A contentious eviction can be a costly process when factoring money you’ve already been owed by a tenant, in addition to the costs and fees of an eviction. While your friendly neighborhood Denver Eviction Lawyer does everything to keep fees for landlords as low as economics allow, the eviction nonetheless has costs associated with it.
Recovering these fees is a manner of statute. When you file your complaint with the court, you should ask for all reasonable attorney’s fees as part of your damages. Requesting this goes right alongside a reference to the statute providing for fees in the case of an eviction:
C.R.S. 13-40-123. Damages
- The prevailing party in any action brought under the provisions of this article is entitled to recover damages, reasonable attorney fees, and costs of suit.
This statute covers the fact that the winner of the suit (the prevailing party) is entitled to recover, in addition to damages, the reasonable attorney fees and costs associated with that suit. Attorney fees and costs are recovered as part of an additional portion of a suit in a motion for such fees. Unfortunately, most evictions are against insolvent or those tenants that are unable to pay rent in the first place. While you may recover a judgment against these individuals, it is likely that they will not end up paying the judgment and you are still responsible for paying your own attorney.
For residential properties, there is a special exception to the statute we just mentioned. For residential properties, the prevailing party can recover attorney fees and costs ONLY when the lease specifies that the prevailing party in any suit based on that lease agreement is entitled to do so. Landlords looking to draft residential leases face a dilemma: Include the provision and be willing to pay the other side’s fees if you lose a case based on the lease, or do not include the provision and risk not being able to recover the fees if you win such a case. Note that this exception applies ONLY to residential leases, and NOT to any commercial, agricultural, or recreational leases.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your lease agreement, an eviction, or any other landlord tenant issue, consult with a qualified attorney who can help to answer your questions and decide the best way forward with your matter. Denver Landlord Tenant Lawyer Nathaniel Gilbert has helped tenants and landlords with evictions in commercial, residential, agriculture and recreational hunting leases, and can help you decide what fits best for your situation.