Eviction Notices for Nonpayment of Rent in Colorado

Landlords have the option of evicting a tenant who is late in paying rent in Colorado. Here's how.

When a tenant fails to pay rent, a landlord must take specific steps under Colorado landlord-tenant law to force the tenant to either pay the rent due or move out of the rental property. Colorado law prohibits "self-help" eviction remedies; this means the landlord cannot take personal action to remove the tenant from the rental property, such as entering the home and changing the locks, without obtaining a court order (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-40-101). The first step a landlord must take to evict a tenant who has not paid rent is to serve the tenant with a written demand for right to possession of the rental property under Colorado state law (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-40-106).

This article explains the basics of evicting a tenant in Colorado for nonpayment of rent. It discusses the written demand that gives tenants notice of the right to pay the rent rather than face an eviction lawsuit.

Colorado Notice to Terminate the Lease for Nonpayment of Rent

If the tenant does not pay rent on the day rent is due according to the lease or rental agreement, the landlord may serve the tenant with a notice to terminate the lease called a written demand. This written demand states that the tenant must either pay the rent due or move out of the rental property within three days of the notice (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-40-104(1)(d)).

What Is Included in the Written Demand?

The landlord must include the following information when drafting a written demand for nonpayment of rent:

  • the name and address of the tenant or the address of the rental property, if different from the tenant's address
  • the landlord's name
  • the grounds for the landlord's right to possession (for example, the amount of rent and any late fees presently owed by the tenant to the landlord)
  • a statement that if the rent due is not paid within three days of the notice the tenant must move out of the rental property or may be evicted, and
  • the landlord's signature, or the signature of the landlord's attorney or agent.

(Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-40-106).

How to Serve the Tenant with the Written Demand for Nonpayment of Rent

Once the written demand is drafted and signed by the landlord, the landlord may serve the written demand on the tenant by delivering it to the tenant using one of the following methods:

  • personal delivery to the tenant
  • personal delivery to the tenant's rental property and giving the notice to a person occupying the home who is older than 15 years old, or
  • if no one is present at the rental property, then by posting the notice on the premises in an obvious place where it will be seen.

(Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-40-108).

The landlord should keep a copy of the written demand and make a record of to whom and the date of when the landlord served the written demand. This information will be needed if the tenant fails to comply with the written demand and the landlord is then forced to take further action by filing an eviction lawsuit in court.

Tenant Options When Served with a Written Demand for Nonpayment of Rent

The tenant's response to a written demand may have different consequences:

  • If the tenant pays the rent within the three-day time period, then the landlord cannot proceed with the eviction.
  • If the tenant does not pay the rent, but moves out within three days, the landlord may use the tenant's security deposit (if any) to cover the unpaid rent after following certain steps required under Colorado law. If the security deposit does not cover all the rent due and owing, including late charges, if provided for in the lease or rental agreement, then the landlord can sue the tenant in court for the rent still owed. See Nolo's article Colorado Landlord's Guide to Security Deposit Disputes in Small Claims Court for details.
  • If the tenant does not pay the full rent within the three-day time period and does not move out of the property, then the landlord can file an eviction complaint with the local district court to gain possession of the property.

(Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-40-109).

Resources on Evictions for Nonpayment of Rent in Colorado

A useful resource for landlords and tenants is the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Housing or Colorado Legal Services for self-help legal information. Also, landlords and tenants both will find The Colorado Renter's Guide useful for a complete overview of tenant's rights and responsibilities.

For more eviction-related articles, see the Evicting a Tenant or Ending a Lease section of the Nolo site. And if you want a lawyer's advice on evicting a tenant, see the list of Colorado landlord-tenant lawyers in Nolo's Lawyer Directory.

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