DENVER, Colo. (KDVR) — Sarah Feldman owns a condo in south Denver, but after a tenant broke their lease, a strange woman moved in without Feldman’s knowledge. What followed was more than a month of trying to remove the woman.
“She was being difficult, she didn’t want to leave,” Feldman said. “There was her and two guys I’ve never seen before.” Feldman went to court and got a writ to have the Denver Sheriff Department intervene. The group was kicked out, leaving behind a mess of dirty dishes, stained carpets and other items.
“There were guys’ underwear all over. It was just really disgusting,” Feldman said. “There were sex toys found in the condo as well that I did not want to touch.” The occupants also left behind a snake in an aquarium without a top, piling boxes on top to keep it inside.
Feldman ended up spending hundreds of dollars in fees, between hiring an attorney and paying the sheriff’s department to come out and evict the group. She also has to pay for the damage to her condo, and she lost roughly two months’ worth of rent.
Only a small percentage of deputies are dedicated to eviction work, despite a massive backlog across the Denver metro.
“If we were able to add more deputies to the unit, then that could possibly speed things up, but at the current time with 141 deputies below authorized strength, that would be a challenge for us,” said Chief Elias Diggins, who oversees Denver Sheriff Department operations. Diggins says only nine deputies and two sergeants are assigned to evictions.
KDVR asked four metro county sheriff’s departments for numbers to bring the growing eviction problem into perspective. The only county that didn’t see growing eviction requests consistently was Jefferson County.
The sheriff’s departments’ responses are below:
How many eviction requests are currently in your backlog?
Denver County: 225
Jefferson County: 60-70
Adams County: 118
Arapahoe County: Unknown
How many employees are dedicated to evictions?
Denver County: 11
Jefferson County: 9
Adams County: 6
Arapahoe County: 6