FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 2019
9to5 supports members pursuit of lawsuit over excessive, punitive rental fees
Aurora – Residents, with support from 9to5 Colorado and attorney Jason Legg and Steven Woodrow, have filed a lawsuit in Arapahoe County District Court regarding excessive fees charged to residents in an apartment complex managed by Echelon Property Group in Aurora. The lawsuit argues that the substantial, punitive fees being charged by Echelon – at times exceeding 50% of a month’s rent – are so excessive and abusive that they rise to the level of being unconscionable, unenforceable, and unlawful.
“The cost of rent is so high that I’m paying close to $1,000 a month for next to nothing and most policies have done little to protect renters. I’ve paid over $10,000 since I moved to Colorado in late fees alone,” shares Robert “Bobby” Salandy, a resident involved in the lawsuit. “There’s no way to catch up.”
Attorney Jason Legg noted, “Many states have put laws into place that cap these types of fees, and the maximum amounts allowed are typically a small fraction of what’s been charged in this case. While I hope to see our legislature intervene to provide and strengthen protections from abusive late fees and other landlord practices as has been done in other states, we are going to the courts to try to do so in the meantime.”
“No one should have to go hungry or without medicine in order to pay fees – a choice that too many of our members have had to face” says Andrea Chiriboga-Flor, Co-Director of 9to5 Colorado, a statewide member-based economic justice organization advocating for accessible housing policies. In 2015, 9to5 Colorado surveyed over 1,000 Colorado renters asking what barriers people face in finding and maintaining housing – excessive fee collection was one of the dominant reported factors.
The Court will be considering whether or not to allow an eviction proceeding to continue based on Echelon Property Group’s demand for rent in addition to the substantial feed it had already collected, or if the Court will wait to hear the argument about the propriety of the fees as part of a class action case.
9to5 Colorado is a statewide, membership-based organization dedicated to putting working women’s issues on the public agenda. 9to5 recognizes housing as a human right and is currently working on renters’ rights, affordable housing, community control of land, development without displacement, and rights for mobile homeowners.