Denver Voters Support Additional Resources for Housing and Common-Sense Measures to Protect Renters, Poll Finds

Affordable housing ranks high among survey participants’ top issues

DENVER – May 4, 2017 – Likely Denver voters indicate strong support for both Denver’s new affordable housing fund, and new policies designed to provide basic, common-sense protections for renters to level the playing field in a city facing significant housing affordability challenges, according to a new survey from Enterprise Community Partners Inc and All In Denver.

The following policy proposals on renter protections received strong support from survey participants:

  • Prevent application fee profits: 82 percent supported a policy that would prevent landlords from making a profit on application fees by requiring that fees do not exceed the combined cost of a credit check and a background check;
  • Require good cause for eviction: 79 percent supported changing the law so that to evict tenants, landlords would need to show good cause, defined as a serious or repeated violation of the lease, crime or drug activity, or failure to vacate following a condition that leaves the unit uninhabitable;
  • Count all sources of income: 76 percent supported a policy that would expand potential tenants’ abilities to use all sources of eligible income—including vouchers and government assistance—to qualify for housing, and preventing landlords from discriminating against them on the basis of income type;
  • Limit background checks: 58 percent supported a proposal that would limit criminal background checks on potential tenants to the most recent 7 years for all crimes other than sex offenses.

The survey also revealed that affordable housing ranks high among the top issues voters would most like to see Denver’s Mayor and City Council address. Education stands at the top of the list of concerns (cited by 32 percent of respondents), followed by affordable housing (30 percent), homelessness (30 percent) and cost of living (19 percent).

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Voters were also polled on support for additional resources for affordable housing. Nearly three out of four–74 percent, with 51 percent in strong support--backed the Mayor’s and the City Council’s 2016 action to establish a dedicated fund for affordable housing. Further, 75 percent of survey participants said they would support the City of Denver issuing bonds on the $150 million affordable housing fund created last September, and 67 percent said they would support issuing bonds to build a $300 million fund, which would entail a modest tax increase.

The poll, commissioned by Enterprise, was conducted in February 2017 via a live telephone survey of 402 likely November 2018 voters in Denver.

“The results of this poll reaffirm the Denver community’s support for affordable housing,” said Melinda Pollack, vice president and Denver market leader for Enterprise Community Partners. “They also serve as a reminder to our city’s elected officials that Denver voters understand the growing need for affordable housing, and support exploring measures to expand it.”

Currently, one in four Colorado renters, or 182,000 households, spend more than half of their pre-tax income on rent and utilities, according to a recent Make Room analysis of 2014 U.S. Census data, the most recent year available. In the Denver metropolitan area, nearly 98,000 households, or 25 percent of renters, pay more than 50 percent of their income toward housing costs, up from about 22 percent in 2005.