Evictions are something that most California landlords don't want to deal with. However, even with a comprehensive tenant screening process in place, unforeseen circumstances may still arise.
It's possible that your tenants fail to follow crucial lease terms. For example, they could seriously damage your rental unit or fail to pay rent. Often, an eviction lawsuit with the court follows in this situation.
As a landlord in Colorado, you may wonder about the laws surrounding tenant eviction. Moreover, there are different notices and their respective timelines that may cause confusion.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at all the aspects of a tenant eviction process in Colorado. Additionally, we recommend that you seek legal advice to get the best results for your rental business.
Basics of the eviction process in Colorado.
First, let's go over the major requirements and principles regarding eviction in the state of Colorado.
- Landlords need to ensure that they follow all the steps required by Colorado’s rental laws. If a landlord fails to comply, it will often result in an unsuccessful eviction.
- For a Colorado eviction to take place, you need to have a legal reason. In any other case, you have to wait until the lease expiration sets in. When your tenant fails to move out after the lease or rental agreement expires, you can file for this holdover tenant's eviction in court.
- Self-eviction methods are illegal. You can't make any threats, lock your tenant out, remove their belongings, or discontinue their essential services and utilities.
- When you accept a rent payment from a holdover tenant, the previous lease term renews automatically. For this reason, you shouldn't accept any rent from a tenant who doesn't move out after the lease expiration.
- Terminating a month to month tenancy requires you to give the tenants a 7-Day Notice to Quit. Your tenants are informed that their tenancy expires in 7 days. Should they fail to move out after the week-long period, you have a legal basis to file an eviction in court and begin the eviction process.
Legal reasons for evictions in Colorado.
Are you planning to evict a tenant in Colorado whose lease or rental agreement is still valid?
You need to provide a 10-Day Pay or Quit Notice or a 10-Day Quit Notice if your tenant doesn't pay rent, commits criminal activities, or if your tenant violates the lease or rental agreement.
When your tenant is served a 10-Day Pay or Quit Notice, they have to pay the due rent amount within the 10-day notice period. Failure to pay rent in 10 days means that they have to leave the rental unit.
What happens if your tenant won't pay nor leave the premises?
Then you have proper ground to begin an eviction. The first step of the eviction process you'd have to take is filing a lawsuit in court.
The 10-Day Quit Notice is reserved for serious lease or rental agreement violations. For example, your tenant sells drugs on the rental premises, attacked the neighbors, or destroyed rental property.
This type of Colorado eviction notice has no mechanism for your tenants to cure the lease violations. Your tenants need to move out during a period of three days. Should they fail to do this, you can file an eviction lawsuit with the court.
Serving Eviction Notice in Colorado
There are four different ways you can deliver notices under Colorado laws:
- You could deliver the written notice to your renter's workplace.
- You are able to hand the notice over to your tenant's family member (at least 16 years old).
- You can serve the notice to your tenant in person.
- You may leave it in a clear and prominent place at the rental unit (if the tenant isn't present).
What are the proper steps after filing a lawsuit?
- Serve the lawsuit on your tenant. In some cases, it's possible for the sheriff to do this for you.
- Gather evidence that supports your case. Make sure you have legal cause for the eviction, such as violation of lease agreement terms.
- If the tenant shows up on the court date, the judge gives both of you an opportunity to present the personal case.
- If the tenant doesn't show up, you'll win the court case by default. You'll receive a Possession Judgement.
What is a Possession Judgement?
The judge gives you a Possession Judgement when the ruling is in your favor. This order sets the entitlement for the possession of a property. Your tenant has 48 hours to vacate the rental unit after you have been awarded this order. However, they could still file for an appeal.
What happens if they still won't leave the property?
Under Colorado state law, the next step of the process is to apply for a Writ of Restitution. A writ of restitution is an order that allows the sheriff or a police officer to evict the tenant out of your rental unit.
After the Writ of Restitution is issued, your tenants have a 24-hour period to move out. Failure to vacate the premises after a writ of restitution has been issued results in a forced eviction.
Only a law enforcement officer is allowed to remove a renter from the property.
What should I do with personal belongings?
Your tenant may leave behind personal belongings. When you discover their personal property after an eviction, you should keep in mind that this property is considered abandoned.
In many states, landlords need to contact the evicted tenant. However, in Colorado, you are not required to do this. Nevertheless, should you store the property until any claims are made, you can ask for a reimbursement for expenses related to storage.
The Bottom Line: Eviction Rules & Process
Evictions are stressful events for all landlords. However, sometimes filing for an eviction becomes a necessity when tenants make a lease violation. For example, when your tenant fails to pay rent or commits criminal activities on the premises, you may deem it necessary to evict a tenant in Colorado.
Under Colorado law, landlords can serve two types of notices:
- The 10-Day Pay or Quit Notice
- The 10-Day Quit Notice
The first one allows your tenant to cure the violation of the lease agreements by paying the due rent amount in 10 days. However, the second type of notice means that they won't have any other option besides vacating the rental property.
You are able to file a Colorado eviction lawsuit if either of these notices gets ignored by your renter. If the case is ruled in your favor, the judge will grant you a Possession Judgment. This entitles you to the possession of the property and the possibility to file for a forced eviction if needed.
If you have specific questions about how to evict a tenant or Colorado eviction laws, hire the services of a qualified attorney. Alternatively, you can seek help from knowledgeable property managers.
Contact us today.
Disclaimer: This blog does not constitute legal advice. Contact a licensed attorney in your state. Laws frequently change, and this post about the eviction process might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact a Colorado law firm or one of our property managers for any questions you have in regards to this content.