“Housing assistance has consistently remained the top need each month through this pandemic, outpacing other needs by more than twice,” Stephanie Sanchez, Mile High United Way 2-1-1 statewide senior director, said in an email.
Landlords have also stepped up to help their tenants to avoid evictions, said Pinnegar, with the National Apartment Association. According to surveys of its landlord members, 71% said they’ve worked with their tenants to waive late fees, set up payment plans or accept payments throughout the month.
“By and large, we haven’t seen the evictions because if you’re having conversations with your residents (then) eviction is not the first place you’re going to go,” Pinnegar said. “Typically, an eviction situation is when somebody ghosts on the property owner and they have no idea what’s going on and won’t respond. And they have no choice but to assume the worst.”
Anderson, the Arvada landlord, has been supporting Coloradans for the Common Good to work with lenders and government officials to figure out how private banks can work with landlords on forbearance or payment alternatives for their own mortgages.
“There seems to be recognition of this need that in order to enable landlords to provide rental assistance or deferred rent, we needed to help the landlords have resources themselves,” Anderson said. “Where there seemed to be reluctance was around taking mortgage forbearance as a landlord. It’s not so much that landlords were resistant to that, but they were getting pushback from their lenders. If they were to take forbearance, it would impact their future lending or borrowing capabilities.”
But many say that what has really helped landlords collect rent was the extra $600 per week in federal unemployment relief paid to those who had lost their jobs. The state has paid $2.49 billion of this Pandemic Unemployment Compensation to jobless Coloradans since March 29. The extra payments ended on July 25.
“We definitely need a federal investment in rental assistance to stabilize renters, to give them cash to pay their landlord so the landlords can pay their mortgage,” said Gilman with the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project. “And the federal government has been really absent. At the end of the day, the rental crisis in America is going to continue to deepen until we can solve some of the really large amounts of debt that has built up.”
Help for renters
The state of Colorado and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have eviction bans that prevent landlords from kicking out tenants who can’t pay rent because their income declined due to COVID. Late fees cannot be charged through Dec. 31. (See other criteria).
To qualify, fill out this declaration (see other languages here) and share it with your landlord. Those who fill out the form falsely risk fines and jail time. This prevents evictions through the end of the year. But tenants still will owe back rent.
If you get an eviction notice, your landlord must give you 30 days notice under the current state order (compared to 10 days absent the order).
- Colorado Division of Housing provides rental or mortgage assistance through the Emergency Housing Assistance Program
- Resident Relief Foundation, from the Colorado Apartment Association, provides cash grants to tenants to help pay rent. Donations accepted. >> Apply here: aamdhq.org/covid-19-resident-relief
- Emergency Housing Assistance Program — Brothers Redevelopment, which provides affordable housing, offers help with rent and rental assistance. >> brihousingassist.org
- Call 2-1-1 or visit 211colorado.org to get help in your city with rent, food, utilities and other bills.
- Mobile home residents can file a dispute resolution here: https://cdola.colorado.gov/mobile-home-park-dispute-resolution
- The Colorado Apartment Association’s list of regional housing help: caahq.org/main/colorado-housing-financial-assistance
- Rent assistance programs by region (Aurora, Broomfield, Denver, Thornton, Jefferson County and more) >> Details here
Help for landlords
The eviction moratorium does allow some evictions. If a tenant poses an “imminent and serious threat” or causes significant property damage, the tenant can be evicted.
Unless the orders are extended, landlords can begin the eviction process for tenants who haven’t paid their rent due to COVID after Dec. 31. Missed rent is due on Jan. 1. A repayment agreement should be discussed.
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