One of my roommates cannot pay their rent. The landlord is threatening to evict. Will my landlord just evict my roommate, or can all of us be evicted?
Joint and several liability means that all the tenants on a lease are responsible for all the rent and all of the damages, regardless of how they divide rent and other financial issues and responsibilities among themselves. If one person does not pay the rent, the other tenants are liable for that share of the rent, or they are all subject to eviction for non-payment of rent. It is up to the tenants, not the landlord, to collect from the non-paying tenant. However, how eviction is handled is up to the individual landlord, as long as they comply with Colorado State Statutes and Boulder Municipal Codes, and the landlord may allow some alternative solution to the problem, such as replacing the delinquent tenant with a new tenant on the lease. A landlord may also choose to evict one tenant on a lease. Tenants cannot evict other tenants (although in sublease situations, they may be able to--an attorney should be consulted in this situation).
Can my landlord just kick me out of my house?
If you have violated a term of your lease there is a process that the landlord has to go through to have their tenants evicted. They first must post a three day notice (see links below for forms) on the tenant's door stating that they must comply with the lease terms or move out. The tenant then has three days to comply with the term of the lease the landlord noted ("fix" the problem), or leave the premises. If the tenant remains but does not fix the problem, then the landlord may file for eviction in court (officially known as Forced Entry and Detainer, or FED Court). If the tenant has received repeated three day notices, or if the lease violation is extremely serious, the landlord does not have to give the tenant an opportunity to fix the problem, and they can proceed with eviction if the tenant has not voluntarily vacated the property in three days.
If the landlord files an eviction suit, the tenant will be notified of the court date and then both tenant and landlord will go court to provide their sides of the story. The judge will then rule for or against eviction or, if more information is needed to make a decision, they will set a hearing date, generally within one week's time. If the judge rules for eviction, the tenant must vacate the premises within 48 hours. If the tenant does not vacate within 48 hours, the landlord can call the sheriff and conduct a supervised move-out of the tenant's belongings and physically remove the tenant from the property.
It is illegal for a landlord to remove a tenant or lock them out of their property without first going through the eviction process.
Any party who fails to appear for their hearing in eviction court will likely receive a ruling against them. Tenants should make every effort to come to their court date as they will often be given a chance to negotiate a better outcome with the landlord or the landlord's representative.
Is getting evicted a good way of getting out of a lease early?
No. If you get evicted, the eviction goes on your record, will appear in background checks and will most likely make it difficult for you to rent in the future. In addition, eviction may not release the tenant from the terms of the lease. The tenant may still be responsible for paying rent to the landlord until the landlord can re-rent the property.