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Colorado Eviction Laws

As in most states, Colorado has a set of laws specifically outling the eviction process. These are Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-40-101 through § 13-40-123; 38-12-510. Both the landlord performing the eviction and the tenant being evicted have roles to play.

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First, What is an Eviction?

In Colorado, an eviction is defined as the legal process through which a landlord can remove a tenant from the property that the tenant is renting. This applies to tenants who have a lease and to those who do not. If the process is not followed exactly as laid out Colorado's eviction laws, then the tenant may have grounds for staying in the property. See Also How to Evict a Roommate in Colorado

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How Long is the Colorado Eviction Process?

Depending on why the landlord is evicting the tenant, an eviction case in Colorado usually takes from two weeks to three months, although it can take longer if the tenant contests the eviction.

What Do Colorado Eviction Laws Allow as Grounds for Eviction?

If a lease is in place, then a landlord need a legally valid reason for evicting a tenant from his or her home before the end of the lease. A landlord cannot just show up and throw a tenant out of the property without legal cause. Reasons for eviction are most often listed in the lease agreement and constitute legal cause as long as they do not violate Colorado eviction laws.

In Colorado, eviction laws state that a landlord has legal cause for an eviction if a tenant:

1) Fails to Pay Rent - This is the most common reason that Colorado landlords evict tenants. Unless otherwise stipulated in the lease, rent is late if it is received a day after its due date. The lease may, though, stipulate a grace period. If so, then the rent is considered late if it is not received within the grace period.

2) Violates the Lease Terms - This means that the tenant is not following what is laid out in the lease agreement and may include things like damaging the property, behaving in a way that creates a nuisance or inconvience to other tenants or neighbors (think loud parties), subletting the property without your landlord's knowlege, having a pet if one is not allowed and more.

3) Commits a Serious Violation - If a tenant is involved in illegal activity, such as selling drugs from the property or menancing another tenant, then the landlord has legal probable cause for an eviction.

4) Stays Beyond the Length of the Lease - As long as a tenant is paying rent, not violating the terms of the lease agreement and not committing a serious violation, then he cannot be evicted by the landlord.

If, however, the tenant decides to stay beyond the date set forth as the end date of the lease, and therefore no longer has a lease, or if the tenant never had a lease in the first place, then the landlord has legal grounds to evict the tenant.

What is the Colorado Eviction Process?

Colorado eviction laws state that if there is a lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant, then the landlord must give notice to the tenant that he or she is being evicted. How much notice depends on a number of factors, primarily the reason for the eviction and the type of property in question.

Non-Payment of Rent - If the Colorado landlord owns five or fewer rental properties and wants to evict a tenant because the tenant has not paid rent on time, then the landlord must provide a 5 Day Notice to Pay or Quit to the tenant. This notice gives the tenant the option to pay the past due amount in full within five days to avoid eviction. If the tenant pays in full before a court judgement occurs, then the eviction does not proceed. If he or she does not pay in full, then the landlord may continue with the eviction process.

colorado eviction laws

If the landlord owns more than five rental properties and is not an employer proving the tenant housing, then the landlord must give the tenant a 10 Days Notice to Pay or Quit. The tenant then has 10 full days to pay the rent that is past due to avoid eviction. If the tenant pays the amount due on time, the eviction does not go forward. If he or she does not pay in full, then the landlord may continue with the eviction process.

Violation of the Lease Agreement - If the landlord owns five or fewer rental properties and wants to evict a tenant for violation of the lease terms, then he must provide a 5 Day Notice to Comply to the tenant. The tenant then has five days to remedy the violation. If he or she does not do so, then the eviction process may go forward.

If the landlord owns more than five rental properties and wants to evict a tenant for violation of the lease agreement, then he must provide a 10 Day Notice to Comply to the tenant. The tenant then has 10 days to fix the situation. If he or she does not do so, then the eviction process may proceed. (Colo. Rev. Stat § 13-40-107.5)

Serious Violation - If the landlord wants to evict the tenant because the tenant has committed a serious violation, such as engaging in criminal activity, then the landlord is required by Colorado eviction laws to provide a 3 Day Notice to Vacate to the tenant. It does not matter how many properties the landlord owns, and the tenant cannot remedy the violation to avoid eviction. The tenant must move out within the three day period or the landlord may continue with the eviction process.

Staying Beyond the End of the Lease - If the landlord wants to evict because the lease has expired but the tenant will not leave the property, then the landlord - no matter how many properties he owns - must provide a Notice to Quit to the tenant. This also applies to tenants even if a lease agreement was never in place.

How much notice a Colorado landlord must give a tenant to move out depends on the length of the lease agreement. This type of eviction is one without cause but still valid because the lease has ended. The landlord does not need to tell the tenant that the end of the lease is coming up unless it so stipulated in the lease agreement that he do so.

