December 17, 2020
The Honorable Jared Polis
Governor of Colorado
Colorado State Capitol
200 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
Dear Governor Polis,
As we approach the expiration of your current Executive Order D 2020 255 of November 19th concerning an extension of the eviction moratoriums, we are writing for the Colorado Landlord Legislative Coalition to urge you to bring this policy to its conclusion. As an organization representing Colorado’s landlords, we have been working through the impacts of this policy these many months since the State of Emergency orders began and have seen the unintended consequences of this policy.
While we are certainly sympathetic to our tenants who have not been able to remain current on their rents due to the economic consequences of the pandemic, we have witnessed the vast majority of those utilizing the moratorium are not those tenants who responsibly pay their rents even when suffering the short-term financial effects of the economic shutdown. With those tenants, our strategy is always to work with them on manageable payment arrangements to bring the rents current as eviction is a costly procedure that our members typically view as a last resort. Our professional property managers and individual landlords pursue every incentive to bring rents current avoiding the eviction procedure for all involved.
Landlords and property managers have performed admirably during this time and have been able to find a resolution in most of these financial cases – either utilizing legislatively appropriated emergency rental assistance, or by simply contacting and communicating with the needs of both parties and completing more involved financial structures between renters and landlords.
While in our previous letter to you we commended the work of the recently concluded legislative Special Session and your approval of SB 20B 002 providing needed rental assistance, you should understand the Property Owner Preservation Program is not without problems and is simply not a good substitute for the restoration of our fundamental Constitutional and contractual legal rights as property owners. Tenants have reported that they have not qualified for Property Owner Preservation funds if they are a new resident to Colorado or that they have not been able to find a nonprofit organization that fits their specific location/situation. Landlords have reported that they have been unable to request assistance because their tenants will not cooperate and complete the documentation necessary.
Now that we have the last months as a real-world case study, our members have been able to work through what we expect to be a short-term financial event with most of their tenants who want to maintain their payment history and remain in their residences. The unfortunate consequence of this policy, for landlords, are matters that are not related to COVID-19 financial struggles. Situations where our members were already dealing with tenants who were in arrears prior to the pandemic, tenants that will not communicate/respond to attempts to discuss payment options and efforts to understand their financial circumstances, and where there are concerns other than non-payment, such as the property condition and related scenarios where eviction is the only leverage the landlord/manager has to either resolve the situation or change occupants. These most recent orders have superseded and removed statutorily guaranteed legal remedies which severely limits our member’s ability to bring resolution to some of these most challenging residency cases.
As a result of these executive actions, the property and contractual rights of landlords continue to be set aside creating additional consequences for Colorado’s affordable housing market. Housing providers are not able to collect rents when there is no incentive for tenants to find a payment solution. With these moratoriums in place, many landlords are opting to sell their units, removing this essential source of affordable property units from the market. Others are choosing to move their investments; realizing these executive orders have made owning rental units an increasingly risky investment option. It is important to note that the landlords represented by the CLLC typically own 1-3 units and are often out-of-state owners/investors, deployed military, or retirees who have held a previously occupied property as an additional real estate investment. The vast majority of our units are also single-family homes, or smaller multi-family properties consisting of fewer than 4 units. These are actively managed properties where our members perform the highest levels of tenant service with a strong property management ethic. In essence, these properties are the backbone of Colorado’s affordable workforce housing for individuals and families and any lack of housing supply in this essential area will be detrimental to not only Colorado’s most economically vulnerable workforce but also Colorado’s economic development as a whole.
With the aforementioned background, we would respectfully request bringing these moratoriums to an end, so both landlords and tenants will again have every incentive and remedy available to bring rents current and bring needed stability to Colorado’s affordable rental market.
We appreciate your consideration of our position and stand ready to work with you as stakeholders on these important issues for the landlords and renters of our state.
Rob Lynde, MPM, RMP
Colorado Landlord Legislative Coalition 2020 President
C/O MileStone Real Estate Services
6295 Lehman Drive, Suite 101
Colorado Springs, CO 80918