Sun Valley Homes, the site of public housing located in one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, on March 18, 2020. The entire complex was slated for redevelopment. (Moe Clark/Colorado Newsline)
Editor’s note: This guide was published on April 26, 2021. It will be updated as necessary to reflect changing eviction rules and protections. Last updated: Sept. 8, 2021.
In Colorado, 31.6% of adults — a huge jump from 25.5% in early June — are living in households that are not current on their rent or mortgage payments and where eviction or foreclosure in the next two months is either very likely or somewhat likely, according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. The survey estimates that 42,655 Colorado adults fall into this category, as of Aug. 16.
Eviction filings have been steadily increasing since Colorado’s statewide eviction moratorium expired on New Year’s Day. Between January and August, 13,212 evictions were filed across the state, with more than 73% of eviction filings submitted in Arapahoe, Adams, El Paso, Jefferson and Denver counties, according to state court data. Denver alone accounts for nearly 25% of the filings with 2,499 cases. Other countries, including Weld, Pueblo, Alamosa and Montrose, have also seen a high eviction filing rate compared to their renter population since January.
While eviction filings have steadily increased since Colorado’s moratorium expired, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs is working to get out as much rental assistance as possible. But the process has been slow. As of Aug. 26, the state has only distributed 7.4% of available federal funds to tenants in need of support, according to the Colorado Sun.
Here’s what protections are still in place for renters in Colorado who are behind on rent or facing eviction:
Tenants are no longer protected by a federal eviction moratorium
The U.S. Supreme Court released an opinion on Aug. 26 that ended a national eviction moratorium, which was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Aug. 3. Prior to the Supreme Court ruling, the protection was set to expire on Oct. 3. This means there is no state or federal eviction moratorium in place in Colorado.
The ban came days after a broader federal moratorium expired on Aug 1. The most recent order protected renters behind on their payments who are living in counties with high or substantial rates of community COVID-19 transmission, or places with more than 50 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.
On Jan. 1, Colorado’s statewide eviction moratorium — which added protections for people with expired or month-to-month leases — expired, and it has not been renewed.
If you applied for emergency rental assistance before Aug. 1, you have 30 days, not 10, before your landlord can file an eviction.
An executive order by Gov. Jared Polis gives tenants who have pending emergency rental assistance applications a 30-day period to get caught up on rent before their landlord can file an eviction against them. The order began on Aug. 1. Once an eviction has been filed with the courts, landlords are not required to accept owed rent under current law.
This order was set to expire on Sept. 4, but the governor extended the protection to Oct. 4.
As of May 1, landlords can resume charging rental late fees.
Landlords in Colorado were banned from collecting late fees from residential and commercial tenants struggling to make their rental payments due to the pandemic between April 20 and June 12, 2020. The ban went back into place from Oct. 15, 2020 through the end of April 2021.
If a tenant is being charged late fees for missed rent during these time periods, send the governor’s executive order to your landlord over email.
Have you received an eviction notice? Here are some organizations that can help you navigate.
- Colorado Legal Services provides free legal assistance and representation in eviction actions to low-income individuals and families and Coloradans over 60-years-old.
- The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project also provides free legal aid and representation to tenants facing eviction and other housing issues related to COVID-19 hardship, regardless of citizenship status. Start by filling out this form.
- The nonprofits 9to5 Colorado and Colorado Poverty Law Project also provide legal support for housing issues.
Once an eviction is issued by a judge, renters now have 10 days to vacate the property. Previously it was 48 hours.
A new state law that went into effect on June 25 gives tenants 10 days to vacate their home after an eviction is ordered by a judge. Previously, renters were given 48 hours before a sheriff was allowed to come and remove the tenants from the property.
The new law also prohibits a landlord from increasing the rent on a leased property more than one time a year, and it would extend the notice for rent increases for people on month-to-month leases from 21 days to 60.
How to apply for rental assistance, and how long to expect to wait.
The state is currently running two rental assistance programs for tenants. A household can apply for arrears back to April 2020, plus their current month’s rent and two future months, for a maximum of 12 months total, according to Brett McPherson, a spokesperson for the Department of Local Affairs.
Colorado’s Division of Housing is still trying to dig its way out of a massive backlog of rental assistance requests, which flooded its system throughout December, January and February. The state estimates that their turnaround time is within two-weeks to review new applications, and payment takes anywhere from one week to three weeks after that (but could be longer.)
Currently, 11 local jurisdictions are also distributing rental assistance funds, including Adams, Arapahoe, Aurora, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer and Weld.
Nearly a quarter of the applications submitted to the state have been incomplete. Here are some tips.
The most common missing information is income verification from the tenant and a W-9 from landlords. Things that count as income verification include documentation of unemployment benefits, or documentation of other public assistance programs, according to Alison George, director of the division of housing.
The division is sending out weekly reminder emails for missing documentation. If your application has missing documents, you can take a picture of the documentation and text it to the number below.
Can you reapply if your application is denied?
Yes. The number one reason an application might be denied is if a person has applied in multiple rental assistance systems or if an applicant does not respond to requests.
Here’s how to check the status of your rental assistance application.
Call or text 1-888-480-0066 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
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