By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) – On Wednesday, the House Transportation and Local Government committee considered and passed HB22-1287, which would implement Colorado’s first statewide regulation of rent prices. For mobile home residents, rent could only increase at the rate of inflation or three percent per year, whichever is higher.

(credit: CBS)

Testimony lasted more than four hours, with passionate discussion on both sides. Advocates say the bill will give residents a fighting chance to stay housed.

“We’re not asking for the moon, sun, and stars; we’re asking for some foreseeability,” said current mobile homeowner Rosemary Zapor.

For Zapor, the bill would bring relief amid rising home costs. She’s a senior and says those like her struggle to pay rent each month.

“Personally, I’m 70, and I’m still working full time because you can’t survive on social security. I would know how much I’m going to be paying in rent. For many people, it is vital to being able to afford medicines and healthcare. It is a matter of life and death.”

Fellow mobile homeowner Bonnie Sellers agrees. She’s a Federal Heights City Council member and says many of her constituents would benefit from it going forward.

“It’d be amazing because, for myself, my rent has gone up in four years, $160. It goes up every year. Plus, we have the water, sewer, garbage. It would be an advantage for all seniors. At any time, they could be displaced because of they lose a spouse or a job they won’t be able to pay rent. In Federal Heights, we have low-income, one parent families, and a lot of seniors.”

However, HB 1287 does put more regulations on park owners. That’s why opponents like Tawny Peyton are pushing for more education on its long-term impact.

(credit: CBS)

“Education is one of the missing components right now. Think about the unintended consequences,” said Peyton.

She says the bill makes it impossible for landlords to successfully operate a mobile home park. “It creates so many challenges for housing providers.”

“Rent control is bad policy. We have found it to be economically unsound,” Peyton continued. “Developers and property owners are then restricted on how much they can raise their rent which doesn’t allow them to plan for the future, whether it be infrastructure improvements or capital improvements, adding new amenities or expanding their properties. It will actually lead to a reduction in affordable housing through new developments.”

Mekialaya White