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Evictions Post COVID-19

No one could have anticipated the effect 2020 would have and what it would mean for landlords nationwide. On September 4th, 2020 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that would suspend non-payment evictions for tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. An extension known as the “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19” was then signed in June by the CDC director allowing tenants to remain in their rented properties until the end of July.

The order was issued with good intentions and created in an effort to reduce homelessness during the pandemic. However, the effects of the order have left landlords in a tight spot. They are still unable to evict tenants for nonpayment until July 31st, 2021 because of the federal moratorium. According to various politicians and President Joe Biden, this will likely be the final federal extension. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the last state extension. Governor Jared Polis has not stated he would issue another extension, but he hasn’t excluded it either. So, the eviction process for landlords is still hazy even post COVID.

If you’re a landlord interested in learning your legal options for eviction, then we highly recommend you consult with Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC.

Colorado Springs Eviction Attorney | Landlord Tenant Lawyer in Colorado

The pandemic hit every industry and has especially impacted property management. Landlords are still unable to evict tenants for non-payment post COVID-19 thanks to a federal eviction moratorium. The order has been extended until July 31st, but that doesn’t mean you can’t evict your tenant for other lawful grounds. Learn your options by calling up one of our Colorado Springs landlord tenant dispute lawyers at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC.

Our attorneys at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC have spent years assisting landlords with evictions and other related tenant disputes. Not only do we have the experience needed for complex cases, but our firm is always up to date with the changing eviction laws pertaining to COVID-19. Call us today at (719) 328-1616 to set up your first consultation.

Due to the complexity of Landlord/Tenant law, our firm charges a consult fee of $175. If you’re part of the military or you’re a first responder, the consult is instead $150.

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Federal Eviction Moratorium Extended Through July

It’s been an incredibly year for landlords. COVID-19 has stripped their right to evict for non-payment thanks to both state and federal executive orders. It seemed, for a while, that the eviction moratorium was over as the last executive order from Governor Jared Polis (D 2021 110) was set to expire at the end of June 2021.

However, that hope was overturned when Rochelle Walnesky signed an extension from June 30th to July 31st, 2021. According to the CDC Director, “this is intended to be the final extension of the moratorium.” So, there may be an ending in sight for landlords looking to evict tenants who refuse to pay rent.

It’s important to remember that landlords are only prohibited from evicting tenants for nonpayment. As a landlord you can still evict tenants if the reason isn’t nonpayment. For example, you can evict a tenant violating the terms of the lease or if the lease has reached its end. However, if the reason is nonpayment and the tenant is covered by moratorium, you will be unable to take any action until the end of July 2021.

Renters must meet certain qualifications to be covered by the federal eviction moratorium. These include the following:

  • Sign a declaration and provide it to you according to CDC guidelines
  • Must have used their “best efforts” to obtain governmental assistance
  • Did not expect to earn more than $99,000 in 2021 (or $198,000 if you’re married and filed a joint tax return), or they did not need to report income in 2020, and/or they received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) this year
  • The tenant experienced “substantial” loss of household income because of COVID-19 or has paid “extraordinary” out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • The tenant made their best effort to make partial rent payments as close to the full amount due as possible
  • Eviction would probably render the tenant homeless

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How to Evict a Tenant Despite the Eviction Moratorium

It’s true that the CDC has restricted landlord’s ability to evict significantly. However, that doesn’t mean all your rights as a landlord are eliminated. You can evict any tenant for nonpayment if they haven’t completed, signed, and handed over a declaration form. Tenants are required to fill out the declarations under penalty of perjury if they want to enjoy protections.

Landlords can still attempt to evict for nonpayment by challenging the declaration. However, it’s important to understand that as a landlord you could be subject to penalty for challenging the declaration. Plus, all the burden of proof would be on you. Meaning you must investigate and collect evidence as to why protections shouldn’t apply to the tenant. If you wish to challenge a declaration, it’s within your best interest to hire an landlord tenant litigation lawyer as soon as possible.

