DENVER — The Trump administration on Tuesday announced a directive that halts evictions for most renters through the end of the year as the nation continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the moratorium will provide housing stability for people to ensure they are able to self-isolate when necessary and protect against a rise in people experiencing homelessness, which puts them at greater risk for contracting COVID-19.
Marco Dorado, a senior advisor with COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, is excited but cautious.
"The CDC's announcement of an eviction moratorium yesterday caught us by surprise," Dorado said. "We know that without broader rent relief and broader funding for individuals to eventually pay their rent, we're still going to have a problem at the end of December."
Dorado said the December date buys people time to stay in their homes "especially as we're trying to overcome and get over the pandemic."
To qualify, renters must provide a signed copy of the declaration found in the CDC order to their landlord. Some of the items each tenant must certify in the declaration include:
- They tried to obtain government assistance.
- They earn less than $99,000, or less than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return, this year.
- They would end up in homelessness or having to move in with others if evicted.
"We've got very solid rent collection levels in Colorado, that's great if you own 100 apartment units but if you own one and your resident isn't able to pay the rent, you've got 100% default rate," said Drew Hamrick, senior vice president of government affairs with the Apartment Association of Metro Denver.
Small operators face the greatest risk.
"I'd encourage any resident to discuss this issue with their landlord at the early stages because landlords don't make any money on an empty apartment," Hamrick said.
Two resources are the state’s assistance program (Administered by DOLA) and the Colorado Apartment Association's assistance program.
Both Hamrick and Dorado agree renters should first exhaust every opportunity they have to pay the rent.
"At the end of the day, continuing to make a good faith effort to pay their rent because what this eviction moratorium does is it does protect people now but it just further delays an eviction that we want to mitigate as much as possible," Dorado said.
The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project estimated 300,000 - 400,000 Coloradans were going to face evictions this fall. The CDC moratorium announcement now helps prevent some of that.
However, Dorado said nothing guarantees that in December landlord won't ask for all the money the renters owe.
The order does not protect renters from being evicted for reasons other than not paying their rent.
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