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July's legal tidbit

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Question: What is a Notice to Quit used for?

Answer: A Notice to Quit is used to terminate a periodic tenancy, usually a month-to-month tenancy. No legal notice is needed to evict a resident whose lease has expired and who remains in his unit, but it is good practice to notify him that you expect him to vacate at the end of his lease term. Once rent has been accepted for any time after the expiration of the lease, the resident becomes a month-to-month tenant. To end that tenancy, he must be served with a Notice to Quit. It should terminate the tenancy effective on the last day of a month and be served on the resident at least seven (7) days before the end of that month.

June's Legal Tidbit

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Question: What is the "mailbox rule?"

Answer: A payment under a contract (such as rent) is deemed delivered when it is received. However, according to Colorado case law, if the parties to the agreement have established a course of dealing that payments are delivered and accepted by mail, then a payment sent by mail is deemed delivered when it is placed in the U.S. Mail with proper postage and properly addressed.

So when, after a failure to pay rent by a resident, the landlord serves a three day Demand for Compliance or Possession, in order to timely comply, the resident must pay the rent in full by the end of the third full day after the date of service of the Demand. However, if rent is usually paid and accepted through the mail, then so long as the resident gets the rent check into the U. S. Mail (i.e.: post-marked) by the end of the third day, it can be deemed by the court to have been timely paid even if the landlord doesn’t actually receive it until after the third day.

May 2016 Legal Tidbit

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Question: What rights does a landlord have when a domestic violence incident occurs in the rental unit?

Answer: If the victim is a resident, the victim may move out and terminate the lease as to her upon tender to the landlord of a police report or civil protection order. The victim’s liability for future rent will be one month after move-out. The victim may not be evicted based upon the incident.

The perpetrator may be evicted if the incident involved and he was charged with a violent or drug related felony. If a crime-free lease addendum was signed with the lease, eviction may occur if a misdemeanor was charged. The perpetrator remains liable under the lease, but may have the right to continue to live there.

April 2016 Legal Tidbit

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Question: What is Source of Income Discrimination?

Answer: Source of income is defined as legal, verifiable income paid directly to the tenant or his or her representative (such as a payee). Some examples of income types are Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veteran’s benefits, General Assistance, child support, spousal support, unemployment insurance, pensions, and wages.

Landlords may not refuse to deal with a prospective tenant, or deal with them differently, because their income includes sources other than wages (such as those listed above). Additionally, it can also be illegal to have a preference for one occupation over another.

In Colorado, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers are not considered tenant income, and therefore a housing provider is not required to accept a voucher. Housing providers are also not required to treat other rental assistance programs as income.

March 2016 Legal Tidbit

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Question: What is a Notice to Quit for Repeat Violation used for?

Answer: This notice is used to notify a tenant that his right to remain in possession of the rental unit will end in three days because the tenant violated one or more non-monetary terms of his lease in the past, was served with a Demand for Compliance or Possession, and has committed the same lease violation again.

February 2016 Legal Tidbit

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Question: Why do I need a writ of restitution?

Answer:

The writ of restitution is the court’s order to the sheriff to remove your tenant from the rental unit. There is no self-help eviction in Colorado. The county sheriff is the only person authorized by law to perform the physical eviction of a tenant. The sheriff will only act if directed to do so by the court.

January 2016 Legal Tidbit

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Question: Can a tenant smoke in the rental unit?

Answer: Generally, yes, and that includes marijuana. You can prohibit any smoking of any kind if it’s in the lease. You can prohibit marijuana use (including consumption of edibles and plant cultivation) in your lease or by having a marijuana addendum signed. It is recommended that marijuana possession, use and cultivation be prohibited.

December's Legal Tidbit

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Do legal notices need to be signed?

Answer: Yes, twice. The notice must bear an actual signature (not a printed name) at the end of the notice portion directed to the tenant, and once the notice is served or posted on the door, the Certificate of Service at the bottom of the page must also bear an actual signature of the person who served it.

Reminder: If you’d like to check the status of your pending eviction cases online, we have a web portal you can use to do that. Contact our office for more information.

We are happy to answer your questions; no charge! (303) 758-0500.

