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The Eviction Process FAQ & Timeline

Everything Forms - State of Colorado Evictions (FED)

Everything FAQ - Colorado House, Apartment or Condo Evictions

May 2016 - What is an FED or Eviction Action?

A Forcible Entry & Detainer (FED), otherwise known as an eviction action is a process of restoring possession of the rental premises back to the rightful owner. The procedure for termination of a residential tenancy is regulated by the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act, C.R.S. sections 13-40-101 et seq.  Colorado law requires residential landlords to follow a specific process in order to evict a tenant.  A landlord must engage the judicial process to evict a tenant and the landlord is prohibited from self-eviction outside the judicial process.  The law also prohibits the landlord from terminating utilities, threatening the tenant, taking tenant’s belongings and from retaliating against tenants.   

How does the eviction process work?

Generally, the landlord can evict you as a tenant if you fail to pay rent, remain in the rental premises after the end of the lease period or you’ve  broken a condition of the lease agreement.  If you do not pay your rent as agreed or if you breach a condition of the lease, the landlord may send you a 3-day notice or demand for compliance or possession.  If the problem is fixed within 3 days, you can stop any further eviction action.  If you fail to cure within the 3 days, the landlord may commence an eviction or FED action.  If you receive a Notice To Quit, that means that you have 3 days to vacate the premises.  You will not have the ability to fix the problem.  If you have not vacated the rental property within the 3-day period, the landlord may begin eviction proceedings. 

What do I do if the landlord files an eviction action?

Once the landlord commences an eviction action, s/he must serve you with a Summons, Complaint in Forcible Entry & Detainer and a blank copy of an Answer form.  The service may be by personal service, mail or posting.  The Summons will contain the date, time & place for you to appear to answer the complaint.  You must answer or appear in court.  Failure to do so will result in a default judgment entered against you and an eviction will be placed on your record. In the Answer, the tenant must indicate whether s/he elects a court or jury trial for which s/he must pay a fee.  Tenant must assert his/her defense(s) and counterclaims.  Tenant must pay a filing fee and file an answer on or before the time of the return date or face a default judgment. If tenant claims the landlord breached the warranty of habitability, tenant must deposit with the court the rent that is due less any costs associated with the landlord’s breach. An affidavit is also required to support the amount needed by the tenant to deposit.

Some jurisdictions require mediation before a trial can be had.  If tenant reaches an agreement with landlord or his attorney, s/he should be sure they understand exactly to what agreement they reached.  The agreement or stipulation should be provided to the court before tenant leaves the courtroom.  If you do not reach an agreement, the case will proceed to hearing.  It could be held on the same date listed on the Summons, but most usually a separate date is set to hear the matter.


  • Day 1: Tenant served with 3-day notice Demand for Compliance (demand to comply or move)

  • Day 4: Tenant must have paid the delinquent rent or complied with the lease breach or move.

  • Day 5: Landlord may file FED complaint if tenant does not move & return date set.

  • Day 12-19:  Tenant may file answer to complaint before return date or appear at return date.  Otherwise,

  • Day 14-21:  Sheriff may execute on writ of restitution 48 hrs. after default judgment is entered.

  • Day 12-24:  If answer is filed, trial may be scheduled within 5 business days of the return date.

  • Day 14-26:  Sheriff can execute writ of restitution 48 hrs. after judgment is entered at trial.  Date depends on appointment scheduled between landlord & sheriff.

Contact our Tenant Rights, Eviction Defense, Fair Housing, Lawyer/Attorney for Denver, Aurora, Littleton, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Thornton, & Commerce City, Colorado today.


The information provided is for information purposes only and shall neither be considered to guarantee availability of housing for sale or rent nor shall it be construed to be legal advice or a formation of a lawyer/client relationship. For legal assistance, please seek formal legal advice from a retained attorney. Colorado Affordable Legal Services, LLC is an equal opportunity employer. 

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