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Ceriani: Keeping U+2 off ballot is damaging

Collegian | Charles Cohen

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

As U+2 remains off the fall ballots for the upcoming city elections, students and young adults who are new to the stress of the workforce now have to choose between longer commutes or breaking the law when it comes to housing options. U+2 is a residential law requiring that all renters lease with only two other people who are unrelated to them. Breaking this law comes with a hefty fine of about $1,000, not to mention losing your lovely landlord’s reference for your future residences. 


Despite the law keeping the good opinion of Fort Collins lawmakers, U+2 was first introduced to Fort Collins in the 1960s but was not enforced in the city until 2007 — just before the recession in 2008. However, this outdated law now prevents many students from accessing affordable housing. 

According to a study by Corona Insights, the number of violators of U+2 decreased by half when it began to be enforced. This prompted tenants to either move or find leases in Fort Collins legally, which decreased the number of available housing options in the city, with a sudden surge of people scrambling to find housing.

As the number of vacancies in Fort Collins has dropped dramatically, rent prices for a two-bedroom apartment have steadily increased by about 1% each year. The lack of vacancies is not from an increase in population, either. The population of Fort Collins has increased by about 2.5% every year from 2001-18. The main factor to this is glaringly obvious: U+2. 

U+2 has made it very hard for students to find affordable housing in Fort Collins. Working part time as a college student is incredibly difficult, but what else is there to do when rent is so high and the alternative is making a lengthy commute?

Fort Collins, like many other places in Colorado, is becoming exponentially more expensive to live in. Being able to live near my place of work and where I attend school is convenient in many ways, especially because I don’t need a car or have to contribute to the environmental damage that driving causes.

Many other students and I are being forced to choose between breaking the law or being overworked in order to afford rent. If U+2 has good reason to stay, then it should be decided by the constituents of Fort Collins, and that starts with having it on the ballot again as soon as possible.

This law has made the City of Fort Collins become a hard place to live, and it is counterproductive to what the law originally set out to do. Instead of creating affordable housing options that keep landlords from hiking up rent prices, it causes people to either break the law or commute in order to find housing. It would be most productive to reexamine this law and amend it so that it can justly serve Fort Collins residents.

Reach Lacey Ceriani at or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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    Roseann CochranOct 7, 2023 at 10:24 am

    Great article
    Love your arguments
    Congrats on getting published
    Proud of you❤️❤️❤️