What You Need To Know About Eviction in Colorado

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In Colorado, a landlord must give a tenant written notice and the opportunity to correct the existing problem(s) (if possible) before moving forward with an eviction lawsuit. 
If you’ve received an eviction notice, your fate is not necessarily set in stone. However, once the landlord has issued the notice, the clock starts ticking, so it’s good to know about Colorado’s eviction laws to give you the best chance of defending yourself.
That’s why Jerry, the super app that finds you savings on renters and car insurance, is here with this introductory guide to evictions in Colorado. 

Colorado eviction 101: four ways you can be evicted

A Colorado landlord can evict a tenant for a handful of reasons, but they have to give a tenant proper notice and the opportunity to correct problematic behaviors first. Causes for eviction in Colorado can include: 
  • Unpaid rent: A first-time violation requires a 10-day notice. If the tenant pays rent in full within these 10 days, the landlord must accept the payment and the tenant can avoid eviction.
  • Violation of lease terms: Requires a 10-day notice. If the problem is corrected within this period, the tenant can avoid eviction.
  • Substantial violation: This includes violent or drug-related crimes on or near the rental unit. A substantial violation requires a three-day notice.
  • Refusal to vacate a rental after the lease ends: The required amount of notice depends on the length of your lease term.
When it comes to 10-day notices, weekends and holidays are counted as days, but the next day has to follow a business day. 
If a landlord is informing you your lease won’t be renewed, here’s a look at how much time they must give you based on the length of your tenancy:
Length of tenancyAmount of notice required
One year or more90 days
Six months to under a year28 days
One month to less than six months21 days
One week to less than one month, or at-will tenancyThree days
Less than one weekOne day
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If the reason for your eviction isn’t corrected within the required amount of time (say you fail to furnish the unpaid rent), your landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. A Colorado landlord cannot legally evict you without a court order.
Pro Tip The circumstances of an eviction can be complicated. If you need additional insight into your particular situation, don’t hesitate to seek out legal counsel or other resources.

A timeline of eviction in Colorado

Receiving an eviction notice can be unnerving, especially if you don’t know what to expect in the following days and weeks. Here’s a look at the general timeline of the eviction process in Colorado:
StepHow long it typically takesWhat to expect
Written notice from landlordThree to 10 days, depending on cause for evictionYour landlord should outline the specific reason(s) for eviction in a written notice and give you the proper amount of time to correct the problem, if possible.
Summons and Complaint in Forcible Entry and Detainer (Fed)Within seven to 14 days of hearing dateIf a tenant doesn’t pay their rent, correct the lease violation, or move out within the required notice period, a landlord can file a summons and complaint.
Tenant responseBefore court return dateTenants can file an “Answer” to share their perspective before the return date.
HearingTypically seven to 14 days after summonsThe landlord and tenant will appear in court and a judgment will be made.
EvictionAt least 48 hours after the hearingIf the judge rules in the landlord’s favor, a tenant has at least 48 hours to move out of the unit before a sheriff will assist with eviction.

How to resist eviction in Colorado

If you’ve received an eviction notice from your landlord in Colorado, that doesn’t mean your fate is set in stone. The following are a few ways you might be able to reverse course and avoid an eviction: 
  • Address the cause of the eviction. The easiest way to avoid eviction is to address the problem(s) outlined in your landlord’s notice. If the issue is corrected within the required amount of time, there won’t be a cause for eviction.
  • Opt for mediation. During the eviction process, landlords and tenants can use a mediation service to avoid litigation (and the costs that can come with it) to come to an agreement.
  • Point out a procedural mistake. If you catch the landlord skipping crucial steps or overstepping bounds by taking actions like prematurely shutting off utilities and can show evidence of this on your court date, the case might be thrown out.
  • Look into statewide resources. Several resources in Colorado can help tenants avoid eviction, including emergency rent assistance. You can find a list of some of those resources here.
  • Come to your court date prepared. As a tenant, if you choose not to show up for the court date, the eviction order will likely go through. Come prepared with all the necessary paperwork, which might include your answer, payment records, or other documents that can support your defense.
  • Argue that the landlord failed to maintain the property. If your landlord is evicting you for damage to a rental due to a problem that was their responsibility to maintain (especially if you can document your requests to fix the issue), you might be able to avoid eviction.
  • Call out discrimination. Fair housing laws make it illegal for a Colorado landlord to evict you solely because of your race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, familial status, or religion. If the cause for your eviction seems discriminatory, you may consider filing a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division or the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

How to save money on Colorado car and renters insurance

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