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What's the latest on Evictions in Colorado? 9-22-20

Tenant terminations for any reason other than failure to pay rent are business as usual. This includes terminations for: end of Lease term; failure to cure a violation (other than nonpayment) after receiving a Demand for Compliance; repeating a lease violation that has previously been noticed with a Demand for Compliance; and a substantial violation (a violent, significantly unsafe, or dangerous incident occurring on the property). When a tenant fails to pay rent, however, there are two regulations currently in place to be aware of:

(1) The CDC Eviction Moratorium. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued an Agency Order to put a stop to residential evictions that are a result of the tenant’s nonpayment of rent. A tenant is protected under the CDC Order and cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent if he or she signs a CDC Declaration Form declaring that the following are true:

a. The resident used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent/housing;

b. The resident expects to earn less than $99,000 in annual income for 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing taxes jointly), was not required to report income to the I.R.S. in 2019, or received a CARES Act stimulus check;

c. The resident is using his or her best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as that individual’s circumstances may permit; and

d. Eviction would likely render the resident homeless or force the resident to move into and live in close quarters in a shared living setting due to no other available housing options.

The Order outlines significant penalties–including criminal charges–to persons or organizations who proceed with evictions in violation of the CDC Order. The Order can be found here and the Declaration Form can be found here. The CDC Order is in effect through the end of 2020.

(2) Colorado’s Executive Order. On September 22, 2020, Governor Polis issued Executive Order (“E.O.”) 2020 202, amending and extending the previous E.O.s concerning evictions. This amendment provides that a landlord may not file an F.E.D. action or give a tenant a Demand for Compliance to pay rent unless the landlord has notified the tenant in writing of the CDC’s eviction moratorium Order. The required notice is a copy of the CDC’s Order and the Declaration Form. The longer cure period of 30 days continues to apply in nonpayment of rent cases, as E.O. 2020 101 was extended. The current eviction E.O.s are set to expire on October 21, 2020, unless extended further.

Due to the potentially severe penalties for violations of the CDC Order and the Colorado Executive Order, landlords and owners of residential rental properties should consult with legal counsel prior to taking steps to terminate or evict a tenant who has failed to pay rent.

By Annie Murphy & Charlotte McEwen

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