Feb 8, 2024

Charles serves as CCLP's Income and Housing Policy Director using data and research to support our efforts to stand with diverse communities across Colorado in the fight against poverty. Staff page ›

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CCLP testifies on monthly eviction reporting bill

by | Feb 8, 2024

On Wednesday, February 7, 2024, Charles Brennan, CCLP’s Income and Housing Policy Director, provided written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee for Senate Bill 24-064, Monthly Residential Eviction Data & Report. CCLP is in support for SB24-064.

 

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 

My name is Charles Brennan, Director of Income and Housing Policy for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP). CCLP is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with the vision that every Coloradan should have what they need to succeed. I am submitting this written testimony in support of SB24-064, which aims to improve access to detailed data on evictions in Colorado.  

The bill proposes monthly reporting of residential eviction data, a crucial step towards improving our understanding of evictions that take place in our state. Currently, accessing comprehensive information on evictions is challenging, limiting the ability of researchers, advocates, and policymakers to find effective solutions to the eviction crisis affecting our state. While we do have access to the total number of evictions that take place by county, crucial details remain difficult to track down and prevents more in-depth analysis of the causes and contributors to evictions. 

Our organization has experienced this challenge firsthand.  In collecting data for our 2017 report, “Facing Eviction Alone”, published in partnership with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, the absence of a centralized source of detailed eviction data meant that my colleagues and their partners had to go through a painstaking process to analyze and summarize over 92,000 eviction cases in the City and County of Denver spanning 2001 to 2017! This arduous process revealed important, new insights into evictions, including the staggering lack of legal representation among tenants in Denver—over 99 percent appeared in court without representation. While the sample size was small, the analysis found that tenants with legal representation were significantly more likely to prevail in court, highlighting for CCLP and our partners the importance of eviction legal defense programs as an effective tool to keep tenants housed and prevent unfair or improper evictions. 

Moreover, the report found that landlords in Denver tended to pursue evictions over minimal amounts of unpaid rent—half of such cases were ones where tenants owed less than $200. This is yet another interesting finding that would have been unknown to us but for the hard work that went into gathering this data manually from individual court cases—and something that will be easy to study in the future with the data that will be available because of SB24-064.  

This bill represents an opportunity for Colorado to be a leader in understanding the root causes of evictions and will give policymakers and advocates a powerful resource to identify evidence-based interventions that will lead to greater housing stability for Colorado renters. It will also allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of eviction prevention policies by providing much more detailed data on the circumstances surrounding the evictions that take place across our state. The ability to see this data at the county or zip code-level will also allow for the evaluation of policies that local governments have put in place to address this issue. With evictions in Denver rising to record levels in 2023, and the rest of the state seeing more evictions last year than the year before, we need all of the tools we can to improve our understanding of this issue and the solutions that will ensure stable housing for more renters in our state.  

Thank you for your consideration of this bill, we urge you to vote in support of SB24-064!

Sincerely,  

Charles Brennan
Director of Income and Housing Policy
Colorado Center on Law and Policy

 

Update 2/8/2024: SB24-064 passed Senate Judiciary committee on February 7th, and will be heard in Senate Appropriations Committee next.

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