According to Colorado eviction laws:

*If the tenant has been in the property one week or less, then the the landlord must provide a 1 Day to Quit Notice.

*If the tenant has been in the property one week to one month, then the landlord must provide a 3 Day Quit Notice.

*If the tenant has occupied the property for one to six months, then the notice must be for 21 days.

*If the tenant has been in the property for six months to one year, then the notice must be for 28 days.

*Finally, if the tenant has been in the property for more than one year, then the landlord must give the tenant a 91 day notice to vacate the property.

What Can a Tenant Do to Avoid Eviction in Colorado?

Most landlords do not want to evict a tenant. They just want the rent paid on time, the property taken care of and no illegal activity happening in their property. If a tenant wants to avoid being evicted and having on official eviction or judgement against them on their credit record for employers, future landlords, credit issuers, insurers and others to see, then there are three things he or she can do.

colorado eviction laws

1) The tenant can attempt to "solve" or resolve the stated problem. For example, if the tenant is being evicted for failure to pay rent, it is worth talking to the landlord to see if a payment plan can be arranged. Simple communication can go a long way.

2) The tenant can move out before being officially evicted so the eviction does not become a permanent part of his or her credit record.

3) The tenant can contest the eviction in court if he or she thinks there are valid grounds for not leaving the property.

Serving the Tenant

Once notice is given to the tenant and the tenant fails to remedy the violation or vacate the property as stipulated in the notice provided to him or her, Colorado eviction laws state that the landlord may then proceed with the eviction processs. In Colorado, this takes place through the county court system.

The landlord must file a complaint in the county court where the property resides and her must pay a fee. The landlord must then provide a copy of the complaint and the summons issued by the court to the tenant. The complaint outlines the reason for the eviction, and the summons states at what time and on what date the tenant must appear in court. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-40-111) A court summons for eviction due to nonpayment of rent must also include information about where the tenant can obtain legal and rental assistance.

The complaint and summons must be served to the tenant at least seven days prior to the court hearing. The landlord cannot serve the tenant. Service must be done by someone who is at least 18 years old and not involved in the eviction case.

Service can be accomplished by handing the complaint and summons to the tenant in person, by leaving a copy with the tenant's family member over the age of 18 or by posting the complaint and summons on the tenant's front door and by mailing a copy via first class mail. Many landlords hire the local sherriff for a nominal fee to serve the tenant to ensure that the service is done correctly.

Going to Court

Colorado eviction laws state that the eviction hearing must be held seven to 10 days after the county court issues the summons to the tenant. If the tenant does not show up for the hearing, then the landlord will win by by default. If the tenant attends the hearing but has not or does not file a written answer to the summons before or on the day of the hearing, then the judge may rule for the landlord on the day of the hearing.

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Many Colorado courts require mediation between the landlord and the tenant just before the hearing begins. If mediation fails, then the hearing will proceed as scheduled.

At the hearing, is up to the landlord to present a convincing argument to the court about why the tenant should be evicted. This means presenting documentation to prove that the tenant did not pay rent on time (bank statements that show a pattern of previous payments, text messages or emails, copy of the lease, etc.) or violated the lease terms (photos of damage, witness statements, etc.).

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If the tenant has provided a written answer to the court as to why he or she should not be evicted, then the court will schedule a follow-up hearing. Any tenant can dispute an eviction notice if he or she has valid legal grounds, such as the landlord is pursuing eviction as retaliation (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-509) or the landlord failed to properly maintain the property or the landlord did not give proper notice regarding the eviction.

Tenant Removal

If the tenant wins the hearing, then he or she can stay in the property and there is no eviction. If the landlord wins, then the judge will issue a Writ of Restitution giving the tenant 10 days (new in 2022) from the time of the judgement to the time the tenant must be out of the property. If the tenant does not leave, then according to Colorado eviction laws, the landlord may contact law enforcement, usually the sheriff, to have the tenant removed.

Under no circumstances may the landlord try to forcibly remove the tenant. Under Colorado eviction laws, if the landlord attemps to do so, then the tenant has the right to sue the landlord. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-510) If the tenant leaves personal belongings behind, the landlord can toss them after 30 days without contacting the tenant first.

Get Help

Ask an Eviction Law Question, Get an Answer ASAP!

Eviction is not fun for anyone, not for the landlord and certainly not for the tenant. As a Colorado landlord, it is vital to follow the letter Colorado's eviction laws regarding the eviction process or the whole endeavor may turn into a fiasco. As a Colorado tenant, it is essential to understand your rights and ways to stop an eviction once one starts, even it if just means talking with your landlord.

If you are a Colorado landlord or a tenant and need legal help to ensure that you know all of your legal rights when it comes to Colorado eviction laws, then it is time to talk to an experienced Colorado eviction lawyer. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to something as stressful and complicated as eviction.

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