COVID-19 and Advice for Denver Landlords Whose Tenants Can’t Pay

As a result of COVID-19, many renters are worried they can’t pay rent.

“Mayor Michael Hancock has made it clear where he stands on evictions in Denver. During his March 16 press conference announcing the end of on-site restaurant and bar service, Hancock said that “now is not the time to be evicting people from their housing.” As a result, sheriff’s deputies assigned to this duty have been redeployed “to other areas of need.”

“And during a March 20 press conference where he announced that he’d approved alcohol delivery by licensed restaurants in Colorado, Governor Jared Polis also pointed out that the federal government has put in place a sixty-day suspension of foreclosures and evictions for those with loans overseen by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Polis encouraged all lenders at the state level and the private sector to follow suit, and called on landlords to refrain from evictions or associated penalties at present.”

“Balch Lyng encourages renters to “keep the lines of communication open. If you feel you’re at risk as a renter or a resident of not being able to pay your rent because of a layoff or, God forbid, an illness, the important thing to do is talk to your manager or your housing provider early. While we’re recommending things to housing providers, we’re also recommending that renters who are in that situation talk to their landlord or housing provider, because they may be able to put them in touch with resources” like the ones from the Colorado Housing Financial Assistance Programs and the Apartment Association of Metro Denver.”

Read more at Westword. 

What should landlords do about COVID-19? Here’s advice from the Colorado Apartment Association

Colorado Apartment Association released guidance for landlords across Colorado.

“Colorado has seen record applications for unemployment after social distancing measures have shuttered restaurants, bars, salons and other businesses that cater to crowds of more than 10 people at a time. The Colorado Apartment Association – a trade organization representing dozens of housing complexes and developers — said it created a COVID-19 task force to begin to address concerns that many people may soon have trouble paying rent.”

Read more at KUSA.

Denver landlords enter ‘triage mode’ to protect their investments and renters alike

Amid COVID-19, Denver landlords prioritize communication with tenants and lenders.

“Peggy Panzer, vice president of business development for real estate firm Laramar Group, said most apartment industry leaders she’s spoken with are looking at allowing deferred or partial rent payments for tenants showing documentation, such as termination of their employment. They’re also sharing governmental and nonprofit resources, which the Colorado Apartment Association compiled in a guide for tenants facing income shortages.”

“Owners of these properties still have to pay a mortgage,” Panzer said. “If rent is cancelled altogether or waived, owners doesn’t have the ability to pay their mortgage.”

“Panzer heads up the Coronavirus Task Force Force for the Apartment Association of Metro Denver. Since March 16, the group has been holding twice weekly phone calls for industry leaders to share ideas as they chart a course in the midst of a pandemic.”

Read more at Denver Business Journal

No Aurora area evictions for now as courts, sheriffs refuse to impose them

The Aurora City Council announced no eviction orders due to the unemployment rate from COVID-19.

“But measures like courts postponing eviction hearings come with a slew of unintended consequences, said Andrew Hamrick, Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Colorado Apartment Association, which advocates for property owners.”

“Hamrick said eviction processes usually take from 45 to 77 days in the courts and can already be a slow process without the court delays. He said Arapahoe County courts process evictions very slowly, up to two and a half months. That puts landlords in tough situations, he said, putting themselves at risk of foreclosing the property if tenants are able to continue living in apartments without paying rent.”

“Hamrick said landlords across the state are waiving April rent for cash-strapped tenants or otherwise being flexible.”

Read more at The Sentinel.

Broomfield approves affordable housing ordinance

The Broomfield City Council passed Broomfield Ordinance 2100 on March 10, 2020.

“City Council on Tuesday added a chapter to Broomfield municipal code requiring developers to take affordable/attainable housing into consideration when building housing units.”

“Council passed the ordinance 8-1, with Ward 4 Councilwoman Kimberly Groom voting against.”

“Drew Hamrick, senior vice president and general counsel at the Colorado Apartment Association, in a news release said Council’s decision “could prove disastrous” for Broomfield residents because while it claims to promote affordable housing units, it will only do so at the expense of other renters.”

“Shifting the cost of rent from one group of renters to another does not decrease in the overall cost of housing,” he said. “Instead, the burden of lower income residents is transferred to other residents who only have slightly higher income. Broomfield Ordinance 2100 unfairly asks people such as firefighters, nurses, and policemen to pay the rent of other tenants.”

