Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Colorado

Abandoned rental

My grandmother has a rental home and rented it to a family member without a lease. The tenent never paid rent in a total of a year. After being served with a 3 day notice to pay or vacate, she refused. After about a month she abandoned the home, and left all her things in it. Finally we changed the locks, so she couldnt go in it any time she would like to, and for reasons having to do with drug traffic. The ex-tenent is now saying she didnt abandone it and we illigally changed locks. Can she sue us for this or get back in the home? We also tried and failed to find her for about 3 weeks.

Asked on 12/22/01, 6:25 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

L. Eric Lundgren Lundgren Law Offices, P.C.

Re: Abandoned rental

The formal eviction process, referred to as a forcible entry and detainer or "FED" proceeding, is typically used to recover possession of leased premises. FED proceedings are expedited proceedings done through County courts pursuant to the rules set forth in the Colorado statutes (��13-40-101 - 13-40-123). To be safe, you could serve a three day notice to quit and then start an FED proceeding. People often read the statutes, the county court rules and then bring FED proceedings pro se in compliance with the rules. If you desire assistance dealing with the somewhat complicated procedures, hire an attorney.

However, it seems that you are already in possession of the premises and can defend any complaints brought against you based upon abandonment of the premises. This would require a bit of research. The one caution I would give you goes to the issue of personal property. Since you have no lease agreement, and the tenant never paid rent during the year of occupancy, you may have trouble proving past due rents, you want to be careful not to mishandle the personal property or you could potentially be exposed to liability for "conversion" (wrongfully taking another's property that is lawfully in your possession for your own).

I suggest that you seek legal counsel to assist you in this matter.

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Answered on 12/28/01, 1:46 pm
Louise Aron Attorney at Law


Louise Aron

Attorney at Law

Lakewood Office:

1536 South Ingalls

Lakewood, Colorado 80232 USA

(303) 922 7687

fax (303) 922-1370

Cherry Creek Office:

300 South Jackson #100

Denver, Colorado 80209 USA

(303) 780-7339

Satellite offices:

Boulder - 4450 Arapahoe Avenue, #100

DTC - 4610 South Ulster, #150

A TOLL FREE NUMBER is available to clients outside the Denver metro area.

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LawGuru User

Dear LawGuru User:

Unfortunately I do not have expertise in this area.

I believe that you need to do a formal eviction, but I suggest that you do a search for "renters rights Colorado" or "tenants rights Colorado" on the internet. This will give you quite a bit of information about what actions on your part will invite legal action by the (former) tenant.

Thank you for using LawGuru.


Louise Aron

Attorney at Law

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Answered on 12/26/01, 12:15 pm

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