DENVER — On Thursday evening, renters rights advocates with Colorado Homes for All (COHFA) hosted the first “Slummy Awards” during the Apartment Association of Metro Denver’s annual Hall of Fame awards dinner in Glendale.
Cesiah Guadarrama Trejo, co-chair of COHFA said the purpose of the event, which was held at Playa Del Carmen Park in Glendale, was to highlight the unhealthy conditions many renters in the Denver metro are living in.
“We want to make sure that the problem that we're highlighting is that greedy corporate landlords hurt tenants by neglecting maintenance and charging outrageous rents for unhealthy and dangerous units," Guadarrama Trejo said. "So every day, our members and folks are living with collapsing ceilings, broken appliances that are essential — like stoves and refrigerators — apartments flooding, mold infestation, among other things. So we want to make sure that tonight we can shine a light on the corporate greedy players, and really have our members share their story about how that is impacting them."
Trophies were awarded for “corporate greed” as a way to highlight some of the issues renters face.
“People are paying 90%, 50% of their income towards rent alone to live in uninhabitable conditions,” Guadarrama Trejo said. “Colorado Homes For All has come together to advocate for safe and affordable housing for all families. Because we know that families are struggling to stay housed and are in very expensive cities and states. And we really believe that, you know, no matter where we come from, or what we look like, we all need stable and affordable housing.”
While mobile home communities are not a part of the Apartment Association, Aurora resident Linda Martin who's been a renter most of her life said she's glad the Slummy's are bringing attention to the challenges renters are facing.
Martin who lives at the Fox Ridge Farms mobile home park said the last few months have been tough as her family has dealt with maintenance issues.
“We have issues with the swamp cooler… It leaks when it rains. We have to sometimes put a bucket down. Supposedly, they came and fixed it, but it still leaks. There’s issues with light sockets,” Martin said. “They came, in they do their Goldstar inspection, and they don't fix anything.”
Martin said her family has spent more than $2,000 to try to fix the problems themselves.
But as her maintenance issues mount, her rent has increased and her property managers have implemented new fees.
“They want to start charging us $35 a month for one parking spot. So for me, I'm going to have to get two parking spots,” Martin said.
Martin said street parking will soon be prohibited.
Denver7 reached out to property management company Ascentia, which manages Fox Ridge Farms where Martin lives.
A spokesperson for the company said they are looking into Martin’s maintenance requests.
Martin said did not attend the ceremony, but said she's grateful for Colorado Homes For All and what the organization is doing for tenants.
After the ceremony, tenants carried trophies in a four-block march to “award” the corporate landlords “winners” at the Apartment Association’s event.