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February 2018 Legal Tidbit

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Question: My tenant’s lease is expiring and I want him to move. What should I do?

Answer: When a landlord accepts rent for any time period after lease expiration, the lease becomes a month-to-month tenancy. To avoid that, immediately after expiration you may evict. Since the tenant should know that his lease is expiring and his right to occupy the rental premises is ending, no legal notice is required prior to starting eviction proceedings. Do not accept any rent for any time after the expiration date. It is recommended (but not legally required) that you send the tenant a written notice 30 to 60 days prior to lease expiration telling him that you have elected not to renew his lease and that he will be expected to surrender the rental premises and his keys to you on or by the lease expiration date.

October 2017 Legal Tidbit

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Question: Is my tenant liable to pay for the attorney’s fees I incur to evict him?

Answer: The Colorado eviction law does not provide for the award of statutory attorney’ fees. However, your written lease may have language saying that the prevailing party in any court action will be entitled to recover his attorney’s fees. Note, that if you start the eviction and accept rent from the tenant without collecting those fees with the understanding that you will dismiss the eviction case, then you have not prevailed and are not entitled to the attorney’s fees. Since you are not legally required to accept rent after expiration of the three day, after the three day period, you can require that the tenant pay the past due rent and any attorney’s fees regardless of the terms of the lease as a condition to your acceptance of rent, dismissal of the eviction case, and agreement to allow the tenant to stay.

December's Legal Tidbit

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Question: What is the easiest way to get a tenant to vacate?

Answer: A voluntary surrender by the tenant is easiest and least expensive for the landlord. If they don’t want to leave, you can offer “cash for keys,” but the tenant shouldn’t get the money until they are completely out and have turned in keys. If you must evict, then the simplest case is where the lease has expired or the tenant is month-to-month and has been served with a Notice to Quit. The next easiest case to win is an eviction based upon non-payment of rent. Evictions based upon non-monetary lease violations (i.e.: unauthorized occupant, unauthorized pet, noise disturbances, etc.) can be more challenging to prove in court.

August's Legal Tidbit

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Question: I think my tenant has moved. Do I have to post a notice or do an eviction?

Answer: Generally, no. However, there is no “self-help” eviction in Colorado. So, make sure that the tenant has said or done something which indicates an intent to vacate (surrender of keys is the best indicator of intent to vacate). If in any doubt, serve a notice and do the eviction because it will provide civil and criminal immunity from liability to the landlord if the tenant comes back and claims damages for the loss of his stuff.

June's Legal Tidbit

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My tenant moved, but has left personal property behind. Can I throw the stuff out?

Answer: Generally, no, but it depends upon what was left behind. Items that are clearly trash (food, newspapers, open toiletries) may be discarded. In regard to any property that the tenant may view as having value (including personal papers, photos, etc.), it should not be assumed that it is trash or abandoned. Colorado law requires fifteen days’ certified mail notice to the tenant before property left behind may be assumed to be abandoned. Take photos of everything left behind before taking any action to re-take possession of the rental unit. If you are in any doubt about whether items or the unit was abandoned, going through the eviction process provides the landlord with immunity from liability for loss of the tenant’s property.

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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