COLORADO SPRINGS — Throughout the pandemic, the government has provided protections and funding to try to help people avoid being evicted from their homes, but experts warn soon the landscape will be changing and there are major concerns about a wave of evictions that could be on the way.
Having an eviction on your record can make it very difficult to secure another apartment in your name in the future. This is why the experts say you really want to avoid that situation and it's critical to try to work with your landlords right now to get back on track with payments if you're behind.
This is because both state and federal pandemic eviction and foreclosure-related protections are scheduled to run out in a matter of weeks.
"Renters need to be ready for a situation where if they are behind on rent, that landlords can begin that legal process to begin evicting them. So for renters if you're in a situation where you thinking this is going to impact you, as we said this could be a lot of renters across the county, you need to have conversations with your landlord to get the ball rolling to begin paying back the money you owe," said Managing Editor of Apartment Guide and Rent.com Brian Carberry.
In Colorado, it appears this will be a problem for many people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey, 35 percent of Colorado adults are behind on rent or mortgage payments and are likely to face eviction or foreclosure. A Colorado Newsline report shows as of April 26th, more than 7,500 evictions have been filed statewide since the start of 2021.
If property owners or tenants have been unable to pay rent due to financial hardship caused by COVID-19, you may be eligible for rental assistance from the state. The state received $247 million for rental and utility assistance from the federal government.
Here's some of what I was able to uncover about the applicants and distribution of that aid locally.
In El Paso County there have been 6,488 applicants asking for more than $22 million in aid from the Colorado Pandemic Relief Housing Program. So far, 3,307 have been approved resulting in $8 million in aid.
In Pueblo County 645 applicants asked for just over $2 million in aid. So far, $1.1 million has gone out to help 421 of those applicants.
Housing experts say this is a situation that could end up impacting all renters.
"You may also run into a situation where if you have a landlord that hasn't been able to collect rent for the past year and they were finally able to evict a tenant. To make up for some of that back rent that they aren't getting, they may be forced to raise that rental price just to make up for what they weren't getting. So really for people who were paying their rent, that didn't get evicted it could have an impact on them too in terms of rising prices," said Carberry.
If you have questions about your rights as a renter or need to see if you qualify for housing payment assistance visit: https://cdola.colorado.gov/rental-mortgage-assistance