Selling A House With Tenants In Colorado

Selling A House In Colorado With Tenants Still Inside (719) 286-0053

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Table Of Contents

Landlord’s Right To Enter And A Tenant’s Right To Privacy Summary

In Colorado, there is no statewide law that specifically states when the landlord may or may enter the premises, which basically means that they are legally entitled to enter at any time. However, the landlord’s right of access to the property depends 100% on the terms of the lease.

Generally, in non-emergency situations–such as repair and maintenance–the landlord should give the tenant reasonable notice of his or her intent to enter the residence, usually 24 hours.

Usually, a 24-hour notice is considered reasonable enough to allow the tenants some time to prepare for the landlord to enter the property.


A lockout is an action taken by the landlord to deny the tenant access to the rented property.

Lockout actions such as:

  • Changing the locks
  • Installing a padlock
  • Turning off the utilities

All of these tactics are all illegal without a court order.

By placing a lock on your door the landlord has denied you access to your own personal property which is 100% illegal according to Colorado laws regarding “peaceful possession”.

Remember: If a tenant has already been illegally locked out of their property the best bet is to go down to the courthouse to report the illegal eviction and do things the legal way.

Don’t attempt to regain access to the property!

The tenant should contact an attorney or other legal representative immediately and also be prepared to contact the Colorado Springs Police Department or the El Paso County Sherriff’s Office and ask them to contact the landlord and inform them that the only legal way to perform an eviction is through a court order.


If a landlord deems it necessary to evict a tenant then they must follow specific legal procedures as outlined by the State of Colorado lawbook.

A landlord can give you a written 3-day notice to vacate the home if you have committed any of the following:

  • Failed to pay rent
  • Violated any terms of your rental agreement
  • Damaged the property extensively
  • Disturbed other residents in the community
  • Used the property for illegal purposes including but not limited to dealing drugs
  • Unauthorized pets or occupants staying in the home

Can A Landlord Sell The House While The Tenants Are Still Renting In Colorado?

The short answer is – yes.  Since the title of the home is still in the landlord’s name they are entitled to sell the home if they so choose.  However, the new owner of the property must honor the existing lease agreement until its expiration.  If there is no existing lease then the tenants must leave the property and if they refuse then the new owner will be forced to go through standard eviction proceedings. 

In a lot of cases the so-called “tenants” will actually be squatters aka trespassers who haven’t paid a dime in rent or utilities in months or even years so many homeowners are relieved to finally find out that they can simply sell the property to a cash investor without any further headaches or dealings with the problematic occupant. 

If the tenant is being aggressive and in some cases even damaging the property then the landlords do have legal recourse in certain cases so please keep that in mind as well.

Anyway, this is sounding like a whole bunch of legal jargon…

So let’s break it down into some simpler terms that the average, normal person who isn’t an expert at Colorado Real Estate Law can understand.

If you are a tenant and your landlord is thinking about selling

Yes, your landlord can sell the house out from under you to a new owner, but don’t worry because the new landlord has to honor the existing lease and cannot just kick you out of your rental property unless you don’t have a written lease.

If you only have a month-to-month or a verbal agreement with the lawful property owner, then I’m afraid you can be evicted but that still happens according to standard eviction procedures which can take up to 90 days.

If you are a landlord and you have a property with tenants and you’re thinking about selling

Yes, you can still list and sell your property but you will still benefit from having cooperation with your tenants so that you can schedule showings to sell the property. Otherwise, you will have to go the legal route and post notice that you need access to your property within 24 hours.

As long as you give the tenants 24 hours’ notice, you are legally allowed to access your own property in the State of Colorado.

Selling With Tenants Inside Does Present Some Challenges

Selling a house with tenants in Colorado can be an extremely challenging and difficult process, especially if you are in unfamiliar territory and haven’t dealt with a situation like this before.  

The main thing that you want to avoid during this situation is provoking the tenant and making them angry because then they can cause havoc for you and your property, and make it even more difficult for you to sell when it finally comes time.

You may have to offer the tenant an incentive for leaving the property in good condition once you close on the deal, in order to deter them from becoming a problem when the deal gets to the closing table.  Oftentimes, if you are willing to give the tenants a small cash settlement so they can transfer their living quarters to another property, they will be more willing to leave without causing additional problems for everyone involved.

Can lease provisions be changed at any time?

The standard lease provisions can ONLY be changed if both the landlord and tenant both agree on the terms and put it in writing with both of their signatures attached, just like the original lease.

This avoids common squabbles and disagreements.

Absent a subsequent agreement to the contrary between the landlord and tenant, all original lease terms and provisions remain binding on both the landlord and tenant throughout the entire term of the lease document.

A landlord can not terminate a lease early simply because they want to sell the property unless the lease expressly gives them the right to do that and it has been clearly stated in the original lease.

If a rental property is sold, the new owner/landlord must honor a rental contract existing at the time of the sale.

All lease terms, including the termination date and the amount of rent, must be honored by the new owner/landlord unless the new owner and the tenant both agree to make changes and put that in writing under a newly established lease agreement.

The tenant should always continue to pay their monthly rent payment to the original owner until the tenant is provided with a written notice signed by the original owner directing them to send the rent payments to another party.

When a property is sold prior to the end of a lease term, the original landlord has two alternatives regarding the tenant’s security deposit:

  1. Transfer the security deposit to the new owner and notify the tenant by mail that the transfer has been made
  2. Return the security deposit to the tenant per the terms of the lease, less any legitimate deductions

What Happens To The Lease If A Rental Property Is Foreclosed?

