Reforms focusing on late rent fees, legal protections of families at risk of eviction popular
DENVER – A new poll shows that Colorado voters want serious housing reform to help struggling renting families avoid eviction and stay in their homes. The astronomical cost of rent, a lack of affordable housing options and the COVID-19 related financial stresses families are feeling have elevated the urgent need for housing reform action. “Renters are hurting, at risk of eviction and the legal deck is stacked against them – and this polling shows that Colorado voters want to protect these families, who are disproportionately in communities of color,” said Cesiah Guadarrama Trejo, an affordable housing expert with 9to5 Colorado. “We need to change Colorado law so there are guardrails for the predatory landlords and fairness in the courts in order to help keep Colorado families in stable homes.” The poll found that Colorado voters are concerned about exploitive late fees imposed by bad actor landlords, a lack of due process in court for renters, families’ risk of eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic and the overall cost of rent. Findings include:
- Eight in 10 support caps on the late fees landlords can charge
- Almost 7 in 10 support prohibiting landlords from charging interest on late fees
- 77% support prohibiting eviction based on late fees alone if base rent is paid
- 82% support updating the law to fine landlords who illegally lock out tenants without court order
- 74% agree that renters shouldn’t have to pay excessive fees during an eviction hearing if they want to raise health and safety concerns about their rental home
- 68% agree Colorado should close loopholes in the federal eviction moratorium, including the loophole that lets landlords evict renters during the pandemic if they’re on a month-to-month lease
“We were nearly evicted when my husband was laid off and an administrative error wrongly cut off his unemployment income from August to November,” said Melissa Jones, a Denver renter and member of 9to5 Colorado. “Our landlord charged us 15% of our rent as a late fee and an additional $50 posting fee, which was just far too much when we were out of work and out of money. We were so scared because homelessness was our next step, and with my chronic health conditions, it would have been deadly.”
Colorado legislators Sen. Julie Gonzales and Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez are expected to sponsor legislation to address these issues threatening working families’ housing stability.
Commissioned by SiX, 9to5 Colorado, United for a New Economy and Together Colorado, Strategies360 conducted the poll of 501 voters between Feb. 4 – 10, 2021. The margin of error was +/-4.4%. Please see attachments for the poll and polling memo. 9to5 Colorado is a membership organization of working women, dedicated to putting working women’s issues on the public agenda.SiX is a national resource and strategy center that collaborates with state legislators to improve people’s lives through transformative public policy.