Evictions

A residential lease is one person loaning a property to another.  People are motivated to loan a property when they know they can get it back quickly.  The process to get a property back when someone doesn’t voluntarily return it or stop paying for it is currently between two and four months (depending on the county and fact pattern).   Any policy that increases the time it takes to get a loaned property back increases the cost of borrowing the property and increases housing costs.

If a tenant is evicted in Colorado, he or she is allotted a ten-day grace period before being removed from a property. Certain members of the state legislature would like to increase this grace period to thirty days. However, the extra amount of time some legislators are proposing poses risks, including increased risk of a landlord losing his or her property.

We hope Colorado residents never have to experience an eviction. It is a challenging experience for families and for rental housing providers. Colorado state law identifies legal cause of eviction as the tenant failing to fulfill rent or other monetary payments, violating their lease, or committing what is deemed a serious or violent act. It is your responsibility as a renter to fully understand what behavior or actions as a tenant and inappropriate uses of your rental unit serve as grounds for eviction. Therefore, it is important to have a grasp on how the eviction process takes place at your rental property. Below we have highlighted the important details to simplify the process for you.

Eviction Process

STEP ONE—A WRITTEN DEMAND

  • The landlord must first serve the tenant a written demand that will normally expire three full days* after it has been served, at midnight. The demand may be posted on the door of the premises, delivered to the tenant, or delivered to someone in the tenant’s household over 15 years old.

*Different periods of time may apply to different types of housing.

  • The demand will either be a Notice to Cure (also referred to as a Demand for Compliance or Possession) or a Notice to Quit or Vacate. A Notice to Cure will notify the tenant to the option of addressing the problem within the 10-day window or leaving the rental property. A Notice to Quit or Vacate will notify the tenant that they have three days to exit the rental property.
  • If the tenant fails to meet the demand within the required time, the landlord can now choose to take the tenant to court.

STEP TWO—A COURT DATE

  • The tenant will be contacted directly or by mail with a Summons and Complaint, which will provide them with a court date (also called a return date or first appearance date).
  • The Summons and Complaint must be served to the tenant at least seven days before and no more than fourteen days after the given court date. The note may be posted on the tenant’s door.

STEP THREE—COURT APPEARANCE

  • If the tenant fails to appear on the notified court date, the court will be given no choice but to issue an Eviction Order, and the tenant can be removed from the rental property no less than 48 hours later.
  • The tenant can also attempt to reach an agreement with the landlord and his/her attorney out of court before court proceedings begin if both parties wish to pursue this option.
  • If the tenant feels that they have grounds to dispute the eviction, they have the right to file a Response or Answer to the Summons and Complaint* with the court and an additional hearing date will be set, which is usually within 5 business days after the first appearance date.

* Please click here to be redirected to the Colorado state court website for further information regarding submitting a Response or Answer to the Summons and Complaint.

STEP FOUR—THE COURT CASE

  • The landlord must prove that:
    • There was an oral or written agreement for occupancy between the landlord and the tenant;
    • The tenant violated the agreement or failed to move out of the rental property after the lease expired;
    • The tenant was served a 10-day demand upon violation or expiration of the lease;
    • The tenant did not comply with the demand within the required 10-day period.
    • The tenant may present their defense. If the tenant requires more time to prepare their defense for trial, they can request additional time at the first appearance date. However, the court normally requires the tenant to pay a rent bond to the court as a condition of such extension.

STEP FIVE—JUDGMENT FOR POSSESSION

If the tenant wins, they will be allowed to reside in the rental property.

If the landlord wins, Judgment for Possession will be granted to them and they have the right to proceed with a Writ of Restitution. The Writ of Restitution stipulates that 48 hours after the court order is issued, the local sheriff can receive an official order to oversee a physical move-out of the tenant from the premises.

In all Colorado locations except Boulder,  the Writ of Restitution can be issued 48 hours after the court proceedings. In Boulder, the Writ of Restitution is issued on the first appearance court date.

STEP SIX—EVICTION

  • On a date and time set by the landlord and the sheriff as outlined by the Writ of Restitution, the landlord has one hour to physically evict the tenant under the supervision of a police officer.
  • This date and time will not be provided to the tenant in order to protect the officer. If the tenant has failed to move out of the rental property before the sheriff arrives, the landlord has the right to remove the tenants’ belongings outside onto the lawn or the street under the supervision of the police officer. Neither the sheriff nor the landlord is responsible for the safety of the tenants’ belongings once they are outside.
  • Once the physical eviction is complete, the landlord can further choose to attempt to collect the money owed to him by the tenant. If the money owed is $7500 or less, the landlord can sue in small claims court.