Denver’s eviction moratorium will stay in place ‘until further notice’

But a statewide moratorium on evictions ends in 15 days.

Denver Democratic Socialists, dressed as grim reapers, protest a lack of eviction protections in front of the Capitol as people sleep in tents nearby. May 26, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver Democratic Socialists, dressed as grim reapers, protest a lack of eviction protections in front of the Capitol as people sleep in tents nearby. May 26, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A statewide moratorium on evictions ends in 15 days, but Denver will continue on with its own moratorium on evictions.

Mayor Hancock said in March that Denver sheriffs deputies would be redeployed away from evictions indefinitely, adding that people should not be evicted during the coronavirus outbreak. Erika Martinez, a city spokeswoman, said in an email Thursday that “Denver’s order will not expire on May 31. It will stay in place until further notice.”

Gov. Jared Polis on April 30 ordered courts and law enforcement to freeze evictions throughout the state for 30 days. At a press conference earlier this week, Polis did not directly answer a question about whether he would renew the order, but said he expects a “slow return to normalcy” in the courts. He extended the moratorium by 15 days on Friday.

A spokesman for the governor told Colorado Public Radio that the governor was encouraging state lawmakers to consider how to help renters, homeowners and others hurt but the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawyer Zach Neumann said he also was hoping for relief from the legislature. Lawmakers are considering such steps as eviction and foreclosure protections and barring credit agencies from reporting evictions.

Neumann added that Denver’s move to continue what amounts to an eviction moratorium was good news, “though it doesn’t spare tenants court, a judgement against them, a massive hit to their credit, and the possibility of having to move out in 48 hours when that order lifts.”

Neuman and colleagues recently launched the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project that seeks to connect volunteer lawyers with tenants. Neuman’s organization issued a report this week based on analysis of such factors as access to federal stimulus funds and unemployment insurance. The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project predicted that a rental housing crisis would unfold gradually, first hitting people who cannot access government benefits because of factors such as their immigration status, then impact those who had been getting by because of enhanced federal unemployment benefits that start to expire in July; and finally those who eventually run out of savings and max out their credit.

This story has been updated with Polis’s decision to extend the moratorium.

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