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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 violated 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 serve you with a 3-, 5- or 10-day notice or demand for compliance or possession. If the problem is fixed within the specified time, you can stop any further eviction action. If you fail to cure within the specified time, the landlord may commence an eviction or FED action. If you receive a Notice To Quit, that means that you will not have the ability to fix the problem and the landlord is seeking to terminate the lease. If you have not vacated the rental property within the time period stated, 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 may be required to 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. A default judgment will be entered against the tenant if s/he fails to file a response when it’s due.
The court should set a hearing date within seven days after the answer is filed. The tenant should seek legal assistance before trial to see if an agreement can be reached or to get assistance with trial. The sheriff must wait ten days before executing on a judgment entered against the tenant.
The information provided is for information purposes only and shall neither be considered to guarantee of the provision of legal services, 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 is an equal opportunity employer.
Emergency Rent Assistance
City & County of Denver (Temporary Rental & Utility Assistance Program)
The Denver Colorado Mile High Rental Assistance Hotline
(303) 561-2130 (English)
(303) 561-2133 (Spanish)
Homeless General Assistance
(720) 944-2174 or (720) 944-2185
Rental Assistance x2170