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Reader: Renters Cannot Be Ignored Forever...May Is Coming!

Denver City Council is asking Polis to enact a moratorium on rental payments.
Denver City Council is asking Polis to enact a moratorium on rental payments.
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

On April 13, Denver City Council approved a proclamation asking Governor Jared Polis to declare a rent moratorium across Colorado. Although the governor noted that he does not have the right to control rent or stop evictions in this state, the council proclamation points to his office's "emergency powers"...and the coronavirus crisis has certainly put many Coloradans in a state of emergency.

Many had trouble making April rent, and the stimulus check isn't going to cover May. "No Coloradan or small business who is unable to pay through no fault of their own should be required to pay rent during this health emergency, nor should they accumulate debt or interest for unpaid rent," reads the council proclamation, which passed unanimously. But not everyone agrees.

Says Pam:  

What a shame that the city council hasn't anything better to do than vote on a meaningless, unenforceable measure that won't help anybody. Get back to work and solve real problems facing Denver.

Adds Paul:

This is ridiculous. If rent isn't collected, mortgages aren't paid!

Responds Randal:

 I'll bet you $1,200 that you can't stop my landlord from taking my rent.

But the problems are real. Urges Malisa:

 I am a single mother of three kids; I care for my youngest son, who is four. I have been out of work, forced to quit my 25 hours-a-week part-time job to stay at home because of his child-care closing through this crisis. I have been out of work for over thirty days now. The main suggestion I have, that I pray to here will happen, is for president, governor or mayor — whomever — to pass a rent-relief fund, to relieve rent/mortgages/ utilities for two months at least. April and May, and for those who were affected for March rent, all three months. This will relieve so much stress on less fortunate families like myself, and many others with job loss and layoffs.

Notes Raye: 

I could only pay month to month before I lost one job and am only getting half hours at the other. How am I supposed to pay two months at once after this is over and I still haven't gotten my job back? My leasing office is "working with me" by charging me late fees until I pay the full amount.

And John concludes: 

There are tens of thousands of people in Colorado who are at risk of not being able to pay their rent in May, and who knows how many more if joblessness continues after May? (Which it likely will.) Why hasn't the governor addressed the major housing crisis that renters all across our state are facing? Even if rent is deferred to a later date, many people will not be able to pay a giant lump sum of money once they get back to work. Has the risk of tens of thousands of people in our state being evicted even crossed the governor's mind? What are we going to do to address this crisis? The longer we wait, the worse it will be. Renters cannot be ignored forever. People are scared and they feel extremely vulnerable right now. We need answers, and QUICKLY.

What do you think should be done to help Coloradans who can't pay their rent? Post a comment or email your thoughts to editorial@westword.com.

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