Ending a Tenant’s Rental

Filed Under (Eviction, Leases and Landlord Tenant) on 03-28-2013

Colorado Leases, Rental Termination, Ending a Lease How Landlord’s Can Terminate a Tenancy in Three Different Situations

Excerpt from Landlord and Tenant Guide to Colorado Leases and Evictions

Your tenant has done nothing wrong; you simply want to end their occupancy of the premises for one reason or another. It is important to give the tenant proper notice at the appropriate time. Three basic types of termination are most commonly used. The law specifies how much notice and what kind of notice you must give a tenant based on the situation.

1.    End of Term Lease: The tenant’s one year lease has expired and the tenant has failed to move out, and the landlord wants the tenant out immediately.

This is the simplest type of termination. It is well-settled law that no pre-litigation notice (Notice to Vacate) is required to be given to a tenant when the lease ends. If the tenant fails to leave, an eviction proceeding may be started immediately.

2.    Holdover Tenancy: If a tenant remains on the leased premises after the expiration of a lease and the landlord continues to treat the tenant as a tenant (i.e., continue to collect rent), a holdover tenancy has been created.

The period of a holdover tenancy depends on a number of factors. If the lease specifies the period created by a holdover situation, you must follow the lease. If the lease does not discuss a holdover situation then the term of the original lease is important, i.e., if the original lease is for one year or more, the period is a year-to-year tenancy. And if no other information is available, the period is determined by when periodic rental payments are made, e.g., monthly weekly, yearly.

In a holdover situation, once it is determined which period is applicable, you must then proceed under the law governing periodic tenancy (#3).  Please note that there is some confusion about whether this creates “terms certain”, in which case no pre-litigation Notice to Vacate would be necessary. The safe way to go would be to treat all holdovers as periodic tenancies and provide the requisite Notice.

3.    Periodic Tenancy: The landlord and tenant have an oral lease based on an agreed periodic tenancy (e.g., week to week; month to month; year to year); the landlord wants the tenant out at the end of a specific period.

A Notice to Quit and Vacate must be served upon a tenant to terminate a periodic tenancy. It is very important that this Notice be properly timed. Timing of the notice depends on the period involved. The most typical tenancy periods and their respective notice requirements are listed below:

Year-to-year:         91 days
Month-to-Month:    7 days
Week-to-Week:      3 days

The notice must be served so that its deadline for termination coincides with the end of the applicable period. So, if you’re working with a month-to-month time period, you must give the tenant at least 7 days notice. If you’re even one day late giving notice, then the tenant automatically has one more month of tenancy. While a mistake by the landlord in the timing of notice in a month-to month situation may only delay termination by one more month, a miscalculation involving a year-to-year tenancy may be disastrous.

For more information on termination of tenancy and to see examples of multiple tenancy situations, check out the “Landlord and Tenant Guide to Colorado Leases and Evictions” by Victor M. Grimm, Esq. and Denise E. Boehler, Certified Paralegal.