An eviction occurs when the court enters an order for the tenant to vacate the property. This order is enforceable only by the sheriff. It allows the sheriff to monitor the removal of the tenant, their property from the premises, and keep the peace. It is never legal for a landlord to evict a tenant without a court order.
Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) numbers are provided for additional information.
The proper eviction procedures are listed below:
General eviction begins when the landlord gives a written demand to the tenant to vacate (CRS 13-40-106). The written notice must be served upon the tenant three days before the landlord can seek additional remedy in the courts, CRS 13-40-104 (1)(d)-(e).
Three days continually run and include Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. It is not possible for a waiver of the three day notice to be included in any written agreement CRS 13-40-104(1) (d). The written notice to vacate is used only when a tenant has failed to meet the obligation of the agreement (lease).
The notice must contain:
- Specific grounds for the landlords right to possession of the premises
- Description of the premises
- Specific time to deliver possession
- Signature of the landlord, agent, or attorney
- Alternative acceptance of rent payment (if applicable)
In the case of mobile home eviction from a mobile home park for nonpayment of rent, CRS 38-12-204(1) allows the tenant five days to remove the mobile home after the written notice is served or posted; there are no express requirements for the contents of this notice.
If the tenant has not vacated within three days, the landlord can file with the court a Summons and Complaint in Forcible Entry and Detainer (S.C.F.E.D.). Depending upon which court has jurisdiction and the applicable statutes, it will either be district or county court.
At the time of filing a S.C.F.E.D., the court will request a copy of the three day notice (CRS 13-40-108/110/111). Service of the S.C.F.E.D. may be completed by either the Sheriff’s Office or by a disinterested third party over the age of 18 years.
Personal service, as outlined in Rule 4 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, is required if you are seeking a money judgment along with the actual eviction. A copy of the complaint must be served with the summons (CRS 13-40-12). If no money judgment is sought, or the tenant is avoiding service, the summons and complaint may be served by posting in a conspicuous place upon the premises after diligent effort to make personal service (CRS 38-40-112).
When service by posting is complete, a copy must be sent by certified mail the next day. Both types of service must be completed at least five working days, not including Sundays and holidays, before the court day. Evidence must be produced (completion of the return of service) and supplied to the court (CRS 13-40-113).
Lock Outs or Other Acts to Remove the Tenant
The landlord may not lock the tenant out of the property, shut off utilities or forcibly move the tenant or his/her possessions out. Lock outs are not permissible, and actions of physical contact or intimidation should be immediately reported to local law enforcement. If a tenant is locked out, they should seek legal advice prior to attempting forced entry. By state law, the prevailing party is a S.C.F.E.D. suit is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred.
A Writ of Restitution is entered when judgment of the S.C.F.E.D. is awarded to the landlord. Only sheriff’s deputies can execute a Writ of Restitution. Two copies of the Writ of Restitution need to be supplied for service. The issuing court must wait 48 hours after entry of a judgment before issuing a Writ of Restitution (if they fail to do so, the sheriff will wait the 48 hours before serving or posting), CRS 13-40-122.
Time Frame of Actions
The Sheriff’s Office will post the Writ of Restitution and Notice of Judgment (when applicable) with a date approximately 48 hours from the time of posting to return for eviction. Mileage is charged for each round trip to the premises and a service fee is charged for the completion of the Writ of Restitution.
Special circumstances or concerns (including concerns about anticipated tenant’s reactions to being evicted) should be directed to the Civil Department prior to service or eviction by removal.
Sheriff’s Office Requirements
- The Sheriff’s Office requires the landlord to hire and be responsible for all necessary movers, towers, and locksmiths.
- The Landlord must be present at the scheduled time of eviction.
- If the landlord or agent fails to arrive, the eviction may be cancelled.
- The landlord is required to provide enough manpower to remove all belongings within one hour (when possible) at his/her expense. The Civil Officer will stand by to keep the peace while the premise is cleared.