Colorado Eviction Process

Colorado Eviction Process

Last Updated: January 25, 2023 by Elizabeth Souza

Steps of the eviction process in Colorado:

  1. Landlord serves tenant written notice.
  2. Landlord files complaint with court (if unresolved).
  3. Court holds hearing and issues judgment.
  4. Writ of restitution is issued.
  5. Possession of property is returned to landlord.

Evicting a tenant in Colorado can take around two weeks to four months, depending on whether the eviction is for illegal activity or another type of eviction. If the tenant files an answer with the court, the process could take longer.

Questions? To chat with a Colorado eviction attorney, click here

Grounds for an Eviction in Colorado

In Colorado, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include not paying rent on time, staying after the lease expires, violating lease terms and illegal activity. Even so, proper notice must first be given before ending the tenancy.

Grounds Notice Period Curable?
Nonpayment of Rent

Employer Provided Housing

3 Days Yes
Nonpayment of Rent

Exempt Rental Property

5 Days Yes
Nonpayment of Rent

All Other Tenancies

10 Days Yes
End of / No Lease 21 Days No
Lease Violation

Employer Provided Housing

3 Days Yes
Lease Violation

Exempt Rental Property

5 Days Yes
Lease Violation

All Other Tenancies

10 Days Yes
Illegal Activity 3 Days No

Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent

In Colorado, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. To do so, they must first give a notice to quit. If the tenant does not pay the balance due or move out of the rental unit by the end of the notice period, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Depending on the type of housing, the amount of notice differs:

  • For tenants who reside in employer provided housing, landlords must deliver a 3 days’ notice to quit.
  • For landlords with 5 or fewer rental properties that lease single family homes (exempt rental property), the tenants must be given a 5 days’ notice to quit.
  • For all other residential tenancies, the landlord must serve a 10 days’ notice to quit.

Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is due at the beginning of each pay period and is considered late in Colorado the day immediately after its due date. So for example, if rent is due on the first day of the month, it is considered late starting on the second day of the month (if not paid in full). There is no right to a legal grace period (i.e., seven days).

Once rent is considered late, the landlord can begin the eviction process by serving the tenant with proper notice.

Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease

In Colorado, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or with a lease that has ended (known as a “tenant at will” or “holdover tenant”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving proper notice to move out (21 calendar days for tenants with a month-to-month lease or for tenancies longer than one month, but less than 6 months).

Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Eviction for Violation of Lease or Responsibilities

In Colorado, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under Colorado landlord-tenant law. To do so, landlords must first deliver a notice to comply or vacate, which allows the tenant to fix the issue or move out.

Tenant responsibilities include:

  • Complying with all building, health, and housing codes that materially affect health and safety.
  • Keeping the dwelling unit safe, clean and sanitary.
  • Disposing of all ash, garbage, rubbish and other waste from the dwelling unit in a safe, clean and sanitary manner.
  • Using all facilities and appliances in a reasonable manner.
  • Not disturbing the neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment.
  • Promptly notifying the landlord if the premises is uninhabitable.
  • Not destroying, defacing, damaging, or impairing or removing any part of the premises.

Examples of lease violations include failing to maintain health/safety standards, disturbing the peace and enjoyment of others, allowing unauthorized occupants to reside at the premises or causing minor property damage.

Depending on the type of housing, the amount of notice differs:

  • For tenants who reside in employer provided housing, landlords must deliver a 3 days’ notice to comply or vacate.
  • For landlords with 5 or fewer rental properties that lease single family homes (exempt rental property), the tenants must be given a 5 days’ notice to comply or vacate.
  • For all other residential tenancies, landlords must provide tenants with a 10 days’ notice to comply or vacate.

If the tenant does not correct the lease violation or move out by the end of the notice period, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

        Eviction for Illegal Activity

        In Colorado, landlords can evict tenants who engage in illegal activity. To do so, the landlord must first serve a 3 days’ notice to vacate. The tenant does not have the option to fix the issue and must move out of the rental unit.

