GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS.

X

Boulder City Council approves changes to Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Services program

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Now that Boulder has about six months of experience with its new Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Services program, Boulder City Council on Tuesday approved changes to it that staff thinks will help the program run more effectively.

“Since the ordinance’s inception in January of this year … there have been some lessons learned,” Carin Armstrong, who works in community mediation for the city, said during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “And these learnings have informed a few proposed amendments to the ordinance to ensure clarity and efficiencies.”

Among the changes approved Tuesday by the Council are ones that expand legal representation and the use of dedicated revenue for the program as well as others that clarify the advisory nature of the Tenant Advisory Committee and stipulate that landlords must provide notice of the program to tenants facing eviction.

Further, the city has developed its plans for collecting the rental license excise tax used to fund the program, which was made possible by the successful No Eviction Without Representation measure in November.

In terms of use of revenue, the program now will include funds for dispute resolution services and other housing-related expenses.

“Rent is not the only reason that a tenant may be subject to eviction so staff is looking to expand the scope to include other housing-related expenses beyond rent to enable a tenant to remain in the property or to assist with transition expenses to new housing, thus avoiding an eviction,” Armstrong said.

The changes the City Council approved also outline the process for collecting the rental license excise tax, an annual $75 excise tax to be paid by landlords on each property that they operate with a rental license. Ballot language from the November measure indicates that the tax will generate about $1.9 million in the first fiscal year.

The Boulder County Assessor’s Office will collect the tax on behalf of the city as part of a landlord’s annual property tax bill, according to Tax and Special Projects Manager Joel Wagner.

“Because property taxes are collected in arrears this also allows landlords a little extra time to accrue the new tax, even though the tax is technically effective in January 2021,” Wagner said.

The City Council allocated $1.03 million from Boulder’s general fund to cover startup costs for the Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Services program, Armstrong said. When the revenue begins flowing in next spring, it will be used to repay the city.

Overall, the City Council was impressed with how quickly staff stood up the program, which has served 70 people since January.

“The faster these things move, the better,” Councilmember Adam Swetlik said.

Those facing eviction can visit bouldercolorado.gov/community-relations/eviction-prevention-services. That website includes a phone number and online application for services.