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Polis issues executive orders to help people struggling to pay rent during pandemic

The orders come as a moratorium on evictions expires.

DENVER — Governor Jared Polis (D-Colorado) has signed a pair of executive orders meant to help people who are struggling to pay their rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One order suspends a state law requiring landlords to provide their tenants 10 days' notice of default for nonpayment of rent and instead calls for landlords to provide 30 days' notice of any default for nonpayment before taking action.

The order also directs the executive director of the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to work with landlords to implement the model rent repayment agreements created by DOLA to help people who are unable to pay rent because of financial hardship caused by the pandemic.

Landlords and lenders are also prohibited from charging any late fees or penalties for any breach of the terms of a lease or rental agreement due to nonpayment incurred from May 1 to June 13, 2020.

The order makes clear that it does not relieve a person from their obligation to make rent or mortgage payments.

The other order allows DOLA to continue to provide rental and mortgage assistance to low and moderate-income households and encourages local governments to loosen housing restrictions.

It encourages local governments that place limits on the number of unrelated people who can live in a single household or that prohibit group or boarding houses to suspend or eliminate those restrictions to enable homeowners to rent or give a room to people who need a place to live.

It also encourages local governments that place limits on the number of days hotel rooms may be occupied to suspend or eliminate those restrictions.

Other executive orders signed by the governor Saturday speed up unemployment insurance claims processing and help people who are having trouble paying their utility bills.

The orders come as a statewide moratorium on evictions expires, prompting fears of a wave of evictions of people who have lost their jobs amid the economic devastation caused by the pandemic.

RELATED: Without extension from lawmakers, Colorado's eviction moratorium ends Saturday

RELATED: Gov. Polis' executive order limiting evictions about to expire, state legislators seeking to help renters

Zach Neumann with the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project says somewhere in the vicinity of 300,000 to 400,000 Coloradans could be at risk of eviction by the end of the year.

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