The Associated Students of CSU’s senate voted unanimously
Wednesday night to pass a resolution calling for the abolishment of
Fort Collins’ three-unrelated ordinance, which mandates that no
more than three unrelated adults may live together in a
The resolution was written by Courtney Stephens, ASCSU’s
director of community affairs, and sponsored by several of ASCSU’s
senators and directors. Stephens said the resolution is part of an
ongoing fight against the occupancy law, one that ASCSU has been
fighting at least four years.
“Our stance on three-unrelated is that we want it gone,”
Stephens said. “It’s discriminatory.”
The resolution was introduced Sept. 29, sent to the Public
Relations Committee for review, and then returned to the senate
floor on Wednesday for discussion and voting, where it passed
25-0-0, with minor alterations.
The resolution notes that there is not necessarily a causal link
between the behavior of tenants and their relation to one another.
It also makes the point that the most common neighborhood problems
caused by high-occupancy properties are issues related to excessive
noise, trash and improperly parked cars, problems that are all
addressed by other city legislation.
“(Three-unrelated) is rarely enforced as well as difficult to
enforce, which undermines the merit of other laws in Fort Collins,”
the resolution reads.
This is a concern addressed by Lloyd Walker, a Fort Collins
resident and member of the Rolland Moore West Neighborhood Network,
which is actively campaigning for rental licensing.
So many people violate the three-unrelated law, Walker said,
that it weakens its authority as well as that of other Fort Collins
Stephens also pointed out an inaccuracy in The Collegian’s
‘Students Fear Rental Licensing’ article, Oct. 5. It was
three-unrelated, Stephens said, not rental licensing, that she felt
targeted students. Rental licensing, she said, is only vaguely
defined to date, making it difficult to determine its effect on
students. ASCSU has not yet taken a stance regarding rental
“We have no official position,” Stephens said. “It’s basically a
Rental licensing would most likely require landlords to register
all rental properties, and potentially mandate health and safety
regulations and inspections. The action would be positive for
college students, who often do not know whether their housing meets
fire safety code and local health standards.
Ginny Sawyer, of the city of Fort Collins’ neighborhood
resources office, offered a lack of egress, or exit, windows in
basements as an example of building code safety violations at
rental properties. Egress windows, which are required by many city
construction codes, are designed to provide secondary means of
escape from buildings, specifically in case of fire.
“There are probably some (rental properties) that are not
particularly safe,” Sawyer said.
Stephens acknowledged the benefits of safety and health code
inspections for student renters.
“(Rental licensing) could provide better regulated housing, in
that (rental housing) would be up to code,” Stephens said.
At the same time, she is concerned that landlords with
properties needing costly renovations to satisfy health and safety
code will pass these construction costs on to students in the form
of rent increases.
“The benefit of having students in safe housing tends to be a
trade-off,” she said. “There’s a lot of potential cost that’s
Stephens is also concerned that the city may replace
three-unrelated with similar or identical occupancy limit clauses
within rental licensing.
“The big fight is to make sure we do not let (three-unrelated)
into rental licensing,” she said.