In Colorado, the written notice to vacate is called an Eviction Notice. Determining who must be served, the necessary form to use and how much time must be given for the resident to move varies based on the reason for the action and length of tenancy. A tenant whose rent is in arrears is required by law to receive only a 3-day notice, and a tenant whose lease has a set expiration date is not entitled to any notice.
Pay or Quit
If you have initiated the eviction process as the result of rent arrears, use form JDF 101 - Demand for Compliance or Right to Possession Notice. You must detail the lease covenant(s) being violated, as well as the exact dollar amount in arrears and the dates for which the rent is unpaid. You may serve the tenant by handing the notice to them or any resident of the dwelling that is at least 15 years old, or by conspicuous posting on the residence. Under Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) 13-40-104, this form creates a curable situation in which full payment of the amount in default constitutes compliance, and if full payment is made then no further action for non-payment of rent may be pursued.
Restore My Property
Serve a Notice to Quit if your primary goal is to regain possession of the dwelling. Like the pay or quit, a tenant against whom you allege a violation like property damage, creating endangerment or drug sales typically is entitled only to a 3-day notice before a lawsuit for law enforcement assisted possession can be filed. You need only cite the property address and reason for termination to complete the form; however, C.R.S. 13-40-107 mandates which violations are considered egregious and require only a 3-day notice and which notices will be determined by the tenant’s length of residency. For example, a tenant who has occupied the dwelling for more than six months is entitled to a 28-day notice, but if their tenancy exceeds one year, they are entitled to 91 days notice. This Colorado notice to vacate law is complicated; if you are not sure you understand and are in compliance with C.R.S. 13-40-107, consider hiring an attorney.
Don’t Cut Corners
No matter which Colorado notice to vacate you decide to use, adhere to the laws that apply to your choice. Failure to comply with procedural requirements in posting the notice or letting it fully expire often will result in your case being dismissed and forfeiture of all fees paid. This typically takes the form of a dismissal without prejudice, which means you are not restricted from re-filing. However, you cannot fix this problem by simply amending the complaint. You will have to begin the process again by correctly delivering and complying with the terms of the appropriate notice.
If the only cause of action is late rent and you fail to issue a Demand for Compliance or Right to Possession Notice, or file your lawsuit before the notice is fully expired, your case will be dismissed. Your money will be gone; your tenant won’t be.