DENVER (KDVR) — April Jones, the housing attorney at Colorado Affordable Legal Services, laid out options to tenants facing possible eviction after the moratorium expired on Saturday.
She explained what rights tenants have while they’re waiting for rental assistance.
“It’s not a clear distinction on what they can and can’t do,” she said.
That’s just a matter of fact, she said, in part because the situation is very fluid.
Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order protecting tenants from eviction for 30 days, so long as they apply for aid.
“During that 30-day period, the tenant can hopefully get that rent assistance and then that can stop an eviction action,” Jones said.
That legal protection from the governor’s desk ends on Aug. 6.
“So if they get a notice on the second, then that can take them through the end of the month,” she said.
Jones explained where this puts tenants and landlords, or property managers, involved in disputes about rent and eviction.
If a tenant is behind on rent, the rights of a landlord remain the same.
“Then that landlord may proceed with court,” Jones said.
Polis’ executive order, she says, might give tenants a chance in court.
“The tenant will have the defense to say ‘hey, I applied for rent assistance. I’m just waiting for that rent assistance and here’s my proof,'” she said.
Jones said that assistance is coming around faster than previous experiences.
“Now it’s taking just a matter of weeks to process,” she said.
Landlords have rights as well, Jones explained.
“They can set up a payment plan if they want. They can wait to see when they’re going to get that rent assistance if it’s going to come through,” she said. “Ultimately, they can move forward with an eviction action.”
A landlord or property management receiving payment from rental assistance cannot evict the tenant.
“The landlord should not be getting the rent assistance for that tenant because they’re no longer there,” Jones said.
In June, the Colorado Apartment Association reported more than 97% of renters made their payments to their landlord or property manager.
That trend held steady during the pandemic according to National Multi-Family Housing Council, staying in the upper 90th percentile throughout.