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Extended order blocks late fees on past due rent

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Posted at 6:53 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 20:53:58-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Governor Jared Polis has extended an executive order offering protection from eviction for people who are struggling financially because of the pandemic. The order was first enacted in March and required landlords to give renters 30 days of notice before beginning eviction proceedings. In September, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention enacted a national moratorium on evictions due to pandemic hardships.

Alison George, Director of the Colorado Division of Housing, explained that renters who lose employment during the pandemic or suffer some other financial hardship are able to provide a declaration letter to their landlord to be protected from eviction through the end of the year.

"You provide that CDC declaration to your landlord so they know you have that impact and so with that protection, you cannot be evicted," George explained.

The letter doesn't forgive the rent that's owed. However, the governor's latest order also includes a prohibition against assigning late fees for missed rent payments that would increase the debt owed.

"If someone loses their job and months and months are going by that they're unable to pay their rent, the late fees can double what's owed," George said.

The division has been working with non-profits around Colorado to fund emergency rental assistance programs. For example, Greccio Housing recently received a $300,000 grant for rent assistance from the City of Colorado Springs with money provided by the federal CARES Act.

There are also grant programs available to landlords who can show that tenants haven't paid because of the pandemic. George urges both renters and landlords to visit http://coloradohousingconnects.org to sign up for these relief programs.

"You can have that rent paid so that you don't, at the end of the year when the CDC moratorium is up, all of a sudden owe $10,000."

While not mandatory, the executive order also encourages municipalities to consider removing limits on the number of unrelated persons who can live in a single household and on the number of days that hotel rooms may be occupied.