Colorado renters remain protected by federal eviction moratorium until at least the end of June


    An apartment building in Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood on Sept. 30, 2020. (Moe Clark/Colorado Newsline)

    The Biden administration announced Monday that it is extending a federal eviction moratorium that aims to keep tenants who have fallen behind on rent during the pandemic in their homes.

    The ban, established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year, was scheduled to expire on Wednesday but now extends through the end of June. 

    “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation’s public health. Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings — like homeless shelters — by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19,” the CDC announcement read.

    To qualify for the protections, a single-person household must earn less than $99,000 and a couple must earn less than $198,000. A person must declare that they can’t pay rent because of COVID-19 hardships; demonstrate they’ve sought government assistance to help pay rent; and attest that they are likely to become homeless if evicted. The federal ban does not protect renters on expiring or month to month leases.

    Over the weekend, Gov. Jared Polis also extended an executive order that bans landlords from collecting late fees from residential and commercial tenants already struggling to make their rental payments due to the pandemic. The ban now expires at the end of April.

    In Colorado, 46.5% of Colorado adults — a huge jump from 27.4% in early March — 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. 

    Since Colorado’s statewide eviction moratorium expired on New Years Day, 5,263 evictions have been filed around the state, according to data from the Colorado Judicial Branch. That number does not include evictions filed in Denver County as that data is compiled separately. For the same timeframe in 2019, 7,701 evictions had been filed.

    While eviction filings have steadily been increasing since Colorado’s moratorium expired, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs is working to get out as much rental assistance as it can with its two housing assistance programs: the Property Owner Preservation Program, or POP, which allows landlords to apply on behalf of their tenants, and the Emergency Housing Assistance Program, or EHAP, which allows renters to apply directly to the state. But the process has been slow.

    As of March 21, 26,787 applicants have received assistance funds, 2,795 applicants have been denied, and 20,532 applications are either under review or waiting to be processed, according to the state’s Pandemic Relief Housing Program dashboard.