Oct 17, 2022 - News

1-minute voter guide: Denver's Initiated Ordinance 305 proposes eviction help

Illustration of a crumpled-up eviction notice in a trash can.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Denver's Initiated Ordinance 305 — known as No Eviction Without Representation — would raise landlords' taxes to provide free legal representation for people facing evictions.

Details: The measure would charge landlords an annual fee of $75 per rental unit in 2023 — expected to generate nearly $12 million in its first year — and increase the fees in future years based on the Colorado consumer price index, or inflation.

  • The landlord tax — pushed by NEWR Denver, a group of renters' advocates — would be used to fund a tenants' legal service and assistance coordinator, the ballot language states.
  • The funding would also support a tenants' committee whose seven members will receive a $1,000 annual stipend.

By the numbers: The city averaged nearly 9,000 evictions annually between 2010 and 2019, according to data from Denver's Department of Housing and Stability.

  • Meanwhile, the cost per household for eviction legal assistance averages about $700.

The other side: The Apartment Association of Metro Denver and other key industry groups argue the tax is unnecessary because of existing city services. For example, Denver leaders approved a measure last year that gives free legal counsel for evictions to low-income renters.

  • Opponents of Initiated Ordinance 305 also say the tax would discourage property owners from renting their units — further squeezing the city's affordable housing options.
  • In addition, the landlords would likely pass the cost along to renters, making housing even pricier.
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