All Colorado renters and property owners must abide by the state's landlord tenant statutes. These laws govern everything from what can be in a rental agreement to what a landlord has to do to evict a tenant. These laws are not always easy to understand, so talk to a Colorado attorney if you need legal advice about your rental situation.
Basis for Eviction
A landlord cannot evict a tenant in Colorado for no reason. The landlord must be able to "show cause" for eviction, meaning the landlord must show the tenant either failed to pay rent or violated a specific term under the rental agreement. However, if the tenant is living in the property after the lease has expired, the landlord is under no obligation to show cause. Also, different rental periods require different eviction time periods. A tenant living with a month-to-month lease, for example, requires a ten-day notice, while a yearly renter requires a three-month notice, according to the Colorado Bar Association.
Colorado requires landlords to give tenants sufficient notice or the eviction will not be granted by the court. A landlord must provide the tenant with a written eviction notice that specifies the grounds for which the eviction is sought, identifies the rental property and states the time when the tenant must deliver the property to the landlord. Also, the notice must be signed by either the landlord or the landlord's agent.
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Lawsuit and Trial
Once a landlord delivers an eviction notice to the tenant, the landlord must then follow it up with a lawsuit, known as a complaint. Like all other lawsuits, the tenant has the right to file a response with the court, known as an answer. The lawsuit, and the answer, must then be heard by a court at trial. The tenant also has the right to attend the trial and make any defense available by presenting evidence, calling witnesses and making opening and closing statements.
Writ of Restitution
If the landlord wins at trial, the court grants a "Write of Restitution." This is a court order that the landlord can present to the county sheriff and have the sheriff's department enter the property and remove the tenant and any possessions located therein. The sheriff can only do this between sunrise and sunset, and the court can issue the write no sooner than 48 hours after it enters a judgment.
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