It's frustrating when roommates don't work out, especially if a roommate refuses to pay rent, damages the building, or doesn't even have a lease agreement. Colorado's Landlord and Tenant Act provides provisions for legal eviction, and there are some situations that allow you to evict the roommate without getting the landlord involved.
A roommate who is on the landlord's lease requires the landlord to evict him. A roommate who has a written or verbal agreement, or no agreement at all, with you is considered your subtenant. A subtenant has specific obligations under the Colorado Landlord and Tenant Act to his landlord, which in this case would be you. A subtenant who violates the lease agreement, does not pay rent or is at the end of a lease term can be evicted by the master tenant.
Colorado requires a landlord to have a legal reason to end the tenancy. The legal reasons are provided in Colorado's Landlord and Tenant Act. The only way a landlord evicts a tenant without cause is at the end of a lease term. In the case of a roommate without a written agreement, this means a month-to-month lease term. Unpaid rent and breach of a lease term are the other valid eviction reasons.
Legal Notice Requirements
There is a notice requirement to fulfill before bringing the eviction case to court. You must provide the roommate with a written notice explaining the eviction cause, any way to cure the eviction cause, and the end of tenancy. The written notice for unpaid rent and lease violations is called Demand For Compliance Or Possession, and gives the roommate three days to pay rent or leave.
Verbal or written month-to-month leases require a notice of termination. This notice must be delivered ten days before the end of the lease term. A written lease agreement for a longer lease term requires a 30-day notice of termination. Colorado requires both types of notices to be posted on the property in a prominent location to be considered legally served to the roommate.
Forcible Entry and Detainer
Filing an eviction complaint is the next step in the eviction procedure. If the roommate refuses to move out, you'll need to go to the Justice Court that controls the jurisdiction of the property and file for a Forcible Entry and Detainer. This is a court order that permits a sheriff to remove the subtenant from the property. A court clerk has all the paperwork that you need. You'll also provide copies of the written lease agreement, the written notice and anything that proves the eviction cause such as unpaid rent invoices.
Serving Hearing Summons
A summons form is filed with the Detainer suit, and the hearing date is entered on it by the court clerk. Unlike the written notice, another person needs to serve the roommate with the court summons. The court can direct you to a process server, such as a private process server or a sheriff. Improper service gives the roommate grounds to contest the eviction, so timely service is essential.
Eviction Hearing and Execution
The eviction hearing has both the subtenant and master tenant presenting evidence to support his case. With the master tenant, this would include such items as lease agreements, rental invoices and anything else justifying the eviction cause. In most cases, a default judgment is granted to the landlord, due to invalid defense or no appearance by the tenant. A Writ of Restitution can be filed for if the roommate refuses to leave after judgment is granted. This permits a sheriff to go on the property to remove the roommate from the rental unit.