In Colorado, you can be evicted for a number of different reasons, including not paying rent or violating the lease. However, there might be a few things you can do to postpone the eviction, or perhaps even stop it altogether.
For help accessing and links to the Colorado Revised Statutes cited here, visit CU Colorado Springs' library's locate statutes website.
If your landlord decides to evict you, you will first receive a written notice that states the reason for the eviction and a time period to either comply with the notice (if given the opportunity) or move out of the rental unit. In Colorado, you could typically receive one of three types of eviction notices, depending on the reason for the eviction:
It is important to note that you are not automatically evicted when the time period runs out. An eviction is a legal proceeding. If you did not comply with the eviction notice by the time the notice period ends, your landlord can then go to court and file the necessary paperwork to begin the eviction lawsuit against you. Depending on how busy the courts are, it could take anywhere from a week to months before a sheriff is ordered to evict you on a certain date. You can remain living in the rental unit until the sheriff is ordered to evict you, but remember that you will be required to pay the landlord rent until the day you move out of the unit.
Also, keep in mind that there are negative consequences to being evicted, other than losing your home. An eviction will have a negative impact on your credit report, and it could affect your prospects for future housing. Some landlords will not rent to people who have been evicted from a previous location.
For more information on the eviction process in Colorado, see The Eviction Process in Colorado. Also, if you are being evicted because the rental property is being foreclosed, see the Nolo article Rights of Renters in Foreclosure.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy to stop your eviction, you should look at Evictions and the Automatic Stay in Bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy may not stop an eviction, and you should carefully consider your options before doing so.
If you receive an eviction notice, you should first try talking to your landlord. You might be able to come to an agreement without going to court. An eviction will cost both of you money (as well as time), and your landlord might be willing to stop the eviction if you agree to certain terms, such as paying rent you owe or stopping behavior that violates the lease. If you can’t come to an agreement that prevents you from moving out, perhaps you can agree on a certain date and time for when you will move out of the rental unit.
If you and the landlord are able to agree on anything, be sure to get the agreement in writing, signed and dated by both of you.
If you are being evicted for not paying rent or violating the lease, then your eviction notice will state the reason for the eviction. If you comply with the eviction notice by either paying all the rent due and owing or correcting the lease violation, then, in Colorado, the landlord cannot proceed with the eviction (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-40-104).
If you are not able to comply with the eviction notice within the time period stated in the notice, then you should talk to your landlord. For example, if you are being evicted for failure to pay rent, you will receive a ten-day notice. If you know you can’t pay the rent in full within ten days, but will be able to after you’re paid in 12 days, for example, explain the situation to your landlord and ask for permission to pay late. If your landlord agrees to extend the deadline, or to any other terms, be sure to get the agreement in writing.
If you’re not able to reach a compromise with your landlord, and you don’t comply with the eviction notice, at the end of the notice period your landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. You will receive a copy of the court documents your landlord files (such as a complaint, which sets forth the landlord’s reasons for evicting you). The court clerk issues a summons, which orders you to appear in court at a designated time (between seven and 14 days after the summons is issued) (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-40-111). The summons explains that you must file an answer to the complaint at or before the date in the summons. Failing to answer might result in the court entering a judgment against you (a default judgment) (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-111).
In your answer, you should state all reasons why you shouldn’t be evicted—your defense. Examples of defenses to eviction in Colorado include:
For more ideas on possible defenses against an eviction, see Tenant Defenses to Evictions in Colorado. If you have any claims against your landlord, such as a claim for the costs of a hotel you stayed at while the utilities were off, you will need to file a counterclaim along with your answer. Consider contacting a local landlord-tenant lawyer to discuss your defenses and possible counterclaims.
You must file an answer if you wish to postpone or stop the eviction—even if you don’t have a valid defense. If you do not file an answer, then the judge will likely rule in the landlord’s favor, and the eviction will proceed. You can find more information about eviction lawsuits, including forms, procedural advice, and resources for both landlords and tenants, in the self-help section of the Colorado Judicial Branch’s website.
You must show up at court on the date and time noted in the summons. Many courts in Colorado require the parties to engage in free, court-arranged mediation immediately before the hearing. If you don’t reach an agreement with your landlord at the mediation, the court will proceed with a hearing, and the judge will consider both sides of the argument and make a decision.
Even if you don’t have any defenses against the eviction, you should still attend the hearing and talk to the judge. Depending on your circumstances (such as if you have minor children living at home or health issues), the judge might give you a little extra time to prepare and move out of the rental unit before ordering a sheriff to perform the eviction. Keep in mind, though, that you will still owe your landlord rent, and possibly the costs of the eviction suit, until you move out of the rental unit.