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Tenants, landlords wonder what comes next after evictions halted through May

Some tenants want their rent to be canceled. Landlords say they have bills to pay.

COLORADO, USA — There are two sides to every story. When it comes to paying rent in the middle of a pandemic, it’s hard to find a winner.

With thousands of Coloradans out of work and rent due on the first of the month, many are left to wonder how they will pay. Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order Thursday night halting evictions for the month of May, but landlords and renters both worry that won’t solve the problem.

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"They’re going to have to pay their bills just like I’m going to have to pay mine," said Mike Landie, a landlord who owns a mixed-use building downtown. "I don’t want to live out on the street, just like they don’t. Every penny counts in my situation."

Landie said he fears if his tenants can’t pay their rent, he won’t have enough money to pay his taxes and make an income.

"Not everyone is a multimillionaire that has properties. Some people depend on the income coming in so that we can pay our bills," said Landie. "I depend on that, my family depends on it."

On the other side, tenants across Denver are holding protests to advocate for the government to cancel rent payments for people who have lost their jobs. 

Juan Marcano hosted a virtual protest online today that gathered more than 100 people advocating for rent payments to be canceled.

"Asking, demanding for the cancelation of rents, mortgages, utility payments for the duration of the crisis," said Juan Marcano, a community activist who also serves on Aurora City Council. "Whether you live in an apartment, a condo, a single-family home, and whether you rent or own it, your reality is the same. If you can’t work, you can’t pay."

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We asked Mark Levine, a real estate professor at the University of Denver, what comes next. 

"You have the tenants who, in fairness may be having a very difficult time getting a paycheck to pay their rent. At the same time the landlord needs the rent to turn around and make the payments to the mortgage lender," said Levine. "The real question is how long does this last and what happens to those rent payments that weren’t made? Are they forgiven? Are they tacked on at the end?"

While we don't know the answers to those questions yet, we do know that even though evictions are halted in May, landlords still want their money.

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