What Is a Substantial Violation of a Lease and Can I Evict My Tenant if They Commit One?

Colorado Law defines a Substantial Violation of a Lease as any act or series of acts by the tenant or any guest or invitee of the tenant that occurs on or near the premises and endangers the person or willfully and substantially endangers the property of the landlord, any co-tenant, or any person living on or near the premises, occurs on or near the premises and constitutes a violent or drug-related felony, or occurs on the tenant's leased premises or the common areas, hallway, grounds, parking lot, or other area located in the same building or complex in which the tenant's leased premises are located and constitutes a criminal act in violation of federal or state law.

Essentially, a substantial violation of the lease is an implied term that exists for every lease within the state that says anyone committing crimes or allowing crimes to be committed on their leased property has breached their lease.

Tenants who commit a substantial violation are subject to immediate eviction.  Landlords who are able to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a substantial violation was committed, may evict the tenant.  Landlords must serve a Notice to Quit on the tenant that complies with the service and content requirements of Colorado’s Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer statutes on Notices to Quit.  The Notice to Quit served by the landlord or his attorney must state the grounds for the termination and termination of the lease is effective three days after service. 

Landlords wishing to evict a tenant for a substantial violation should consult with an attorney before going through the process.  Eviction for a substantial violation requires proof by a preponderance of the evidence.  While preponderance of the evidence is a less strict standard than the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, landlords should nevertheless consult with legal counsel to ensure they have the evidence that they need in order to win an eviction proceeding. 

If you have a tenant that has committed a substantial violation on your premises, consult with Colorado Lease Lawyer Nathaniel Gilbert before starting the process on your own.  Nathaniel Gilbert has handled evictions in Colorado for residential, commercial, and agricultural properties on both the tenant and landlord sides and can help you with your property eviction process.