You Plus Two – City of Fort Collins, Colorado Occupancy Limit

You plus two. Just writing it lets me feel the emotional charge that those three words have caused in Fort Collins, Colorado real estate.

What is You Plus Two? Well, a Colordoan article puts it like this:

Q: Why does the occupancy code exist, and how long has it been in the books?

A: Since the 1960s, Fort Collins has enforced occupancy restrictions. The City addresses occupancy to help ensure health and safety of residents, and to help protect the quality and character of neighborhoods.

The City of Fort Collins disclosure that, as a Colorado Realtor®, I use for real estate transactions reads:

The maximum permissible occupancy of this dwelling unit is:

1. One(1) family (related by blood, marriage, adoption) and not more than one(1) additional person; or

2. Two(2) adults and their dependents, if any ,and not more than one(1 )additional person.

*Source – City of Fort Collins – Occupancy Limits Disclosure Statement for Property Sale (attached) 

Why was this rule enacted? It was probably done to make sure that people aren’t squeezing 10 people into a 3 bedroom home. A three bedroom home is usually in a neighborhood whose infrastructure supports about 3-5 adults and their dependents. If there are double the amount of adults and their dependents than the home and neighborhood was designed for, that might mean double the amount of cars that park there. Double the amount of traffic going to and from the home. Double the amount of kids going to schools who were set up to handle the intended neighborhood occupancy, not double the intended neighborhood occupancy.

Exceeding intended occupancy can put a weight on the infrastructure that it is not able to bear.

Hence, the Fort Collins Occupancy Limit that has come to be known as You Plus Two.

My personal reaction to this is that while I don’t have a problem with the occupancy limit, I have seen issues with the strict idea of only “Plus Two” across the entire city. What if it’s a five bedroom house? That means that you can only rent two of the extra bedrooms? Why couldn’t you rent three of them, and have me plus three? If my five bedroom house is surrounded by other five bedroom homes, couldn’t the infrastructure support that?

Occupancy limits are fine. Some think that the broad stroke that paints this rule needs to be made more specific to accommodate different neighborhoods. Either way, in Fort Collins real estate, this is what we must follow.

What this means if you are buying Fort Collins real estate is that you will have to sign the City of Fort Collins – Occupancy Limits Disclosure Statement for Property Sale (attached) and abide by what it states.

Is You Plus Two enforced?

Indeed it is. If neighbors complain about a property that seems to be over occupancy, it will be checked out.

According to an interview in Medium with the person who did the inspecting for the City of Fort Collins in such cases:

…if we get a complaint, the city is committed to investigate any complaint that we get, anonymous or otherwise. We prefer the complaints to not be anonymous because it’s easier for me to have follow up with the reporting party if I know who they are. But, we investigate every complaint.

What are your thoughts on this?

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