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Eviction moratorium ends, some Coloradans starting to feel heat from landlords

Lyons mom forced out despite being paid up
Eviction moratorium ends, some Coloradans starting to feel heat from landlords
Posted at 6:20 AM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 13:28:17-04

LYONS, Colo. — Millions of Americans are anxious they may get evicted from their homes.

Nationally, Democratic lawmakers failed to get enough votes to extend the eviction moratorium, which the CDC rolled out last September.

The moratorium expired Saturday, and more than 11 million people are currently behind on their rent nationwide, including 121,000 Coloradans.

But here in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis extended the eviction moratorium through the end of August.

Colorado has approved more than 37,000 emergency housing and rental assistance applications since the moratorium began and the state says it has paid out $121 million.

The state says it’s still waiting to process about 1,300 rental assistance applications, and yet some renters still find themselves facing eviction.

One resident, Erika Joye, found a quaint little neighborhood in the small town of Lyons which was perfect for raising her kids.

“We’ve got great neighbors who are really supportive and helpful,” Joye said.

But what she thought was perfect, all changed a few weeks ago.

“I wasn’t behind on rent at all,” Joye said. “And I still got an eviction notice. It’s just frustrating. I know that’s happening in a lot of places where the non-renewal evictions are increasing.”

In Joye’s case, she’s a school psychologist who was out of work last year, in part because of COVID.

So, she applied for government rental assistance last fall and was approved.

“Since then, I’ve been caught up on rent,” Joye said. “I’m good. I’m actually ahead a little bit, which is great.”

Yet her landlord is still evicting her.

Joye said she believes it’s because she’s on rental assistance.

“I really feel like that was going to happen regardless,” Joye said. “Because I got the government grant, or the rent assistance.”

Jonathan Cappelli with the Neighborhood Development Collaborative, a group of 18 nonprofit housing organizations in metro Denver, said Joye’s case is indicative of what could be a wave of evictions in the coming weeks.

“It’s a little bit of a landlord's market right now,” Cappelli said. “If there’s any reason why you don’t like your tenant, you could see this as an opportunity to upgrade your unit and get in a higher income tenant. Then, why would you cut (your current tenant) a break?”

In Joye’s case — she said she had jumped through all the hoops.

“I received an email from my landlord on April 30 which stated if I wanted to renew, I had to resubmit verification of income or get a co-signer," she said.

So she did. She got her dad to cosign, has a new job lined up for next school year and yet, here she is.

“Our custody agreement for us to be 50/50 is that we both live in this town,” Joye said. “I have a week and there’s nothing for rent in town.”

We reached out to Joye's landlord for comment, but have not heard back.

While Joye’s case is unique, there are still millions of dollars available to those who need assistance due to COVID-related hardships.

Anyone in Colorado can apply online through the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). You can dial 211 anywhere in Colorado to be connected to local resources.