Generally, when a home is sold through the process of foreclosure, all tenants with a written lease, including those through subsidized government programs (i.e., Section 8 tenants), must be allowed to remain in the unit throughout the entire term of their lease UNLESS the new owner intends on living inside of the rental unit.

If the new owner intends on living inside of the rental property and there is no written lease with the existing tenants then the tenants must be given a 90-day written notice to vacate, UNLESS

  1. The tenant has an ownership interest in the rental property that is being foreclosed on
  2. The tenant is a member of the foreclosed owner’s family
  3. The tenant is not subsidized through a government program and is paying substantially less than the fair market rental value.

(See S.896 Title VII, Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act).

Discrimination Protection

Under local, state, and federal law, discrimination is prohibited on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability/handicap, familial or marital status.

Specifically, the Federal Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful for a landlord to discriminate by refusing to rent based on those characteristics or by negotiating terms, conditions, or privileges different from other tenants based on the previously mentioned characteristics. (See 42 U.SC. 3604(b))

What Happens To A Lease When A Property Is Sold?

Landlords must honor the existing lease when they take title to the property.  Normally, the new owner of the property must comply with the existing lease agreement until expiration.  If there is no written lease in place and the agreement is only verbal then the new property owner has full rights to the home and doesn’t have to honor the existing verbal agreement.

If this wasn’t the case then a lot of tenants would be able to be unfairly evicted without notice simply by having the owner sell the home out from under them.  A lot of unscrupulous landlords have been known to attempt to do this, and oftentimes will wait until the very last minute to inform the tenants that they intend on selling the home. 

Sometimes, they don’t even inform them at all and the tenants end up finding out once there is a for sale sign out front and the realtor is knocking on the door asking to show the property.  

Can A Tenant Refuse Viewings?

Tenants can refuse viewings of a property that they are occupying IF they have an active WRITTEN lease.  If there is a verbal month-to-month lease then the general rule of thumb is that the tenant cannot refuse the showing.  However, some still do even though it is not within their legal right to do so. 

The best strategy for a landlord to get the tenant to show the property is to offer cash for keys (pay them) to play ball and get them to work with you to sell the property. If you have a fixed-term lease then the landlord must honor that lease or at the very least the

Do My Tenants Have To Play Nice When I Sell The Home?

As the property owner and landlord, you are entitled to sell the house to whoever you want to, and this is important to remember.  The tenants may be occupying the property, but you are still the owner and it is within your rights to sell whenever and to whomever you choose.  If you do decide to sell, the lease agreement that you have with them will still remain in place.  

A lease agreement is not breached simply because you are choosing to now sell the home, and this is a common misconception that a lot of landlords have, so it’s critical that you are able to make this key distinction.  Tenants will have to be given at least 24 hours’ notice before someone enters the home, and they must have reasonable access to the property.

What if I Don’t Have a Standard Lease Agreement?

If you aren’t equipped with a standard lease agreement, then the lease will typically operate on a month-to-month basis, where the tenant’s rent will be paid on the first of each month.  If this is the situation, then you must give the tenants at least a one-month window that they can use to vacate the premises before you close on the deal and sell the home to another buyer.  

If the tenants have been renting the property for more than 12 months, then they must be given at least a 2-month window to vacate, depending on the local ordinances and state laws.  Check with a local real estate attorney in your local area to find out more detailed specifics about this process.  Click here to learn how to sell a house in probate in Colorado.

Advice On Getting Tenants To Play Ball When Selling A Home

selling a house with tenants in colorado

Real Estate Finance

Keep in mind that selling your home with tenants still living inside can negatively impact the sale price.

First of all, consider how the potential buyer could be swayed by the negative opinion of the tenants if they are unhappy about their current situation.  Another thing to consider is that it will be extremely difficult to sell the home through traditional methods while going through a painful eviction process.

The best way to sell the home is to attempt to get the tenant on YOUR side. There are several ways to do this.

  • Inquire with them about how you can make the eviction process easier.
  • Make sure to give the occupants at least 1 day’s notice.
  • If a buyer wants the property without the tenants, then give them an incentive to leave.
  • Offer some type of cash bonus for vacating the premises and leaving it in great shape.
  • If the tenant is really hard-headed, offer them cash money to leave the home without a fight.
  • Ask them when they will be available to show the home.
  • Offer to pay the tenant every time they show the home, and let them know you will pay them out once the house finally sells.

Selling A House With Tenants In Colorado<<- Get an Offer Here

Time is money, and the faster you get the home under contract with a buyer and sold, the faster you can get on with life.  Selling traditionally with a tenant offers many obstacles to overcome, and can make a tenant angry. Maybe even to the point of them damaging the property. (They can do a lot of damage!)

We Will Even Buy Your House With Squatting Trespassers Inside!

Selling a house with tenants in Colorado can be extremely difficult. Even If you need to evict squatters who are trespassing, let us worry about it!

If you’re looking for an offer on your property, HBR Colorado can buy the property with existing tenants! Get a free, no-obligation offer by filling in the quick form below.

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One response to “Selling A House With Tenants In Colorado

  1. Selling a house with tenants still inside is challenging but it’s possible.

    There are many ways to negotiate with tenants and offer them cash for keys and other tactics to incentivize them to leave if you absolutely need them to get out on short notice.

    Otherwise, it’s better to honor the existing lease if you’re the new landlord to allow the tenants some time to gather their belongings and vacate the premises.

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