This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information.
This page was last updated on Jan 8th, 2024. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.
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Problem with your Landlord?
Are you having problems with your landlord?
Behind on Rent?
Find local programs that can help you with housing costs, or work out a plan with your landlord.
Received a Warning Notice about Eviction?
Have you received a warning notice from your landlord, like a ‘Notice to Quit’ or a ‘Notice to Leave’? Find what options you have.
Facing an Eviction Lawsuit?
Has your landlord filed an eviction lawsuit in court? Have you received a Summons and Complaint? Learn what rights and options you have.
Emergency Protections during COVID
Do renters have protections against eviction during the Covid-19 emergency?
Tell your landlord about any repairs needed, particularly if they affect your health and safety.
You should write or email your landlord to make the repairs as soon as possible. You can also call them, but be sure to also send a written communication at the same time.
Emergency repairs could be for problems with:
Running water or hot water
Stove, oven, or refrigerator
Missing doors, locks, or windows
If your landlord doesn't make the repairs promptly, send them a written letter or email about the need for emergency repairs (and keep a copy of this communication).
You may be able to break your lease if you can come to an agreement with your landlord.
You can talk to your landlord to see if they will agree to let you leave early. If they agree, be sure to get the agreement in writing.
Also, you can review your lease. It may have a part that lets you end the lease early in times of financial difficulty. If your lease has this kind of part, you might be able to break the lease, in some cases penalty-free.
Contact a legal help organization to help defend yourself.
It is illegal in Colorado for your landlord to evict you without first going to court and getting an eviction order. To remove you from your home, a landlord must file an eviction lawsuit against you, win the case, and get an eviction order from the court.
If anyone other than a sheriff is trying to remove you from your home, you can call the police to protect yourself.
Legal aid groups might be able to provide you with full representation, or other legal organizations can give you information or brief advice.
Find legal help to protect your rights.
If you are behind on rent, you can get help from your local Rental Assistance program. This is a government service to help people who owe rent or utility bills.
Especially if you are behind on rent because of COVID-19 hardships, your local Rental Assistance (or Rent Relief) program can help you.
Find your local Rental Assistance program at your Get Help page here.
Local governments set the rules about who is eligible for rent relief. Most programs focus on people who have suffered COVID-19 hardships. You can talk to your local Rental Assistance program to learn their eligibility rules.
You may have to show your household income, or if you are on other benefits programs like SNAP.
You may also have to show that you are at risk of homelessness or eviction if you don't get rental assistance. Check with your local Rental Assistance program to see if you are eligible.
Many local Rental Assistance programs are open to everyone, regardless of immigration status. Many programs do not even ask about immigration status.
Check with your local Rental Assistance program to make sure about eligibility rules and immigration.
Most Rental Assistance programs let landlords apply. Either a renter or a landlord can start the application.
The landlord will have to fill in as much information they have about the amount of money needed, and the eligibility for the program. The tenant may have to fill in the rest of the information. Check with your local Rental Assistance program about the steps to follow to apply for rent relief.
You do not have to leave your home yet. If your landlord or anyone else forces you to leave your home without a sheriff present, they are acting illegally and you should consider calling your local sheriff.
In Colorado, your landlord must give you an official notice that they may bring you to court to evict you for not paying your rent (or other reasons). The notice should give you time to either pay your rent or prepare defenses against eviction.
This official notice must follow some rules to be valid. If it doesn't follow these rules, then you have a basis to challenge it and stop the eviction.
These are the Colorado requirements for an eviction notice:
In Colorado, you have a minimum of 10 days between your landlord giving you a notice and them filing a lawsuit against you in court to evict you. This 10-day period begins on the date listed on the notice, not necessarily the date you received it.
The notice should tell you how many days the landlord is giving you. If they are giving you less than 10 days, then you may be able to challenge it as illegal.
Reach out for legal help if you think the notice isn't giving you the required time to make your payment. Find local legal help in Colorado here.
A verbal conversation doesn't count as an "eviction notice". To be legal, the notice must be written down and given to you in the correct way.
Reach out for legal help if your landlord is trying to make you leave without going through the court process. This is illegal and a lawyer may be able to help you protect yourself.
If the eviction notice has not expired, you likely still have time to reach out for rental assistance, and stop the eviction from moving forward.
If the notice is for nonpayment alone and you pay the amount demanded in the notice before the expiration of the notice, the landlord is obligated to accept it and cannot file an eviction case against you based on that notice. (However, that does not prevent the landlord from simply sending a new notice and filing for eviction if that notice expires without payment.)
Be sure to let the local group know that you have received an eviction notice and what its deadline is. They may be able to help you pay the rent you owe, or work with your landlord to reduce the amount or put you on a payment plan.