Is One Of Your Tenants Running a Bed and Breakfast?

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There is a new movement afoot. My son recently returned from an extended overseas trip. He was on a limited budget so he took advantage of cheap accommodations in many of the places that he visited. One method he used was to find a place to stay by searching on the internet website Couchsurfing.com. People who have an extra place to sleep list their home on the website and offer the bed to travelers for a reasonable fee. My son got to stay in several decent places for far less than he would have had to pay in a hotel or even in a youth hostel. Sometimes he even got breakfast. He particularly enjoyed meeting his local hosts in some of the world’s interesting cities.

If you need a car but don’t have one, you can now go online and rent a car from a car owner for less than it would cost to obtain a rental from a car rental company. One can rent temporary access to and use of a computer, power tools, a motorcycle, a parking space, you name it. The concept is that many of us own assets that we are not using all of the time, so there is available excess capacity. Others need those assets, but usually not for long, and are willing to pay the owner for their use. It is cheaper for them to pay to share the use of the item than renting or buying the item that is needed.

Several months ago an on-site manager client called me and said that she found that one of her tenants was advertising his rental residence as a bed and breakfast. The tenant was offering his extra bedroom to anyone needing a place to stay and the tenant made breakfast for his “guests,” too. As a result, there were “visitors” coming and going at odd hours and unfamiliar cars parked in the lot. The tenant was earning upwards of $100 per night from his customers.

Most residential leases contain language prohibiting the tenant from operating a business out of the rented residence. The landlord may be called upon to prove that the tenant is operating a business. The mere fact that the tenant is advertising on the internet as a bed and breakfast is not, itself, a lease violation if the tenant never has anyone coming to stay at the apartment. But it is evidence that the tenant is trying to run a business. Assuming that the landlord has sufficient evidence to prove that the tenant is running a business in the rental unit, is this something that the landlord should do anything about?

If yours is a secure multi-unit property, your tenant is providing keys to strangers who have not met the landlord’s residency qualifications. These strangers are being given access to normally secure common areas. Neighboring tenants might be rightfully concerned about the impact of these comings and goings on the level of security in the community. What if one of these “guests” commits a crime at the property and another tenant is the victim?

If the “guests” are present and the resident is not, a guest might make requests of the management or maintenance staff. Do you have a duty to respond?

The “guests” may seek to use amenities without being accompanied by the resident. Are you comfortable with these “guests” using the pool or the gym? What if one of the “guests” slips and falls at the pool or, the “guest’s” vehicle is damaged while in your parking lot. Does your insurance policy cover these damages?

Does the “guest’s” status as a paying customer of your tenant change their status as a guest or invitee on your rental premises?

Landlords are right to be concerned about these issues. There may or may not be evidence sufficient for you to take action to evict your tenant. However, make sure that your lease does several things:

  1. makes your listed tenant responsible both for the behavior of his guests and invitees and liable to them in the event that they sustain an injury or suffer some kind of damage;
  2. requires, or at least suggests, that your tenant obtain renter’s insurance which covers damage, injury or losses due to crimes committed by anyone that your tenant permitted on the premises;
  3. prohibits your tenant from operating a business from the residence.

If you think that you have a problem like this, or if you have questions on this or any other issue, call KlassLawGroup.

November's Legal Tidbit

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Why does scheduling the sheriff to execute the writ of restitution take so long?

Answer: Evictions run on a monthly cycle: typically rent is due on the first, late on the fifth; three day notices are posted on the sixth to expire on the ninth; evictions are started on the tenth with the initial court dates during the third week of the month. So, most writs are issued around the 20th and show up at the sheriff’s offices on the following day. So the sheriff’s offices see a large number of writs most of which arrive at their office in the third and fourth week of each month. They only allocate a certain budget for evictions and have limited manpower to perform them. Each eviction by the sheriff takes about an hour.

Reminder: If you’d like to check the status of your pending eviction cases online, we have a web portal you can use to do that. Contact our office for more information.

We are happy to answer your questions; no charge! (303) 758-0500.

2109 S. Wadsworth Blvd | Suite 202 | Lakewood, CO 80227
Phone: (303) 758-0500 | Fax: (303) 969-0501

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