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'Rent Strike' Signs Hang In Windows Of Acacia Apartments As Eviction Moratorium Ends

DENVER (CBS4)- The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project predicts some 300,000 to 400,000 Coloradans could become homeless as a moratorium on evictions ends in the state. One building in Denver could become a hotspot for nonpayment of rent.

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Signs hang in windows that read "Rent Strike." For the Acacia Apartments at 14th Avenue and Pennsylvania, the coronavirus rent moratorium has brought a rent standoff with some tenants.

Brand Willis is one of those tenants.

"So we have withheld our rent indefinitely," he said.

Paige Warren moved out of the apartment building, but remains active in the Acacia Tenant's Union.

"More people are going to be on the streets because the moratorium is over and the courts are
back in session and things are going back to normal," she told CBS4's Rick Sallinger.

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After the coronavirus pandemic began, eviction notices were taped to the Governor's Mansion gate. They are now gone, but the sidewalk there is filled with people living in tents.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock pointed out it's not all about tenants.

"Landlords have mortgage companies, mortgages things they have to be mindful of," he said in an online appearance.

Hancock also spoke of assistance for those with trouble paying their rents.

At the Acacia, they are hoping to negotiate a deal with their landlord as they withhold their

Willis said the next step is up in the air as the moratorium ends, "At this point we have been in a lot of discussions as to what our next move is."

The property manager did not respond to our inquiries on this day, but did by phone
when CBS4 reported on the rent strike back in April.

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"We have to plan for a rainy day. Everyone should plan for a rainy day," Vicky Pelton operations director at Olive Bark, LLC, the property management company of The Acacia in Denver, said at the time.

A tenant responded by saying, "Maybe you should have planned for a rainy day, just saying."

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office says it will begin carrying out eviction orders again next week. It has 75 pending. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office carried out two on Thursday this past week. Adams County has more evictions pending and the Denver Sheriff Department says it will be some time yet before it does evictions as it waits for paper work to come from the courts.

Later, in response to CBS4 Denver's story which aired on July 10 titled, "'Rent Strike' Signs Hang In Windows Of Acacia Apartments As Eviction Moratorium Ends," Pelton stated the following:

"Olive Bark, LLC management, which includes The Acacia, understand that some residents may have been impacted by COVID-19 job or income loss, and we are working with those residents to find solutions so that residents can remain in their homes.

"Olive Bark has gone above and beyond offering people residing in the Olive Bark communities rolling payment plans in April, May, June, and July. The terms include half of rent paid during the month it's due, and the other half will be broken into payments over the next six months. We have also offered residents who would like to move out a no-fees move-out, meaning, the resident can turn over their keys and we are not charging any fees for an early-move out.

"Most recently, Olive Bark, LLC offered to provide residents with a complementary consultation for those who may have needed help applying for benefits, such as Colorado unemployment. We are here to encourage and support residents who need our help during this time. We also encourage residents who need help, rental assistance, or other means of help, to access the resources from the Colorado Apartment Association's website:


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