Housing Tax Credit will be administered by CHFA as a 5-year pilot program starting in 2025, with a total allocation of $40 million. Credits will be available for rental housing affordable to Coloradans earning between 80% and 120% of their area median income (AMI), and up to 140% AMI in rural resort communities. Any unused credits will transfer to the state tax credit program.   

Additional state funds directed to new grant programs and ADU financing will further advance affordable production and preservation:

  • Transit-oriented infrastructure and affordability (HB 1313): DOLA will administer $35 million in grants to local governments to fund development-specific infrastructure for affordable housing, public infrastructure projects, and community engagement.
    • Eligible governments must comply with other new requirements for transit-oriented communities and funds will be prioritized for those that have adopted affordability and anti-displacement strategies, among other criteria.  
  • Scaling ADU funding (HB 1152): Scaling the model of the West Denver Renaissance Collaborative’s pioneering program helping lower-income homeowners build ADUs and realize their benefits, $8 million will help LMI and homeowners finance ADUs and $5 million in state grants will be available for local governments supporting ADU development and prioritizing affordability, to help offset ADU-related fees and other costs for LMI and other qualified households and for ADUs affordably rented long-term to LMI households, local workers, or people living with disabilities.  

Stabilizing Renters, Housing Providers, and Communities 

Several housing stability bills that have previously failed to gain either legislative or gubernatorial approval became law, including Colorado becoming the first state to provide local governments the right to exercise a right of first refusal (ROFR)

In brief: The ROFR applies to subsidized properties with existing affordability covenants and five units or more (HB 1175). A narrower right of first offer applies to certain unsubsidized properties with five or more units and older than 30 years. 

  • Particularly the ROFR component is intended to maintain long-term affordability for residents and keep communities together, rather than having affordable buildings purchased by investment-driven interests intent on significantly increasing rents and often failing to deliver high-quality homes.   

How it works: Local governments wishing to acquire eligible properties through the ROFR process must be able to make an offer acceptable to the property’s current owner and adhere to prescribed timelines for declaring interest in the purchase, making an offer, and closing. 

  • The government must also commit to maintaining the project’s same degree of affordability for at least 40 years. Local governments may assign their ROFR to a local public housing authority or CHFA and contract with a third-party entity to manage the property if successfully acquired; they can also choose to waive their rights of first refusal or offer, and both initiatives sunset at the end of 2029. 
  • Reporting requirements from owners of affordable properties with expiring affordability covenants and local governments to CHFA are expected to create a better statewide understanding of affordable properties and what is happening to them.  

To help stabilize both people living in and providers of supportive housing, the legislature has directed the State Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) to study the financial feasibility of Colorado seeking the federal authorization required to expand Medicaid coverage of housing and nutrition services to certain eligible Medicaid members, and to make those services reimbursable to a broader set of providers—including supportive housing providers (HB 1322). If that study finds such expansion of Medicaid to be revenue neutral, HCPF must apply for that expansion by July 1, 2025.  

And a groundbreaking new refundable tax credit promises to help financially stabilize tens of thousands of Colorado families with children earning up to $95,000 a year for joint filers and $85,000 for single filers, with larger refunds going to families with younger children and who are living on lower incomes (HB 1311). With an initial allocation of $700 million, the credit’s annual availability and amounts will depend on the state’s revenue and inflation for that year.      

Additionally, a number of significant bills will better enable policymakers, legal and rental assistance providers, and advocates to understand and stem Colorado’s swell of evictions:

  • The State Judicial Department and Denver County Court will now be required to collect and make public aggregated, key pieces of data from residential eviction court filings statewide, including zip code of the property where the eviction occurred; information on landlords’ and renters’ rates of legal representation; whether evictions are filed over nonpayment of rent or utilities, or other lease violations; and case outcomes. This bill (SB 064) caps a multi-year effort from Enterprise, the Colorado Children’s Campaign, and others in the hope that better data will enable more targeted upstream eviction prevention strategies and create a more stable housing ecosystem.
  • In a major win for renters and their advocates, a bill (HB 1098) establishing specific legal criteria for allowable evictions of tenants has become Colorado law. After a tenant has lived in a rental unit for at least one year, a landlord can no longer simply deny renewing the lease—a way many landlords have effectively evicted renters in the past. Landlords are still able to evict renters “for cause,” such as nonpayment of rent or other lease violations, not allowing landlord to enter property, or declining to sign a new lease that has substantially the same terms. Landlords are also still able to remove renters under defined circumstances at “no fault” of the tenant, such as the owner moving into the home or selling or making significant modifications to the property. 
  • Renters’ right to safe, healthy homes was enhanced through modifications to the state’s existing “warranty of habitability” law (SB 094). These include establishing specifics on housing conditions that constitutes a breach of warranty by interfering with a tenant’s health, life, or safety; clarifying timeframes for the landlord to both begin and conclude remediation of unacceptable conditions, with exceptions for delays outside the landlord’s control; modifying and clarifying remedies for both landlords and renters if the other party violates the prescribed processes or timelines for fixing the problem. 

For more on many of these initiatives and bills related to for-sale housing and initiatives the legislature considered this year, Enterprise hopes you will check out legislative report-outs from many of the partners we were honored to work alongside this year.