Denver City Council urges state and federal leaders to cancel rent, mortgage payments amid pandemic

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — Denver city leaders are pressuring the Colorado Legislature and Gov. Jared Polis to support canceling rent and mortgage payments for those who can’t afford to pay them during the pandemic.

On Monday evening, the Denver City Council unanimously approved a proclamation urging state and federal leaders to put a moratorium on payments.

“Proclamations in Denver are similar to resolutions in other cities and counties. They’re an expression of the sentiment of council. They’re not a policy,” said Councilwoman Robin Kniech, who supports the idea.

Since the Denver City Council as well as Mayor Michael Hancock don’t have the authority to enact an order, they have to send the proposal up the chain to the state and federal levels.

“We have a rent control statuette at the state level. The governor does have the power to suspend state law to keep people safe when needed. So they would have to do the analysis and see what the extent of his powers are at the state level,” Kniech said.

With its approval, the proclamation will now be sent on to state and federal leaders.

The Colorado Apartment Association (CAA) said it has some concerns about the proposal. It suggested other ways to help renters, including halting evictions, setting up payment plans for tenants and waiving late fees.

“We are grateful that members of the City Council took our input under advisement, but we worry the resolution as written could further harm the rental housing industry. We understand this is a really challenging time for everyone. For those residents who are able to pay rent, we ask that they do to ensure that financial assistance is prioritized to help those in dire financial situations. It’s important to know that rent payments go beyond just the mortgage payment, rent payments also are used for payroll, maintenance, taxes, insurance, and continue operation of their rental facilities,” said Mark Williams, executive vice president of the CAA.

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