A tenant has an obligation to abide by all terms of the lease. Such as paying rent on time, abiding by the rental policies, caring for the premises, and using the premises for rightful purposes.
While most tenants you rent to in Colorado will often cooperate fully, some won’t. And when worse comes to worst, you may be left with no other option but to evict them.
Colorado requires landlords to follow certain rules and regulations for a proper eviction. This process can take anywhere from two weeks to four months. The exact time will vary on the type of eviction, and whether or not a tenant puts up a fight against it.
If you are considering evicting a tenant in Colorado, have one who has broken their lease, or simply want to refresh your knowledge as a landlord, here’s a basic overview of the Colorado eviction process.
Colorado Eviction Notice
This is the first step in the eviction process. The type of notice to serve and the process to follow depends on the ‘just cause’. A just cause is simply a legitimate reason for evicting a tenant, as you cannot evict a tenant for just any reason or take money from their security deposit instead of evicting them.
Allowable reasons for a tenant eviction in the state of Colorado include:
- Nonpayment of rent
- Intentional property damage to the unit
- Material noncompliance with the terms of the lease or rental agreement
- Engaging in illegal activities at the rental premises
- Failure to move out after the lease ends
The following are the eviction notices to serve for each of the aforementioned reasons.
Serving Notice Before Evicting a Tenant Who Doesn’t Pay Rent
You must use this type of written notice to kickstart the eviction process of a tenant who refuses to pay rent. The exact notice period depends on the tenancy type. For tenants renting “exempt” rental properties, you must serve them a 5-Day Notice to Pay prior to going to court.
“Exempt” rental properties are those where the landlord owns a maximum of 5 units. If the tenant doesn’t pay the rent within 5 days, you can file an eviction action in court.
To kickstart the eviction process of a tenant living in an employer-provided unit, you must provide them a 3-Day Notice to Pay. This will give the tenant three days to pay the overdue rent or move out.
And for all other types of tenancies, you must serve them a 10-Day Notice to Pay. Similarly, this will give the tenant a maximum of 10 days to either pay the overdue rent or move out.
If the tenant doesn’t pay the overdue rent or moves out within the notice period, you can move to court for action.
Notice to Comply for a Lease Violation
Under Colorado law, you can also evict a tenant for failing to uphold the terms of the written lease agreement. According to the law, you must first allow such a tenant to correct the violation prior to evicting them.
For tenants renting “exempt” properties, you must provide them a 5-Day Notice to Comply. This will give the tenant 5 days to cure the violation in order to avoid getting evicted.
For tenants who live in employer-provided housing, you must provide them a 3-Day Notice to Comply. This will give them only 3 days to cure the violation to avoid an eviction action against them.
And for all other types of tenancies, you must serve the tenant a 10-Day Notice to Comply. Similarly, this will give the tenant a maximum of 10 days to correct the violation to avoid an eviction.
Typically, lease violations that fall under this category include:
- Having a pet without the landlord’s authorization
- Exceeding the occupancy limit
- Causing deliberate damage to the rental property
- Breaches of the Fair Housing Act
Illegal activity belongs to a different category.
If the tenant fails to oblige and cure the violation within the time stipulated, you can move to court and file an eviction lawsuit.
Notice to Quit for Tenants Who Have No Written Lease or Rental Agreement
Just because a tenant has no written lease or rental agreement doesn’t mean you can evict them without notice. The state of Colorado requires that you provide them with the following eviction notices prior to beginning an eviction action.
- 1-Day Notice to Quit. You must serve this on a tenant whose tenancy lasts less than a week.
- 3-Day Notice to Quit. You must use this for tenancies lasting more than a week but less than a month.
- 21-Day Notice to Quit. You must serve this for a month-to-month tenancy that has lasted more than a month, but less than six months.
- 28-Day Notice to Quit. You must serve this on a tenant who lived in your rental unit for more than six months, but less than a year.
- 91-Day Notice to Quit. You must use this notice to evict a tenant whose tenancy or lease lasts at least a year.
Again, you can proceed with the eviction process if the tenant doesn’t comply.
Notice to Quit for Illegal Activity
In the state of Colorado, illegal activity includes:
- Drug-related felonies
- Damage caused to you or another tenant’s property
- Physical harm caused to you or another tenant
- Violent felonies
- Criminal acts that are public nuisances under local or state law
Summons & Complaint
Next, you must file a complaint in a relevant county court. The filing will set you back by anywhere between $85 and $135. After notarization by the court’s clerk, the summons will be issued by the court, and a process server will serve them to the tenant.
Court Hearing & Judgment
Once the court’s process server has served the summons on the tenant, the eviction hearing will occur between 7 and 14 days later.
If the judgment is made in your favor, the court will issue you a Writ of Restitution. This will be your tenant’s final notice to vacate their rented premises. Either the sheriff, their deputy, or the undersheriff may execute it by forcefully removing the tenant from the unit.
Eviction Process in Colorado: Bottom Line
If any portion of Colorado’s landlord-tenant law or the Colorado eviction process still confuses you, consider getting in touch with Whole Property Management! Our experienced and knowledgeable team can take you through the laws and make sure you have the tools to succeed.
Disclaimer: This blog doesn’t constitute legal advice and isn’t meant to be a substitute for professional advice from a licensed attorney. For expert advice on this area or any other aspect of property management, Whole Property Management can help.