If you’re a first-time landlord, you know that there are many things you may have wished you had known before starting out.

One of those things is how to deal with a tenant that is constantly not paying rent or is violating the terms in their lease.

Being professional in these situations can be difficult, but preparedness is key. In Colorado, there are specific factors that must be considered before you can evict someone.

If you need to know about the Colorado eviction laws, keep reading to get some more information that may help you as a landlord.

Colorado Eviction Laws: What You Need to Know

You may have become a landlord because it sounded like a good profession or maybe you inherited a home and the opportunity fell into your lap. Either way, you need to know the laws surrounding eviction.

Any landlord in Colorado has to follow the eviction process if they want to kick a tenant out of their rented space. It can be so stressful to deal with evicting a tenant that many landlords dread the day it happens to them.

You may have a tenant that you thought was going to be outstanding and they turned out to be a completely different person. While this is frustrating, it does happen and being professional is important.

In Pueblo, CO, landlords cannot engage in actions outside of the official judicial process or they may be liable for damages.

For instance, as the landlord, you cannot lock tenants out, terminate tenant utilities or services, take the tenant’s stuff out of the rented property, or threaten tenants. If you do any of these things, they may be able to take legal action against you.

If you are going to evict a tenant, you have to have the grounds to do so. It takes a lot of time and money to make it happen, so going through the process without a real reason doesn’t make sense.

There are a lot of reasons that you may evict a tenant, but even with the hostile tension, you need to remain professional at all times. You must have a court order to evict a tenant in Colorado.

Why Would You Evict Someone in Pueblo, CO?

If the lease term has not yet expired, you have to have a good reason to want to evict someone. There are a few acceptable reasons, such as:

  • Overdue rent payments
  • Violating provisions in the lease
  • Tenant refuses to leave after lease ends
  • Criminal acts on the property
  • Creating an unhealthy and/or unsafe environment

It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant without grounds for eviction. There has to be a specific instance or set of instances that occurred before eviction proceedings can start.

Notice of Eviction

The first step in the eviction process is to provide a notice to the tenant. A Colorado eviction notice may also be called a 3-Day Notice or a Demand for Compliance.

This notice states that the tenant has three days to fix the issue. This would not include the day of the notice posting, but weekend days and holidays can be included.

You have to state the reason in no uncertain terms for the eviction, how much rent is due (if applicable), and the date when the tenant must be compliant. It also should include how the tenant was served the notice, the tenant name(s), and the rental property address.

Once it is completed, you would sign this notice as the landlord and give it to the tenant. You can provide the notice to the tenants by physically handing it to a tenant of the property over 18 years old or by putting it somewhere the tenant won’t miss it, like the front door.

After you give the notice, you should also mail a copy to the tenant’s mailing address using certified mail. You have to wait the whole three days before you can take further action.

The eviction notice can state that the tenant has to leave the property without any compliance options, but only in specific situations.

This would include if the tenant had criminal activity on the property or if they were in violation of safety rules. Another reason that you could do this option is if you had previously given them a Demand for Compliance and they did comply, but you are serving them again for the same violation.

Tenant Complies: What Do You Do?

If the tenant complies before the time limit is up, there is nothing more you can do at this point. The only situation this would not apply is if the notice did not have an option for compliance.

The tenant may violate the lease or stop paying rent again in the future and if this happens, you can give them another notice. The same process would apply where you would have to wait to see if they are compliant before you can take any more action.

You may have a tenant that decides to up and leave as soon as they receive the notice. This does not mean that they no longer have to pay overdue rent.

Starting Eviction Proceedings

If the tenant doesn’t comply with the notice, you can initiate the eviction in court. You don’t have to have an attorney to do this, but it can be helpful if you feel you need extra assistance.

As the landlord, you have to follow the rules closely because the court does have the option to deny the request until the process is done correctly.

This means that if you don’t follow each step as necessary, you may not be able to get the eviction. You would have to start over again from the very beginning.

A court mediator can be requested to make the process go more smoothly with both the tenant and landlord present.

Complaint and Summons

You need to file and serve a Summons and Complaint in Forcible Entry and Detainer. Include a copy of the lease and a copy of the 3-Day Notice in this information.

There will be a fee for you to file this and it must be done at the courthouse. The summons has to contain the date and time of the return hearing, which is generally less than 10 days after you file.

It’s a good idea to read this closely and pay attention to what this information says. Not only will it help you be more prepared, but it will give you a better sense of the proceedings.

In the summons, the tenant is given the information they need, so you will not need to relay this information to them yourself.

The tenant will be able to respond to the summons and have the opportunity to defend themselves as well.

Summons Return Date

The return date on the summons will speed up the eviction process if the tenant doesn’t answer or if you fail to appear and the tenant doesn’t terminate.

The judge can decide to have the conviction hearing at that time and look at evidence from both sides. Usually, however, the court will set a new date for the trial.

If the tenant never appears or answers, the court can default in the favor of the landlord. While this is good news for any landlord, it is not something that you should count on happening. It’s better to be prepared just in case.

Final Hearing

The tenant has the option to request a jury or court trial, so this can be scheduled under that circumstance. Often, it does not get to this point because the tenant actually has to pay a fee for a jury trial.

The tenant will have to deposit jury fees and both sides will need to have an attorney to represent them effectively.

During the hearing, the landlord will need to provide copies of rental agreements, evidence of eviction grounds, and copies of interactions with the tenant up until that point.

Tenant Eviction in Pueblo, CO

As a landlord, you have to be organized and know how to do the job well!

Part of this is understanding which laws relate to your business and how these laws may impact your ability to be a good landlord.

To be successful, you need to know the Colorado eviction laws inside and out.

Although no one wants it to happen, you never know when you may have to evict someone and knowing how to do it will help you be prepared.

If you’d like to learn about selling properties quickly in Pueblo, CO, check out our blog post to get the information you need.