On Monday night, the Denver City Council voted in favor of a proclamation that will ask Governor Jared Polis to cancel rent and mortgage payments due to the increase in unemployment.
The proclamation passed 13-0.
The thirteen members of the city council voted unanimously in favor of Proclamation No. 20-0350 which urges rent and mortgage moratoriums for those unable to pay during the COVID-19 emergency.
The proclamation, sponsored by council member Robin Kniech, comes as a temporary and immediate solution to ease the financial burden of Denverites who have lost their jobs as businesses comply with the state stay-at-home order and cease non-essential activities to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Additionally, it acknowledges the financial difficulties Denverites have been facing since the start of the pandemic, struggling to file for unemployment benefits. It also acknowledges that some employed workers and immigrants are not eligible for unemployment benefits and even those who are might experience significant delays in receiving any financial assistance.
Ultimately, the proclamation calls on Governor Polis to use the full legal extent of his emergency powers to impose an immediate moratorium on residential and small business commercial rent payments for anyone unable to pay due to the health emergency.
During the moratorium, small businesses and renters should not accumulate debt or interest for unpaid rent.
The proclamation has been the most notable effort from the Denver City Council to cancel rent payments during the pandemic.
In March, Mayor Hancock announced deputy sheriffs would be deployed away from evictions. The Denver Housing Authority also suspended evictions of non-payment of rent and minor lease violations.
Even though the Denver City Council voted unanimously, the proclamation is still just a request until Polis answers it.
During his press conference on Monday, before the city council voting, Polis stated the matter wasn’t so simple.
“No governor, no president, has the legal ability to suspend the sanctity of contract law. It’s common law. No state has done that. What we want to do in Colorado, and I have done that, is make sure that we take the strongest steps of any governor to help protect renters. That means using our legal authority, the full weight of it,” said Polis in a press conference earlier today. So far, Polis’ legal authority has stretched to evictions. Only time, and legal battles, can tell us the rest.
For more information on Proclamation 20-0350, visit the Denver City Council’s website.