In the state of Colorado, evictions are sometimes called “forcible entry and detainer”. Being a landlord, we must meticulously read and follow all of the laws, rules, and any procedures set by the state of Colorado during the event an eviction must take place. If you do anything wrong, you can be denied the eviction, or even face fines.
The biggest mistake you can do is a self-eviction – they’re illegal in Colorado. You can’t change the locks, cut off water or electricity, or take out the tenant’s things. Obviously, you also can’t threaten a tenant.
As a Denver based property management company, that is also full service, we know a lot about this process. Although we’ve never had to conduct our own evictions, we are prepared should the situation come about, with an attorney on our team and the knowledge of what we need to do to take care of the eviction in the best interest of our owners!
In Colorado you must have a legal reason to evict a tenant. If you don’t, you must wait until their lease is over. If the renter doesn’t move out after the lease expires, you can then file an eviction and move forward. This is called a holdover tenant, something you don’t want!
In order to serve an eviction notice, due process must be followed or you risk being fined and your eviction being denied, allowing the tenant to stay at the property until the lease is over, and you may end up paying any court fees on their behalf as well.
In order to serve an eviction properly as your property management company, we will either:
- Provide the notice to a tenant’s family member who is over the age of 16
- Deliver the documents to the tenants work place and leave with them or their secretary
- Leave it in a conspicuous place on the property if the renter isn’t present
- By delivering it to the renter in person.
You can proceed with the formal eviction procedure if the tenant fails to act on the notice, the different forms we will file out in the Colorado clerk’s office are:
- Form 3
- Form 1A
- JDF 99
Which are the answering forms, under simplified civil procedure, summons in forcible entry and unlawful detainer, or the complaint in forcible entry and detainer.
When it comes to setting up a court date, as your full-service property manager, we’re able to attend court for you on your behalf, making it easy to continue to live your day to day life. Once we file them, the court clerk will give us a court date. Typically, that court date is around 5010 days after an eviction lawsuit has been filed. Next, we’ll serve the lawsuit to the renter. We will either have our attorney or have the sheriff do it. While we wait for the court date, we’ll gather as much evidence against the tenant as we can! We will have a copy of the lease, a copy of the 3- day notice to quit, and proof that the proper procedure was followed.
On the day of the eviction proceeding in court, if the tenant doesn’t show up, we win by default. The judge could also award you any monetary damages as well as award you with a possession judgement, which allows the eviction to move forward. If the tenant does show up, the judge will give each party an opportunity to present their case.
Tenant eviction defenses could include:
- The eviction is in retaliation
- The landlord failed to keep the common areas safe
- The allegations are false
- The eviction is based on discrimination
- The landlord failed to keep the property in habitable conditions
With a possession judgement in favor of us, the tenant is to vacate the property in 48 hours. If the tenant chooses to appeal the eviction, they need to file within two weeks after the judgment is handed down. In order for them to file an appeal, however, they’ll need to pay an appeal bond, which is the same amount as their rent. If the tenant doesn’t leave, we will go back and file for a Writ of Restitution. This is what allows the police department to forcibly go in to the property and evict the tenant. After this is issued, the tenant has 24 hours to move out or the sheriff will enter the property. At this point, the eviction and any liability is out of our hands, and we can trust that the police department will handle things fairly and reasonably.
As far as personal belongings go, there may be things left behind. Under Colorado eviction laws, the property left behind is considered abandoned – this is different from other states where we would be required to contact the tenant, but not here!
If we do choose to store the property until the tenant claims it, Colorado rental law allows us to demand the cost of storage. We aren’t held liable for any damage, either. From there, we make sure the property is in good rental condition, and put it back up on the market to find the ideal tenant!