        Illegal activity includes:

        • Violent felonies.
        • Physical harm to another tenant or the landlord.
        • Substantial damage or destruction of another tenant’s property or the landlord’s property.
        • Drug-related felonies.
        • Criminal acts in violation of local, state or federal law that carry a 180-day (or more) criminal incarceration and are public nuisances under the law.

        If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

        warning

        Illegal Evictions in Colorado

        In Colorado, any of the below is illegal.

        “Self-Help” Evictions

        No matter the situation, a landlord is not allowed to forcibly remove a tenant by:

        • Changing the locks.
        • Shutting off utilities.
        • Removing tenant belongings.

        A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.

        If found liable, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant statutory damages, 3 times the monthly rent or $5,000, whichever is greater, plus costs, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

        Retaliatory Evictions

        It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant in response to exercising a legally protected right. These rights include:

        • Complaining about habitability issues that materially affect the life, health, or safety to the landlord or governmental agency.
        • Filing a complaint to a government authority.
        • Joining a tenant’s union or organization.
        • Pursuing a legal right to remedy habitability issues.

        If the landlord is found liable, the landlord could pay the tenant 3 months’ periodic rent or 3 times the tenant’s actual damages, whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

        Eviction notice posted on iPropertyManagement.com

        Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant

        A landlord can begin the eviction process in Colorado by serving the tenant with written notice. The notice must be delivered by one of the following methods:

        1. Handing the notice to the tenant in person.
        2. Handing the notice to someone, over the age of 15, occupying the premises.
        3. Posting the notice in a conspicuous place at the premises, such as the entry door.

        It is important for a landlord to always keep the original signed notice and declaration of service as proof of proper service if the case proceeds to court. 

        3-Day Notice to Quit

        In Colorado, if a tenant occupies employer provided housing and is late on paying rent (full or partial), the landlord shall serve them a 3-Day Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 3 calendar days to pay the entire balance due or vacate the premises.

        5-Day Notice to Quit

        In Colorado, for landlords with 5 or fewer rental properties that lease single family homes (exempt rental property), if a tenant is late on paying rent (full or partial), the landlord must serve them a 5-Day Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 5 calendar days to pay the entire balance due or vacate the premises.

        10-Day Notice to Quit

        In Colorado, for all other residential tenancies, if a tenant (who does not reside at an exempt rental property or employer provided housing) is late on paying rent (full or partial), the landlord must give them a 10-Day Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 10 calendar days to pay the entire balance due or vacate the premises.

        21-Day Notice to Vacate

        In Colorado, for a tenant with no lease, a month-to-month lease or for tenancies of longer than one month, but less than 6 months, the landlord must serve them a 21-Day Notice to Vacate to terminate the tenancy. This lease termination notice allows the tenant 21 calendar days to move out. If the last day of the notice period falls on a weekend or legal holiday, then the notice officially expires on the next judicial day (a day when the courthouse is open).

        However, depending on the length of the tenancy, the amount of notice may differ:

        Lease Length Notice Amount
        Less Than 1 Week 1 Day
        More than 1 Week, but Less than 1 Month /

        At-Will Tenants

        3 Days
        1 Month or Longer, but Less than 6 Months 21 Days
        6 Months, but Less than 1 Year 28 Days
        1 Year or More 91 Days

        3-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate

        In Colorado, if a tenant occupies employer provided housing and commits a minor violation of the terms of their lease or legal responsibilities, the landlord must serve them a 3-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate. This eviction notice gives the tenant 3 calendar days to fix the issue or move out.

        5-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate

        In Colorado, for landlords with 5 or fewer rental properties that lease single family homes (exempt rental property), if a tenant commits a minor violation of the terms of their lease or legal responsibilities, the landlord must give them a 5-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate. This eviction notice gives the tenant 5 calendar days to fix the issue or move out.

        10-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate

        In Colorado, for all other residential tenancies, if a tenant (who does not reside at an exempt rental property or employer provided housing) commits a minor violation of the terms of their lease or legal responsibilities, the landlord shall serve them a 10-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate. This eviction notice gives the tenant 10 calendar days to fix the issue or move out.

