By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver
(Denver, Colo.) Denver City Council approved several contracts Monday with agencies to provide rental assistance to residents facing eviction. It also approved a bill requiring homeowners associations to be more transparent about pending foreclosures.
The council voted unanimously to approve the following contracts:
· Colorado Poverty Law Project: $900,000 for eviction prevention legal advice and representation, housing navigation, young adult outreach, referrals, and self-help eviction prevention services. The project would serve more than 5,500 households.
· Colorado Legal Services: $109,000 for free legal information and advice, full legal representation, education, outreach, and referrals. The money will serve more than 1,800 households and pay for a social worker who will work with low-income clients with complex financial, social, emotional, and medical needs.
· The Community Firm: $600,000, free eviction prevention-related advice, free eviction legal defense, and other free eviction prevention services. The contract would serve more than 1,000 households.
The council previously discussed the contracts at a committee meeting.
How to get help
Residents can learn more online about eviction and foreclosure assistance.
"Tenants who have been unable to pay rent due to financial hardship caused directly or indirectly by COVID-19 may be eligible for rental assistance," Denver explains on its website.
The rental assistance program can help pay rent as far back as April 2020. Help can include past due and current rent for up to 15 months.
Rules rolled out for homeowners’ associations
Also, Monday, the council approved new rules governing homeowners’ associations and foreclosures. The new rules require homeowners’ associations:
· Provide at least 30 days' written notice of property owners' rights during a foreclosure. The information must be on a form approved by the city.
· Provide a list of legal and housing resources for homeowners facing foreclosure.
· Keep records of when homeowners received notice of foreclosure.
Homeowners’ unpaid violations pile up
Council President Stacie Gilmore, who sponsored the bill, said she learned in early February that 50 homeowners faced foreclosure in Green Valley Ranch. Councilmember Robin Kniech said many of the foreclosures began with unpaid fees for not retrieving trash cans from the curb.
Kniech said a controversial “pay-as-you-throw” waste bill, which survived its first reading Monday, includes provisions that prohibit homeowners associations from charging such fees.
Kniech praised Gilmore for the bill. “You have been just a fierce champion not only for people in your district but across the state.”
The council previously discussed the new rules at a committee meeting.
State adopts new HOA rules, too
The state also adopted new laws regarding HOAs this month. With the passage of HB 22-1137, HOAs will be required to:
· Provide monthly itemized accounting to anyone in arrears on assessments or fines.
· Provide notice of delinquency for unit owners behind on their assessments. The notice must include a description of outstanding amounts and must outline the legal action the HOA can take.
· Provide the option of a payment plan before initiating a foreclosure. The law prohibits the HOA from foreclosing because of outstanding fines. It may only foreclose for outstanding assessment if the owner misses at least three payments and declines a payment plan.
· Prohibits late fees, fines and interest that exceeds $50 per day or $500 total.
· Prohibits an HOA from charging interest on assessments, fees and fines exceeding 8 percent per year.
· Requires HOA to provide information about one or more foreclosure counseling services available in the county.