DENVER — The latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show there are nearly 1.8 million renters in Colorado.

Some states across the country allow cities to control rent prices. Legislators in Colorado want to add our state to the list. 

THE BILL

Senate Bill 19-225 was introduced on Monday with four sponsors including Democratic Senator Julie Gonzales.

"The bill wants to repeal a prohibition that doesn't allow local governments to control rent prices. It gives the power back to local communities, so they can decide what is best for them," said Senator Gonzales.

She represents Denver and hears from people in the community who want her to focus on affordable housing.

"The market right now has led to one-bedroom apartment going for upwards of $2,000 a month here in Denver," said Gonzales.

THE STATS

According to the City of Denver, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is nearly $1,500. Data shows 87% of Denver's renters earn less than $35,000 a year. That means nearly half of their check goes to rent alone.

"We should be doing better than that," said Gonzales. "We should give our cities and our counties the tools to address the affordable housing crisis because right now our situation is unattainable."

THE OPPOSITION

Teo Nicolais owns a few apartments in Lakewood and Westminster. He's also the vice-president of the Apartment Association of Metro Denver

"I'm what you would call a mom and pop landlord," he said as he explained why he disagrees with the bill. 

"If there's a cap in terms on how high rents can go, landlords will not be able to pay to keep up their property," he said.

His point is that if the city puts a cap on how much landlords can charge, they won't be making enough to pay for their property and will eventually have to sell it -taking that rental unit off the market altogether.

"A renter's dream should be that there are so many vacant properties that if they don't like their landlord, if they don't like their price, if the landlord isn't doing their job – the renter could simply leave," he said. 

This bill would give local governments the option to put in rent controls.

Council member Paul Lopez tells us he would support rent controls in Denver.