Oct 10, 2017
DENVER – Mediation between renters facing eviction and residential landlords, a landlord-tenant guide, and financial relief for residents experiencing a housing crisis are all part of the city’s comprehensive response to Denver’s increasing housing costs.
Today, Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced a suite of new tools led by the Office of Housing and Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE) and provided through the Office of Economic Development, Denver County Courts and Denver Human Services, all designed to help residents stay in their homes and weather financial setbacks.
“We want our residents to be able to stay in their homes, build their lives and build their futures, and their city is coming together to help people in their time of need to do just that,” Mayor Hancock said. “These new tools will work in tandem with other affordability programs in the city to help residents remain in their homes, and keep Denver the vibrant, inclusive city we all cherish.”
The three new tools are mediation services, rent and utility assistance, and a landlord tenant guide on rights and services.
Landlord Tenant Guide
The city worked in partnership with more than 15 tenant and landlord organizations, Denver County Courts, the Apartment Association of Metro Denver and other stakeholder groups, to develop a new, comprehensive Tenant-Landlord Guide that provides an easy-to-understand breakdown of the rights of both residential tenants and landlords in the City and County of Denver. The guide also provides residential renters and landlords with a list of financial and mediation resources to help resolve disputes without going to court. The guide will be available online immediately at www.denvergov.org/housing as well as in Denver County Courts, at the Pro Se Resource Centre, and at various resource locations throughout the City.
The City today also launched a new landlord-tenant mediation service that aims to engage an experienced mediator to resolve disputes between residential landlords and tenants through negotiation before and after an eviction process is triggered. Either the landlord or tenant may engage with mediation services prior to the start of an eviction proceeding or, if an eviction is filed, during the three-day period prior to the case coming before the Court or prior to a decision by the Court. The final-outcome of the mediation will be a formal understanding that is binding on the parties as reviewed by the Court. Through mediation, eviction proceedings will be more balanced, allowing tenants an opportunity to access financial resources to stay in their homes. This free pilot service is being offered in partnership with Community Mediation Concepts and may be accessed by calling 3-1-1.
“Stopping displacement in our city is a primary value and goal of the new five year housing plan, Housing an Inclusive Denver,” said Kevin Marchman, chair of the Denver Housing Advisory Committee. “The new partnership with Denver Courts on a mediation diversion pilot program for eviction cases, the landlord tenant guide, and funding from the affordable housing fund to provide direct financial assistance to families in need, are examples of just some of the tools we can employ to support residents in Denver.”
“The Landlord Tenant Guide and Mediation Program are important parts for improving the education of all parties and expanding opportunities to successfully resolve disputes,” Nancy Burke, vice president for government affairs at the Apartment Association of Metro Denver said. “By improving an understanding of a residential lease, all parties will benefit.”
Rent and Utility Assistance
For financial support, the city will launch the Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance Program in November. The new program through the Office of Economic Development will support low- and moderate-income residents facing a crisis - like unsafe housing conditions, economic pressures or a potential eviction - that could result in the loss of their home. This new program will be offered in coordination with the expansion of the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Eviction Assistance program, which provides a dedicated, onsite DHS outreach worker to eviction court to connect residents onsite to any number of public benefits, including eviction assistance or first month’s rent or deposit assistance. This coordinated approach marks an initial step in the implementation of the city’s recently announced Housing an Inclusive Denver Five-Year Affordable Housing Plan.