Landlords have certain rights under the Colorado landlord-tenant law. And among these is the right to evict a tenant for a violation of the terms of the lease or rental agreement.
Some of the common reasons for a tenant eviction in Colorado include nonpayment of rent and property damage. Landlords have an obligation to follow a set of steps for the process to be successful.
Whether you are looking to evict a tenant or are simply familiarizing yourself with the Colorado eviction laws, this content is for you.
Have a Legal Reason for the Eviction
You cannot evict your Colorado tenant without cause. You must have a valid and legal reason for doing so. The following are the justifiable reasons recognized under the Colorado eviction laws:
- Nonpayment of rent by a tenant
- Lease agreement violations, such as excessive damage or subletting the unit without consent
- Failure to move out after the end of the lease term
- Engaging in criminal acts
Once you have a legal reason to carry out an eviction against your tenant, serve them with an eviction notice. This will terminate the lease, as well as kickstart the eviction proceedings.
Serve the Right Type of Eviction Notice
You must use the appropriate eviction notice depending on the violation a tenant has committed. The following are the various eviction notices available for landlords in the state of Colorado:
Notice to Pay
You must use this type of eviction notice on tenants who don’t pay rent on time. The amount of notice to serve the tenant depends on the type of tenancy in operation. If you’re renting out a property that has fewer than five rental units, you must serve the tenant a 5-Day Notice to Pay in order to evict them.
For tenants living in a home supplied by their employer, you must serve them a 3-Day Notice to Pay in order to terminate their lease. In all other instances, you must serve the tenant a 10-Day Notice to Pay.
If the tenant pays within the notice period, you must stop further eviction proceedings against them. However, if they don’t pay the due rent and fail to leave the property, you can continue with the eviction process by filing a lawsuit in court.
Notice to Comply
You may also be able to evict a tenant for failing to abide by the terms of the lease agreement. To begin the eviction process, you must give them time to remedy the violation. The amount of notice to serve them will also depend on the type of lease in operation.
For landlords who own five or fewer rental units, you must provide the tenant with a 5-Day Notice to Comply. For tenants occupying employer-provided homes, you must serve them with a 3-Day Notice to Comply. And for all other residential tenancies, you must serve them a 10-Day Notice to Comply.
Typical lease agreement violations that fall under this category include keeping an unauthorized pet and exceeding the rental limit. If the tenant corrects the violation within the notice period, you must stop further eviction proceedings against them. However, if they don’t, you can continue with the next step, which is moving to court.
3 to 28-Day Notice to Quit
Colorado eviction laws also allow a landlord to evict a tenant for holding over after their lease has ended. The amount of notice to provide them depends on the length of time the tenancy has run.
If the tenancy has only lasted for a week or less, you must serve them a 1-Day Notice to Quit. To evict a tenant at will, you must serve them a 3-Day Notice to Quit. For tenancies lasting anywhere between a month and six months, you must serve them a 21-Day Notice to Quit. And for tenancies lasting between six months and a year, you must serve them a 28-Day Notice to Quit.
3-Day Notice to Quit
You’ll need to serve this notice on a tenant who has engaged in illegal activity while on the property. Unlike the aforementioned notices, you don’t have to give the tenant time to remedy the violation they have committed. In the state of Colorado, the illegal activity includes drug-related felonies, violent felonies, and public nuisances.
File the Complaint and Serve the Colorado Tenant
The next step in the eviction process involves filing a complaint in a relevant county court. The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant by anyone who is at least eighteen years old.
Attend the Court Hearing and Await the Judgement
After the Colorado court has issued the summons, the hearing will take place anywhere between 7 and 14 days later. The tenant has a right to file a written answer prior to attending the hearing. If the tenant doesn’t file an answer, the court will most likely issue a default judgment in the landlord’s favor.
Whether you win via a default judgment or a successful hearing, the court will issue you with a writ of restitution which will be the tenant’s final notice to leave the unit. It gives the tenant an opportunity to collect their belongings before being forcefully evicted by a sheriff. In Colorado, a writ of restitution is usually issued at least 48 hours after a successful judgment.
Now you have a better understanding of the step-by-step eviction process in Colorado. As a landlord, you also need to familiarize yourself with the security deposit laws, rent increase policies, and early lease termination rules.
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Disclaimer: This content isn’t a substitute for professional legal help. Laws change and this content may not be updated at the time of your reading.