Denver’s COVID-19 eviction slowdown appears to be over and the number of renters on the way to being kicked out of their homes is rising, according to data from Denver County Court.
There were 771 households taken to court for eviction in March, compared to 318 in March 2021, 491 in March 2020, and 708 in March 2019.
Already, 1,860 households have been taken to court this year.
“I think whenever we see a number like that, I think what’s underneath it and what’s hidden from view is even scarier, in some respects,” said Zach Neumann of the Colorado Eviction Defense Project, a group that helps renters avoid eviction through emergency funds and legal aid.
Many tenants who receive eviction notices move out long before landlords take the matter to court. Even after court filings, many tenants move before they are forced out.
The current eviction numbers are unnerving to Neumann, in part because both Denver and Colorado still have historical levels of rental assistance available.
“What would these numbers be if the state wasn’t paying out tens of millions of dollars in rental assistance every month?” he said.
Denver is on track to have the highest number of evictions since 2019, based on first-quarter numbers. In the meantime, rents are up 14.7%, year over year, according to the latest numbers from Apartment List.
“The big question beyond emergency situations is rents have gone up so dramatically in Denver, that a lot of folks who are on expiring leases and looking to move are completing a lease, and then they can’t find anything that is even close to the price point they were paying before,” Neumann said. “And so they’re seeing really significant jumps, and their wages haven’t kept up. Wages have not gone up in line with rents in the city of Denver.”