Colorado Eviction Laws

Landlords should familiarize themselves with the statewide rules and procedures that govern evictions in the state of Colorado and understand their responsibilities.

Quick Facts for Colorado

  • Grounds for Eviction: Failure to pay rent, lease agreement violations, public trustee sale & committing illegal acts on property
  • Notice Required for Nonpayment of Rent: 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent
  • Notice Required to Terminate without Cause: Depending on length of tenancy, 1-Day up to 91-Day Notice to Vacate
  • Notice Required for Lease Violations: 3-Day Demand for Compliance or Right to Possession Notice
  • Fastest a Landlord Can Evict for Illegal Acts: 3 days, via Notice to Quit

How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in Colorado?

As in most states, the eviction process in the state of Colorado is unpredictable. There is no single answer to the question regarding the amount of time it takes to evict a tenant. The amount of time it takes to evict a tenant depends upon the reason for eviction, whether or not there is a written lease in play, and the tenant’s willingness to fight the eviction process.

In Colorado, the first step toward the eviction of a tenant is to terminate the lease if one exists. This is done by serving the tenant with a Demand for Compliance or Possession Notice or a Notice to Quit. In cases where the tenant has recourse to remedy the situation leading the landlord to seek eviction, the Demand for Compliance or Possession Notice is used. This notice indicates that the tenant has three days within which to remedy the existing situation. This may mean that the tenant has three days within which to pay outstanding rent, or that the tenant has three days to correct the violation of the lease or rental agreement. If the tenant fails to correct the situation within the three days provided, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Forced Entry Detainer and Summons with the court.

In some instances, however, the tenant has no recourse but to vacate the property. In such a case, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a written Notice to Quit. This notice provides the tenant with three days to vacate the rental property. When the third day following a notice is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the length of time is extended by a day. If the tenant remains on the property beyond the prescribed time, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Forced Entry Detainer and Summons with the court.

Reasons for Eviction in Colorado

A landlord may evict a tenant in the state of Colorado for a variety of reasons. These reasons are:

  • Failure to pay rent (C.R.S 13-40-104 (1) (d))
  • Violation of rental agreement or lease (C.R.S. 13-40-104 (1) (e))
  • Public trustee sale (C.R.S. 13-40-104 (1) (f))
  • Tenant or guest committing a violent or criminal act on the rental property (C.R.S. 13-40-107.5)

Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent

If a tenant has failed to pay rent on time, in the state of Colorado, the landlord must provide a written 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent prior to proceeding with the eviction process. If the tenant fails to pay the rent in full within the three days provided, the landlord may continue to the next step in the eviction process by filing a Forced Entry Detainer and Summons with the court.

Eviction if Rent has Been Paid

If the tenant has paid rent, the landlord cannot evict a tenant without cause unless there is no lease. When a landlord is renting to an “at will” tenant in the state of Colorado, the landlord is required to provide notice of his/her intention to discontinue the rental agreement when no lease exists. However, the amount of time a landlord is required to give a tenant before he/she may continue with the eviction process depends upon the amount of time the tenant has rented from the landlord.

Read more about tenants at will here.

 

Evicting a Tenant For Violation of Rental Agreement/Lease

When a landlord seeks eviction for violation of the rental agreement/lease in the state of Colorado, he/she must provide the tenant with a Demand for Compliance or Right to Possession Notice. This notice provides the tenant with three days to remedy the noted violation. If the tenant fails to correct the situation within three days, the landlord may continue with the eviction process by filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer Summons with the court.

Evicting a Tenant for Illegal Behavior

A landlord may evict a tenant for committing aggressive or illegal acts on a rental property. The criminal acts for which a tenant may be evicted in the state of Colorado include (C.R.S. 13-14-107.5):

  • Aggressive acts that include another person
  • Acts that endanger the property of the landlord
  • A violent or drug related felony act
  • A criminal act that carries a potential sentence of 180 days or more and has been identified as a public nuisance

When a landlord is seeking to evict a tenant for illegal behavior, he/she is required to provide the tenant with a written Notice to Quit. This notice provides the tenant with three days to vacate the property. If the tenant remains on the property beyond the stated three days, the landlord may continue with the eviction process by filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer Summons with the court.

How Does a Landlord Evict a Tenant When There is no Lease?

If there is no written lease, the landlord must provide notice of his/her intention to discontinue rental of the property in accordance with Colorado state law. The landlord must provide the tenant with a written notice to vacate the property according to the amount of time the tenant has rented the property (C.R.S. 13-14-107).

The landlord is required to provide:

  • A 91-Day Notice if the tenant has rented the property for a year or more.
  • A 28-Day Notice if the tenant has rented the property for 6 months-a year
  • A 7-Day Notice if the tenant has rented the property for 1-6 months
  • A 3-Day Notice if the tenant has rented the property for 1 week-1 month
  • A 1-Day Notice if the tenant has rented the property for less than a week

If the tenant refuses to move within the amount of time provided by the notice, the landlord may continue with the eviction process by filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer Summons with the court.

When Can a Tenant Not Be Evicted in Colorado?

A landlord may not seek to evict a tenant as a form of retaliation for filing a complaint with any government agency indicating that the landlord is not maintaining the property in a livable condition (C.R.S. 38-12-509). It is also illegal for a landlord to discriminate against  or attempt to evict a tenant based on his/her color, race, sex, familial status, disability, religion, or nation of origin, marital status, or sexual orientation. In the state of Colorado, it is also illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for having a service or therapy dog regardless of pet restrictions noted in the lease.

Once a Forced Entry Detainer and Summons is Filed

The court clerk will set a “return date.” This is the date upon which the tenant and landlord will return to court for a hearing or to request a jury trial. The “return date” will be between five and ten business days from the filing date (C.R.S. 13-40-111).

If the tenant has requested a jury trial, he/she will be required to make a deposit with the court to cover the jury fee.

If the court finds in favor of the landlord, he/she may request a Writ of Restitution. This writ may be obtained on the same day as the court judgment and allows the sheriff to evict the tenant from the rental property. Depending upon the county where the tenant resides, the sheriff may provide a 24-hour notice to vacate.

Once Eviction Occurs

If the tenant fails to remove all of their belongings at the time of eviction, the landlord will have to remove the remaining property under the supervision of law enforcement officers. The landlord is not required to store any personal belongings that were left behind after a forced eviction. However, the landlord must provide the tenant 15 days to retrieve property before it can be sold or otherwise disposed of. If the tenant leaves belongings behind when voluntarily vacating a property, the landlord must provide the tenant 30 days to retrieve the items before disposing of the them (C.R.S. 38-20-116 and C.R.S. 13-40-122).
A landlord is allowed to file for garnishment of wages and/or place a lien on the tenant’s property if he/she is awarded monetary damages by the court.

NOTE

Whoever loses the eviction case will be held responsible for all reasonable attorney fees and court costs, so long as this was stated in the lease agreement (C.R.S. 13-14-123).

Make sure to read the Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-40-104, 13-40-107, 13-40-107.5 & 13-40-122 before starting the eviction process. Landlords should make sure to educate themselves on their rights and responsibilities on this topic.

Eviction Process in Other States

Other Resources for Colorado Landlords & Tenants