“The real solution to affordable housing is to build more units,” Hamrick said. “Our state should be focused on reducing the costs and delays of constructing new multifamily developments, which is the least expensive and the most environmentally friendly option.”

Read more at The Broomfield Enterprise. 

After 20 Years, Colorado May Reverse Decision That Limits Cities’ Affordable Housing Powers

Rent control is a major topic in the 2020 legislative session. To implement rent control, limitations that have been in place for decades would need to be lifted. Colorado Public Radio explains:

“The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that cities can’t force developers to include lower-cost housing units in new developments. The court found that the policy, known as “inclusionary zoning,” qualifies as a form of rent control, which is illegal under state law.”

“This year’s scaled-back effort could have a better chance of passing — but it’s likely to face questions and pushback from developers.”

“The question is, does inclusionary zoning come with public assistance or subsidies for the builders?” said Teo Nicolais, a real estate investor and instructor at Harvard Extension School.

Read more at Colorado Public Radio

Colorado Real Estate Journal

A study done by the National Apartment Association shows why rent control doesn’t work. Colorado Real Estate Journal released an op-ed by Terry Simone, President of Colorado Apartment Association, explaining the details.

“According to the analysis, conducted by Capital Policy Analytics, the impact of imposing a 7% rent growth cap in Denver would equate to $462 million decrease in property value and a loss of $3.5 million in property tax revenue.”

“NAA’s latest findings, combined with 40 years of research demonstrating the failure of rent control policies, underscores the importance of lawmakers looking at real solutions that provide tangible benefits. Fortunately, there are plenty of those “real solutions” out there.”

Read more at Colorado Real Estate Journal

Colorado Springs-area foreclosures plunge to 22-year low in 2019

A strong economy and a bustling housing market helped push Colorado Springs-area foreclosures to a 22-year low in 2019. The Colorado Springs Gazette explains the dramatic turnaround:

 

“A strong economy and a bustling housing market helped push Colorado Springs-area foreclosures to a 22-year low in 2019.

It was a dramatic turnaround from a decade ago, when a record number of local homeowners and businesses were hit with foreclosure notices; thousands lost their properties when they couldn’t resolve their financial troubles.

“It’s amazing,” El Paso County Treasurer and Public Trustee Mark Lowderman said of the drop in foreclosure activity.

In the mid-2000s, many buyers used adjustable-rate and interest-only mortgages to purchase homes they couldn’t afford, which increased their chance of foreclosure when their loan payments spiked or if they fell into financial trouble. Today, stricter lending requirements have reduced that risk.”

Read more at The Colorado Springs Gazette.

 

 

If you know how to chip away at the housing crisis, a bank and an affordable housing developer might give you money to try it

A national search for new ideas to address rising housing costs is being conducted from Denver. Denverite explains how Wells Fargo and Enterprise Community Partners is making a difference:

 

Denver-based Wells Fargo and affordable housing nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners announced Wednesday they were accepting applications from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for their Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, which will end this summer with six winning projects getting more than $2 million each

The Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge is part of a $1 billion commitment by Wells Fargo to support housing affordability across the country by 2025. The bank turned to Enterprise, which has been involved in initiatives similar to the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, for expertise. In addition to cash, the winners will get two years’ technical assistance from Enterprise.

Read more from Denverite here:

New Affordable Housing Complex In Denver Features 139 Units

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless celebrated the opening of a new affordable housing complex in Denver featuring 139 units. CBS4 reports more on the recent effort for affordable housing:

 

“Anyone who has walked through the downtown Denver knows we have a growing crisis in terms of homelessness and encampments. Being able to provide almost instant housing for folks was really something we couldn’t pass up,” said John Parvensky, the President of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH).

“This is a fantastic project. An example of getting to a place quicker and at a lower cost by being creative. But we know there’s many more who need help. The cost of living continues to increase not just in the Denver metro area, but across Colorado and in many cases wages just haven’t kept up,” Governor Jared Polis said. “Investing in supporting housing interventions is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also the smart thing to do. Reducing emergency spending, improving health outcomes, and helping make sure people can support themselves by having an incentive to work without having to spend every single penny on housing.”

Read more from CBS4 here: