The CLLC is an organization that represents 1200 Housing Providers across Colorado. While we are an organization of landlords, we uphold the highest standards of ethics and professionalism ensuring the housing needs of our tenants. Housing providers and tenants need each other and it is an essential partnership we fully recognize and promote. For the greater good of Colorado and the state of our available and affordable housing, the relationship must remain balanced. Any eviction moratorium cannot avoid skewing that balance and places an ongoing and undue burden on the housing providers, especially “mom and pop landlords” that only have one or two properties. Such landlords represent the majority of our members and properties.
The CLLC does not want to evict tenants and is very sympathetic to those that have fallen on hard times, are suffering physically or financially through the pandemic, and who are communicating with us and working to resolve their situation either through a payment plan or accessing rental assistance. For Example:
One Property Management Company in Colorado Springs has a Tenant that has been unable to pay for 4 months, which means the landlord is also struggling from a loss of income. The landlord and the tenant have been actively working to resolve the issue and this is a situation where the property manager and landlord are trying to avoid an eviction. Unfortunately, even when the tenant and the landlord are working together, this tenant is still struggling to access the funds available from the State. The reality is even in the best of circumstances, the process takes an average of 6 months. In this case, it is going on 5 months without the payment of state funds, meaning the landlord has faced months without rental income and is seriously considering leaving the rental market at the end of this lease.
The CLLC proposes that alternatives to an eviction moratorium would be the use of local organizations to better assist Tenants and Landlords to access the relief funds. A few ideas for how to better accomplish this task are:
- Local Financial Assistance centers – utilizing agencies such as the Housing Authority or workforce centers. Provide Tenants and Landlords access to a “Financial Aide Specialist” that can help them navigate the various charities and state programs.
- Mediation Requirements – several other states have utilized professional Mediators to avoid evictions. An option for Tenants and Landlords or utilize professional mediation services to work out payment plans. – Legal aid – Better access for tenants to utilize the free legal services provided by relief packages to avoid evictions.
A combination of financial aid services, mediation services, and legal aid services has proven to decrease the number of evictions in other states pre-pandemic.
Members of the CLLC have also experienced the negative side of the eviction moratoriums where there exist tenants who are not willing to work with the landlord, either they are in a tough emotional situation and are not responsive to inquiries, they are not being cooperative in the rental assistance application process which requires both the landlord and the tenant to work together, or in some cases they are using the moratorium as an opportunity to not pay rent and also damage the property without any available recourse for the landlord. For Example:
One Denver Landlord has a tenant that has not paid the rent since March 2020. This Landlord is a retiree on a fixed income that is primarily income from 3 investment properties. This Landlord relies on this property’s rent as monthly living income. This is a situation where the tenant has been uncooperative and after many attempts to communicate has refused to complete the required CDC Affidavit, meaning the landlord cannot access the rental assistance funds and the rents remain unpaid, the landlord without income.
After more than a year of pandemic restrictions and eviction moratoriums, the increasing availability of the vaccine should be helping us return to more normal markets. We realize this will not happen overnight, but the moratoriums will eventually come to an end and we are working to collaborate with the legislature to recommend a transition from these moratoriums that will assist both tenants and landlords access assistance funds while incentivizing both sides to seek payment arrangements and take full advantage of all of the legal and other resources (such as financial counseling) that will help all of us eventually return to a normally functioning rental marketplace.
We also want to make clear we believe proposals to extend the moratoriums for another 12-months along with another 6-months to transition from such a moratorium is going to have dire consequences for Colorado’s affordable rental markets and affordable housing in general, as we regularly hear from landlords looking to sell their properties or portfolios instead of continuing to invest in Colorado’s rental market with these increasing regulatory risks and uncertainties.
As such, The CLLC strongly supports and encourages the following regarding moratorium legislation:
- The need for a reasonable timeline to transition from moratoriums to a fully functioning rental market;
- The need to allow evictions for reasons other than non-payment of rent to protect the health and safety of residents and workers that provide housing;
- The need to access the court system to have a neutral party to arbitrate/mediate;
- The need for clear self-initiative requirements for tenants (making clear their responsibilities to seek rental assistance);
- The need to be able to non-renew leases at the end of their term so that Owners can re-occupy their properties or be able to sell.
- Moratorium legislation must include a sunset recognizing the pandemic will eventually conclude and such temporary pandemic measures must also expire.
Mutch Government Relations