When I entered the property the real estate agent and myself noticed water stains from when the tenant started up the swamp cooler incorrectly and had water draining down inside the house through the vent for a period of at least a month. My insurance company notified me of it when they were taking photos of the property where water was pouring off of the roof. The tenants corrected the problem and said there was no damage, but I noticed the bottom of the doors had water stains meaning there was at least 3" of standing water on my floors coming from the vent of the swamp cooler in the ceiling. I requested access to see if the sheet rock is damaged & paint the water stains as I have listed the property for sale. I have given the tenant over 24 hours notice, but she said I can only be in there for 4 hours as she does not want me in there when she is gone. I live out of town and requested that I be able to work inside the home from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. to inspect and paint. I have also learned they were growing marajuana in my home and I cannot get rid of the odor. Can I evict the tenant for refusal to let me paint and inspect, and for growing marajuana without my permission?
It is very common for a lease to specifically say that a landlord has permission, with reasonable notice, to enter the premises for maintenance/repair work. You should review your lease to be fully aware of the exact provision and then explain those rights to the tenant.
You could also review your lease to determine whether it expressly requires the tenant to abide by all applicable federal and state laws. Your strongest grounds for evicting your tenant based on unauthorized growth in the house may be a lease provision that makes all criminal activity also a violation of the lease. Even so, you will need to give the tenant proper written notice of such lease violation and proceed carefully through the eviction process.
A few notes for a landlord who believes she needs to evict a tenant:
- Colorado has a very specific and strictly enforced procedure that a landlord must follow to evict a tenant. These eviction standards may apply to you even if you believe you had a relatively “informal” landlord-tenant relationship. By entering into a lease with a tenant, no matter how informal you believe it may be, you are assuming the burden of following the statutory requirements before evicting your tenant.
- Colorado generally does not allow a landlord to bypass this eviction process by unilaterally changing the locks, removing the tenant’s belongings, or otherwise engaging in a DIY or self-help eviction. By DIY or self-help eviction, I mean an eviction that does not follow the required judicial process. Even without the assistance of an attorney, a landlord can follow the process and obtain a court-ordered eviction complete with sheriff oversight.
- As a landlord, you should think twice before taking the shortcut of a self-help eviction (no matter how clearly justified you believe you are), because it may expose you to a wrongful eviction claim (and damages) by even the worst of tenants.
- If you want to attempt an eviction without the assistance of an attorney, you may want to begin your research with Colorado Revised Statutes Section 13-40-104, Section 13-40-106, Section 13-40-107, and Section 13-40-107.5 to understand (a) how many (one or two?) notices you need to provide to your tenant and (b) the proper timing and content of those notices. The answers to these questions largely depend on why you are seeking to evict your tenant.
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