Pandemic eviction notice still in effect, Colorado Supreme Court rules

Landlords must give tenants in federally-subsidized housing 30 days’ notice before eviction, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday, extending a pandemic-era protection for tenants.

The justices found that the longer 30-day notice requirement — passed by Congress in 2020 as an emergency measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — applies indefinitely and trumps Colorado’s 10-day notice requirement for evictions in housing that is supported by federal subsidies.

In a unanimous decision with one justice not participating, the court found that while the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act, declared its moratorium on evictions would end after 120 days, it did not set a date for the 30-day advance notice requirement to end, and so the requirement is still in effect.

“We cannot insert an expiration date where Congress omitted one,” Justice Melissa Hart wrote in the 10-page opinion. “…Rather, we must presume that Congress meant what it said — although the Moratorium Provision expired, the Notice Provision did not.”

The decision will affect thousands of eviction cases in Colorado and brings the state in line with courts in Washington, Oklahoma and Connecticut that have also considered the issue and come to the same conclusion, according to the opinion.

The case came to the state Supreme Court earlier this year after the landlord at Arvada Village Apartments filed to evict a tenant after giving just 23 days’ notice. The woman fought the eviction in Jefferson County Court on the grounds that a 30-day notice was required. That judge ruled against the woman, who then brought her appeal directly to the Colorado Supreme Court.

The justices agreed to take on the case due to the urgency of the matter and because county courts across the state have issued conflicting rulings on whether landlords of federally-subsidized housing must follow the state’s 10-day notice or the federal 30-day notice, according to the opinion.

“If Congress made a mistake and intended to include an expiration date… then it should amend the statute,” Hart wrote in the opinion. “We are not empowered to ‘rescue Congress from drafting errors.’”

Chief Justice Brian Boatright did not participate in the ruling.

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