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Politics

Polis Moves To Delay Evictions, But Some Fear Renters Are Nearing A Breaking Point

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Courtesy Office of Gov. Jared Polis
Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a news conference in Denver in July.

Gov. Jared Polis has extended an executive order requiring landlords to give tenants more notice before seeking evictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

But some residents fear the move will not go far enough during a month when unemployment benefits are scaled back and Congress remains gridlocked over a new round of stimulus checks.

“Many, many renters in this state, upwards of 20 to 30%, could be facing eviction,” said Zach Neumann, who started a group to help renters facing eviction. “Federal benefits have ended. Access to credit or borrowing from family has probably been exhausted at this point. So I think a lot of people are starting to confront this question of what do I do next? Where do I go? How do I pay my rent?”

Polis’ order requires landlords to give tenants a 30-day notice before eviction proceedings. The usual notice is 10 days. The extended order will expire in early September.

“The extension buys tenants a little bit more time to get their affairs in order, but it does not prevent evictions,” Neumann said. “I certainly don’t envy Gov. Polis or any member of the state legislature. They’ve got really, really tough decisions to make. But what I do think would help here is reestablishing the eviction moratorium for a few months just while Congress gets its act together and passes another COVID-19 financial package.”

State lawmakers are also hearing that more Coloradans are concerned about being evicted.

On Tuesday, Lauren Larson, Polis’ budget director, said a recent survey shows 20% of adults in Colorado have low confidence in their ability to pay rent or mortgage on time next month.