Landlord/Tenant Matters

  The attorneys at Hanes & Bartels have represented clients in literally hundreds of commercial and residential landlord-tenant disputes. We consistently appear on behalf of landlords in Coloradoís County and District Courts, as well as Federal District and Bankruptcy Courts.

Our landlord-tenant services include the following:

Evictions (Forcible entry and detainer/unlawful detainer)

  When a tenant fails to pay rent, or violates other terms of the rental agreement, the law provides a system which a landlord must follow to seek the courtís intervention and grant an eviction. Failure to precisely follow the procedures contained in the law, however, can provide grounds for the court to dismiss the eviction case, resulting in extra expense and lost time for the landlord.

The attorneys at Hanes & Bartels have extensive courtroom experience representing landlords and tenants, and have conducted many eviction trials. We have represented clients in landlord-tenant disputes ranging from single-family homeowners to large property management companies managing over $500 million in assets.

Security Disputes

  Second only to evictions, disputes over security deposits are the most frequently-filed cases involving landlords and tenants. Like the eviction process, the law is very specific in describing how a landlord must treat a tenantís security deposit, and the steps a landlord must take before keeping any portion of the deposit. Failure to follow those steps can provide grounds for the tenant to sue the landlord not only for the amount of the deposit, but in some circumstances three times that amount.

For more information on Coloradoís security deposit law, see our blog regarding Coloradoís Law On The Return Of A Tenantís Security Deposit

Defence against claims brought under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

  Despite the best efforts of landlords, it is not uncommon to be accused by a tenant of discrimination under The Fair Housing Act or The Americans with Disabilities Act. Defending against these claims can be tricky and intimidating, especially when you have become the target of an investigation by the Attorney Generalís office.

Fair Housing laws prohibit most landlords and property managers from discriminating against tenants on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and familial status (known as the seven "protected classes"). If a tenant is successful in accusing a landlord of Fair Housing violations, or if the landlord fails to properly defend such claims, the landlord can face significant penalties, including monetary compensation for actual damages, humiliation, and pain and suffering; an assessment of fines to be paid to the Federal Government ranging from as much as $16,000 for a first violation to $65,000 for the third within a seven-year period; payment of reasonable attorneyís fees and costs; or other forms of relief.
  The attorneys at Hanes & Bartels have significant experience litigating both Fair Housing and ADA claims. We have defended such cases not only in the early phases of a response to an inquiry from the Attorney Generalís office, but also in full-blown litigation in federal court. Because this is a somewhat sensitive area, we approach such cases carefully and thoughtfully, but with the ability to become aggressive when necessary.

Our attorneys have also taught classes and seminars on Fair Housing and ADA compliance to numerous property management companies and real estate professionals. If you are interested in having one of our attorneys present classes or training sessions, please contact us at (719) 260-7900.

For more information on Fair Housing law, see our blog regarding Fair Housing Discrimination Claims.

Representation in Federal Bankruptcy Court to enforce landlord rights

  When a tenant files bankruptcy, it is critical that you are aware of the steps you can and cannot take in trying to enforce your rights as a landlord and creditor. Upon the filing of bankruptcy, federal law automatically imposes an immediate protection, called the "automatic stay", that essentially prohibits all creditors from any type of collection activities, including evictions or requesting unpaid money. A landlordís or other creditorís failure to follow these federal laws can result in significant consequences and monetary penalties.

The attorneys at Hanes & Bartels have represented numerous landlord creditors in federal bankruptcy court to overcome the restrictions of the automatic stay, so that they can proceed to evict a non-paying tenant, or enforce other applicable rights.

For more information on how a landlord can overcome a tenantís bankruptcy, and how to properly proceed, see our blog regarding What Does A Landlord Do When A Tenant Files Bankruptcy?

Lease Drafting and Review

  You have heard it said that "an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure". This old adage is particularly as it relates to the need to have a sound and comprehensive lease agreement. Yet many landlords fail to invest the relatively small amount of time or money needed to find the right contract. Time and time again we, as attorneys, find ourselves in the unfortunate position of having to inform a landlord that his or her lease does not comply with the law, or does not permit them to exercise a particular right or remedy that the law provides. In almost every one of those circumstances, the landlord could have protected his or her rights with a proper lease.

The attorneys at Hanes & Bartels have written articles and taught seminars to other attorneys and real estate professionals on how to draft and utilize effective leases. We have developed standard leases that we can tailor to your particular needs. We are also available to review your current lease agreements and provide advice on how they can be improved.

Abandonment of Rental Premises

  What should a landlord do when the tenant disappears, but leaves a mountain of personal items behind in the property? Can the landlord retake possession of the premises once it appears the tenant has vacated? Does the tenant automatically forego any rights to the security deposit by leaving? How does the landlord properly dispose of the tenantís personal items? Do the same rules apply if the former tenant leaves behind a car? Firearms? Pets?

These are all critical questions that arise when a tenant abandons the rental premises. Like other areas of landlord-tenant law, the law contains specific steps that must be taken by a landlord to declare the property as abandoned, and then what the landlord must do afterwards to properly dispose of the personal items left behind.

Our attorneys can guide you through the abandonment process to assure compliance with applicable laws. If you do find yourself in a dispute related to a tenantís abandonment, or if you are a renter and believe your former landlord violated your rights upon move-out, call us at (719) 260-7900 to arrange a time to come in and meet one of our attorneys.