Federal eviction moratorium extension will protect Colorado renters until end of July

By: - June 24, 2021 9:53 am

A small housing complex in Lyons. (Moe Clark/Colorado Newsline)

Rochelle Walensky, director of the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signed an extension to the federal eviction moratorium on Thursday to keep more tenants who have fallen behind on rent during the pandemic in their homes.

The ban, established by the CDC last year, was scheduled to expire on June 30 but now extends through the end of July. 

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.

In Colorado, 30.4% of Colorado adults — more than 77,000 renters — 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 number of people at risk of eviction has decreased significantly since March 2021, when 46.5% of adult renters were behind on their housing payments. The improvement is due to a combination of factors, including the economy opening up, kinks in the unemployment system being worked out and more people accessing the state’s COVID-19 housing assistance programs.

40% of rental assistance applicants have received payments

Colorado Department of Local Affairs is continuing to distribute rental assistance as part of the state’s 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.

The funds can be used to pay rent as far back as April 2020, as well as current rental payments and two months into the future to help renters better find stability. 

As of March 21, 33,409 applicants have received assistance funds, 8,623 applicants have been denied, 6,283 applications are waiting on missing information, and 5,311 applications are either under review or waiting to be processed, according to the state’s Pandemic Relief Housing Program dashboard. That means approximately 40% of the applicants who have submitted requests for rental assistance have received the funds.

Since Colorado’s statewide eviction moratorium expired on New Year’s Day, 10,827 evictions have been filed around the state, according to data from the Colorado Judicial Branch and Denver County Court. Denver alone accounts for nearly 20% of the  filings with 2,135 cases.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11:09, June 24, 2021, to include eviction data received from the Denver County Courts.

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Moe Clark
Moe Clark

Moe Clark is a freelance journalist and former Colorado Newsline reporter who covered criminal justice, housing, homelessness and other social issues.