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How to Evict a Tenant in Colorado (7 Steps)

The process of evicting a tenant in Colorado may begin when a tenant fails to pay rent, when they fail to abide by the terms of their lease, or when a landlord wishes to terminate a month-to-month lease. The only way a landlord can terminate a lease is by going through a Forced Entry Detainer (FED) legal action to obtain a court order requiring a tenant to vacate a property.1

Laws C.R.S. 13-40-104,  § 13-40-104(d),  § 13-40-107.5(4)(a), and § 13-40-107

How to Evict

Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice

A landlord will identify the reason(s) for eviction when constructing their 10-Day Notice to Quit Form. The notice will inform the tenant of any options to cure and a timeline for doing so in order to stop the eviction process. The following events may be grounds for eviction in Colorado: 

  • Non-Payment/Non-Compliance (10-Day Notice to Quit) – A 10-day notice may be delivered when the tenant has failed to pay rent, the tenant has violated a specific term within the lease, the tenant has committed a substantial violation while in possession of the premises, such as a violent or drug-related felony, or an act on or near the property that substantially endangers a person or the property2, or if the tenant refuses to leave the premises after the end of the lease, which includes a month-to-month tenant staying after the landlord has given required notice that the lease will not be renewed.3
  • Illegal Activity (3-Day Notice) – If the tenant commits “substantial” lease-breaking offenses such as drug-related activity, violence, or property damage, the landlord may deliver this notice whereafter the tenant must leave after 3 days.
  • Month-to-Month (Varying Notice) – The Month-to-Month Termination Letter (form JDF 97) is used so a landlord can give their month-to-month tenant sufficient notice that their agreement will be terminated with the next term. Sufficient notice, in accordance with  § 13-40-107 is: 
    • 91 days for a tenancy of 1-year or longer
    • 28 days for a tenancy of 6 months to less than 1 year
    • 7 days for a tenancy of one month to fewer than six months
    • 3 days for a tenancy of one week to less than a month
    • 1 day for a tenancy of less than one week4

Step 2: Wait to Hear from the Tenant 

If your notice to quit outlined a time period in which the tenant can cure the issue for eviction, you must wait the entirety of that period for the tenant to reply. Evictions can be avoided in this period if and when the tenant communicates intent to pay the amount due in the case of missing or late rent payments, or rectify any lease violations.

Step 3: File in Court 

  • Filing Fee:
    • $85 (if claim is less than $1,000) 
    • $100 (claims $1,000 up to $15,000) 
    • $130 (claims $1,500 up to $25,000)5
  • Average Processing Time:
    • 7-14 days6
  • Where to File: District Court

The formal eviction process begins once the 10-day notice without the tenant curing the issue at hand, and then the landlord must pursue the Forced Entry Detainer (FED) at their district court. To do so, they will need to file: 

  • Complaint in Forcible Entry and Detainer (JDF 99)
  • Summons in Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer (CRCCP Form 1A)
  • Answer Under Simplified Civil Procedure (CRCCP Form 3)

Step 4: Serve the Tenant

A Court Summons can be served either by:

  • Sheriff’s Department
  • A private process server
  • A legal adult who is not a party to the action

The defendant must be served at least 7 days before the day of appearance specified in the Summons.7 If personal service isn’t successful, the service processor must post the papers on the door to the main entrance of the rental property or another conspicuous place on the property. 

Step 5: Attend Court Hearing 

The plaintiff will have the burden of proof, meaning a landlord should be prepared to present photos to prove damages, while the defendant (tenant) will have to prove payment of rent if that was the cause for eviction. 

If a landlord fails to prove their case, “the defendant shall have judgment and execution for his costs.”8

Step 6: Obtain a Writ of Restitution

If the court determines Summons were served in accordance with the law and the defendant has committed an unlawful detainer, a writ of restitution9 will be issued and shall remain in effect for forty-nine days. 

Step 7: Obtain the Property 

No sooner than 48 hours after the writ of restitution has been granted, it will be executed during daylight hours with the assistance of a sheriff, undersheriff, or deputy sheriff.10 This is to ensure that any belongings of the tenant aren’t damaged while being removed from the property, protecting the landlord from any civil liabilities in the matter.11

Evictions in Colorado: Video


  1. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/Attachment%2010-Landord%20and%20Tenant%20Rights.pdf
  2. § 13-40-107.5
  3. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/Attachment%2010-Landord%20and%20Tenant%20Rights.pdf
  4. § 13-40-107
  5. https://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/PDF/JDF%20100-%20FED%20Instructions.pdf
  6. § 13-40-111
  7. § 13-40-112
  8. § 13-40-116
  9. § 13-40-115
  10. § 13-40-122
  11. § 13-40-122