It’s important to remember there are alternatives to eviction as well. You can always refuse to renew the lease at the end of the term or evict the tenant if they don’t move out on the agreed-upon date. Tenants that are able to pay rent, but refuse to, are not protected under the eviction moratorium and can be evicted as well.

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Colorado Model Repayment Agreement

It’s no secret COVID-19 significantly impacted families and individuals in Colorado. Many lost their jobs, had to close business doors for months, and were basically unable to generate an income for months. This has caused thousands of Colorado residents to be behind on rent. Now, thousands and thousands of tenants and landlords are nearing the end of the eviction moratorium. It seems both landlords and tenants lose as one will never receive the funds they were promised and the other loses their housing.

In an effort to slow evictions post COVID-19, the state of Colorado is urging landlords and renters to work together. This can be accomplished by establishing and following a repayment agreement. The agreement allows tenants some additional time to repay their rent so landlords can receive what they were promised in the leasing contract. Colorado urges tenants and landlords to use the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Model Repayment Agreement to mutually agree on a plan to repay any outstanding rent or other fees.

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Rental Assistance for Colorado Tenants

Times are tough, and you understand that as a landlord. That’s why you may want to tell your tenant(s) about Colorado’s rental assistance programs for those struggling during the pandemic. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is for both tenants and landlords who are unable to make rent or mortgage payments due to hardship from COVID-19.

Colorado ERAP can help cover rent as far back as April 2020. Assistance can also include past due, current, and additional months of rent up to a maximum of 15 months of assistance. Either you or your tenant can start the process, but it will require documentation from both of you. Tenants will have to provide income documentation and as a landlord you’ll need to complete an IRS W-9 form.

Currently, the Division of Housing in Colorado is digging its way out of a massive backlog of rental assistance requests. However, they are having a fairly fast turnaround time of two weeks to review an application and payments arriving anywhere from one to three weeks after that.

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Colorado Evictions Post Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic put Colorado’s economy at a standstill. Although CDC restrictions are beginning to loosen up, there are still hundreds of thousands of Coloradoans out of work. According to the Division of Labor, 568,700 people have filed some form of unemployment over the last three months.

With the eviction moratorium lifting in one month, many people without jobs will be forced to pay what they owe. It’s been predicted that up to 400,000 people are at risk of eviction on July 31st. A weekly survey by the Census revealed that 1 in 5 adults had either missed a payment or had little to no confidence on making next month’s payment.

Tenants will still have a 30-day grace period to pay their landlord until August 25th. Once that expires under the CARES act, landlords can begin filing for a 10-day notice. Zach Neuman, co-founder of the COVID-19 Eviction Project, expects to see a huge eviction spike in late August and early September.

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Additional Resources

Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions | CDC – Visit the official website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to read the extension signed to the eviction moratorium. Read more about how the moratorium has been scheduled to expire on July 31at and how it’s intended to be the final extension.

Housing & COVID-19 | Colorado DOLA – Visit the official website for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to learn more about their coordinated COVID-19 response for individuals and families housing. Access the site to find updated resources and information including eviction and foreclosure prevention, homeless resources, external homeowner programs, and information about the federal CARES Act.

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Colorado Springs Landlord Tenant Lawyer | Colorado COVID-19 Eviction Attorney

If you’re a landlord looking to evict a tenant for nonpayment or any other violation of their lease, then contact Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC. Our attorneys have years of experience guiding landlords through the eviction process. Schedule a time to speak with us at (719) 328-1616. Please note, the consult fee is 175$ for half an hour or if you’re part of the military or a first responder then it’s $150.

Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC accepts clients throughout the greater El Paso and Colorado Springs area including Monument, Fountain, Peyton, Calhan, Palmer Lake, Black Forest, Manitou Springs, Falcon, Ellicott and Ramah.

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