If you do not leave (or 'quit') your home by the date listed on the initial eviction notice, a sheriff will NOT be there the next day to lock you out. The case must first go through the full court process before the landlord can legally evict you.
Landlords cannot physically remove you, touch your personal property, change the locks, or cut off your utilities without a sheriff present. You do not have to leave your home until you have been brought to court, and a judge has ordered that your landlord can make you leave.
However, if you are still in the property when the notice expires, and a judge later determines that the notice was proper, then you will have committed a “forcible entry and detainer” by staying there beyond the expiration of the notice, which may expose you to further legal liability, though this is rare. It is therefore important to contact an attorney as soon as possible once you get eviction paperwork.
After the date on the eviction notice passes, your landlord may file an eviction lawsuit in court against you. You will be able to go to court and present defenses to protect yourself.
You can come to an agreement out of court, but you should still go to court to make sure your case is closed, if a case was filed against you. You can work with your landlord to work out an agreement before the date of the court hearing. This might be a payment plan or other agreement on what needs to happen for you to stay in your home.
Be sure to get this agreement in writing, so that you can prove it exists and that your landlord follows through on it. The best way to ensure that an agreement is enforceable is to submit it to the court as a “so-ordered stipulation,” meaning it becomes an order of the court. Although having an attorney for this is not required, it is a good idea to have an attorney look over or help draft the agreement.
Also, you should still go to court for your hearing date, to make sure the court knows about the agreement and closes the lawsuit. If you do not go to court, the lawsuit might still continue and the judge might rule that the landlord can remove you. Go to court yourself to make sure this doesn't happen (unless an attorney you are working with or the court says you don’t need to).
You can reach out for legal help to get assistance in negotiating an agreement with your landlord and making sure this agreement is being followed. Find local help here.
In Colorado, you are required to respond to the eviction lawsuit, if you want to avoid the eviction.
The summons and complaint you receive from the landlord will tell you by what date you need to file your official answer in court. Typically you will have only 7 days after you receive the Summons and Complaint to get a written answer back to the court, and often the deadline is 8:00 AM.
If the court does not receive your official answer by the 7th day, you may lose your case and the judge may give the landlord permission to remove you from your home.
It is a very good idea to get legal help with your answer, because saying the wrong thing or leaving out something important may cause you to lose your case.
Reach out to legal help to learn what your rights and defenses are in your eviction case. These organizations can help you deal with this lawsuit. Find local legal help in Colorado here.
You should make sure that the landlord properly 'served' you with the lawsuit.
If they didn't give it to you in the correct way, you can challenge the eviction lawsuit, though if the landlord has lied about when they sued you, that is often difficult to prove in court, and even if you prove the landlord didn’t serve you properly, the judge may decide to overlook their error if you find your way to court on time.
In Colorado, a landlord must follow certain rules to let you know about the lawsuit:
Colorado's eviction moratorium expired, but the Governor has ordered that landlords of federally-subsidized housing must give tenants a longer notice period before filing for eviction. Earlier, the governor's Executive Order had prohibited the filing and enforcement of evictions through June 13, 2020. The protection has now expired. The order also prohibited landlords from charging late fees for rent not paid during the emergency.
The Governor issued a new rule that landlords whose homes are federally-subsidized must provide tenants with 30 days' notice before they can file an eviction lawsuit against them for not paying their rent (rather than the usual 10 days' notice).
Some Colorado renters were protected by the national CDC eviction moratorium. This moratorium expired on August 26, 2021.
Yes, utility companies may try to shut off your utilities since the emergency period ended in Colorado. Earlier, the Colorado Governor's Executive Order prohibited utility companies from shutting off services during the emergency.
Renters must still pay their utility bills. If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help.
Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.
Colorado courts are hearing eviction cases as of October 2020.
Hearings may be done via teleconference or they may be in-person. Check with your court about how the hearing will be held.
Yes, Colorado renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.
You were protected through June 13, 2020 from eviction for nonpayment of rent, but now this Colorado protection has expired. Your landlord cannot charge you late fees for rent that you did not pay during the emergency period.
The Colorado governor established a special fund to provide rental assistance to low-income households impacted by COVID-19. Call 2-1-1 or go to the 211 website to apply.
If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:
Your landlord can try to evict you since the emergency period has expired.
If the home is federally subsidized, landlords must give renters 30 days' notice before filing an eviction lawsuit based on nonpayment of rent.
If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.
The protections mean that in Colorado, after June 13, 2020:
Find legal groups that can help you with housing problems, landlords, roommates, Section 8, domestic violence, discrimination, and more.Find Legal Services
Find groups that can help you pay the rent, cover utility costs, and get other housing-related assistance.Find Financial Help
Find help with other problems, like domestic violence, health coverage, food benefits, mental health, and other issues.Find Other Services
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