The Colorado eviction process is simple to understand yet easy to mess up. Courts are very strict on their enforcement of notices and timelines. Most importantly, you’ll want to ensure your lease complies with these timelines.
Before you can file for an eviction you need to give 3 days’ notice and allow your tenants to catch up on payments or leave the property. After the filing process is complete, a court hearing will take place in 2 weeks, unless your tenant appeals or is granted a continuance. Plan at least 48 hours after your hearing to receive the writ of restitution which forces your tenant out of the property. With the writ of restitution you can schedule a local law enforcement officer to supervise the eviction, plan on about 30 days for this.
Before I lay out the entire Colorado eviction process, I want to share the reasons you can and cannot evict tenants according to Colorado Law.
The most simple reason for eviction is an expiration of your lease agreement without a renewal. Other reasons you can evict a tenant are:
According to Colorado Revised Statute section 38-12-509, Landlords are not allowed to take retaliatory action against tenants for filing a complaint over violations of the implied warranty of habitability. Basically, you’re not allowed to evict (or take any action against) a tenant if they complain the unit is not in livable condition. However, the burden of proof falls on the tenant.
Landlords are also not allowed to violate fair housing laws while they evict a tenant. The federal Fair Housing Act prevent discrimination against a tenant on the basis of race, color, familial status, disability, religion, sex, or national origin. Additionally, Colorado law protects tenants on the basis of ancestry, creed, belief systems, martial status, or sexual orientation. Some cities in Colorado have additional protected classes and you should research your specific jurisdiction.
You also cannot evict a tenant because they have a service or therapy dog and this supersedes all pet restrictions that you might have in your lease.
Before we dive into this, I highly recommend you hire an attorney to help you in this process. Many attorneys offer a flat-rate eviction. If you don’t have an attorney, we recommend Springman, Braden, Wilson, & Pontius P.C. Attorneys at Law. www.sbwp-law.com (303) 685-4633
The Three-day Notice informs the tenant that they are being asked to leave the property. Tenants are entitled to know why they are being asked to leave. Written notice must be given in person or posted on the door of the property. This also may be called a Notice to Quit, Notice to Vacate, or Demand for Compliance. My advice is to post this notice on the door of the property in a conspicuous way. Always take pictures after you have posted the notice in case you need proof in court.
This is where I HIGHLY recommend hiring an attorney. The Summons, Complaint and Answer is found in the Forcible Entry and Detainer (F.E.D). This informs the tenant that there is a court hearing regarding the eviction. The F.E.D. must be personally served or posted by an uninterested third party (example: NOT the landlord or property manager). This is a very important part of the process and if this is served by any involved, the court can dismiss the eviction and you have to start all over.
Tenants: You should always attend the court hearing regarding your eviction. This is your chance to negotiate with your landlord/property manager about leaving the property and repayment. At the time of the court date, the Writ of Restitution is issued. This is what allows law enforcement to evict the tenant of a property. Landlords must contact law enforcement to serve this document before an eviction can take place.
After the Writ of Restitution is issued, wait 48 hours to evict your tenant. At the time of the eviction, the tenant will have 1.5 hours to remove their belongings from the property. The law enforcement officer will make sure you are complying with laws about removal of belongings from the property. It is most likely that law enforcement will take about 30 days to schedule the physical eviction (depending on the amount of cases they have currently).
In Colorado, evictions are handled by the civil division/unit of your county’s Sheriff’s Office or Police Department. I’ve included contact information for civil units of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties.
Adams – Sheriff’s Office 303-655-3272
Arapahoe – Sheriff’s Office 720-874-3845
Broomfield – Police Department 303-438-6480
Denver – Sheriff’s Office 720-865-9556
Douglas – Sheriff’s Office 303-660-7527
Jefferson – Sheriff’s Office 303-271-5502