        3-Day Notice to Vacate

        In Colorado, if a tenant engages in an illegal activity, the landlord must serve them a 3-Day Notice to Vacate. This eviction notice gives the tenant 3 calendar days to move out without the chance to fix the issue.

        Questions? To chat with a Colorado eviction attorney, click here

        Eviction Complaint Filed on iPropertyManagement.com

        Step 2: Landlord Files Lawsuit with Court

        As the next step in the eviction process, Colorado landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate county court.

        In the state of Colorado, this costs $85-$135 in filing fees, depending on whether there’s an amount for rent/damages being claimed by the landlord, and the amount of the claim.

        The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant by anyone who is 18 years or older who isn’t part of the case at least seven days prior to the eviction hearing through one of the following methods:

        1. Giving a copy to the tenant in person;
        2. Leaving a copy with the tenant’s family member over the age of 18;
        3. Leaving a copy with the tenant’s supervisor, secretary, administrative assistant, bookkeeper, managing agent, or HR representative; or
        4. Posting a copy in a conspicuous place on the rental property AND mailing a copy to the tenant via first class mail.

        Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com7 days. The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant at least seven days prior to the eviction hearing.

        Eviction Court Hearing on iPropertyManagement.com

        Step 3: Court Holds Hearing & Issues Judgment

        The eviction hearing will be held between 7-14 days after the date the summons was issued by the court.

        The tenant may file a written answer prior to the eviction hearing, but this is not a requirement in order to attend the hearing and object to (or contest) the eviction.

        However, if the tenant doesn’t provide the court with a written answer at the hearing, the court may rule in favor of the landlord, even if the tenant appears in person at the eviction hearing.

        If the tenant fails to appear before the judge for the hearing, it will not be continued, and the judge will make a ruling on the eviction that day.

        If the defendant does file a written answer with the court (either at or before the hearing), a second hearing will be set to determine whether the tenant will be allowed to stay in the rental unit and determine how much money is owed to the landlord.

        If the judge rules in favor of the landlord at either the initial hearing or a follow-up hearing, a writ of restitution will be issued and the eviction process will proceed.

        Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com 7-14 days. The initial hearing will be held 7-14 days after the date the summons is issued; if the tenant files an answer, a follow-up hearing will be held, which will add more time to the process.

        Eviction Writ of Restitution on iPropertyManagement.com

        Step 4: Writ of Restitution Is Issued

        The writ of restitution is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit and gives them the opportunity to remove their belongings before the sheriff returns to the rental property to forcibly remove the tenant.

        The writ must be issued at least 48 hours after judgment is entered in favor of the landlord.

        If the tenant remains in the rental unit after the writ is issued, possession of the rental unit will be forcibly returned to the landlord.

        Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com 48 hours. The writ of restitution cannot be issued until 48 hours after the court has entered an order in the landlord’s favor.

        Eviction property possession returned on iPropertyManagement.com

        Step 5: Possession of Property is Returned

        The writ of restitution may be executed by a sheriff, deputy sheriff, or undersheriff.

        Colorado statutes don’t have a specific time frame of when the sheriff’s department has to execute an eviction notice once it has been received. Instead, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to schedule a time for the eviction with the sheriff’s department.

        Clock   on iPropertyManagement.comA few hours to a few days, depending on how quickly the landlord is able to schedule the eviction with the sheriff’s office.

        Colorado Eviction Process Timeline

        In Colorado, an eviction can be completed in 2 weeks to 4 months but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.

        Below are the parts of the Colorado eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.

        Step Estimated Time
        Initial Notice Period 1-91 Calendar Days
        Court Issuing/Serving Summons  7 Business Days
        Court Ruling 7-14 Business Days
        Court Serving Writ of Possession 2 Business Days
        Final Notice Period 1-3 Calendar Days
        Questions? To chat with a Colorado eviction attorney, click here

        Flowchart of Colorado Eviction Process

        Colorado Eviction Process Flowchart on iPropertyManagement.com

        For additional questions about the eviction process in Colorado, please refer to the official legislation, Colorado Revised Statutes §13-40-101  to 13-40-127 and the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4, for more information.

        Sources