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Appealing an Eviction Order in Colorado County Courts
While an eviction action may be filed in either Colorado county courts or district courts, most evictions are typically filed in county court due to the expedited timeline and lower costs of filing in county court actions.
After an eviction action is filed, a hearing will be held, and an order issued by the court determining whether an eviction is appropriate or not. Once a court ruling is issued either party may appeal the ruling in as mandated by Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure (“C.R.C.P.”) and Colorado Revised Statutes (“C.R.S.”).
More specifically, for actions filed in county court, C.R.C.P. 411 provides that a party may appeal the county court’s decision to district court by filing a notice of appeal in the county court within 14 days after the entry of judgment or court order. If an appeal is filed, the appealing party must also file an appeal bond with the clerk of the county court representative of an amount sufficient to pay the costs of the appeal and judgment if the appealing party loses.
For eviction cases, the appeal bond is typically set as the monthly amount of rent where the appealing party is still entitled to possession of the premises – for example, where the eviction action was filed based on breach of a different term of the lease other than non-payment of rent. Additionally, special bond procedures for eviction cases must be followed which generally require the appealing party to place into the court registry any back-owed rent found due and owing at the eviction hearing. See C.R.S. § 13-40-188. Where the appealing party is no longer in possession of the premises, then the appeal bond will likely be set as just the costs of the appeal since rent will not be accruing while the appeal is pending.
Once the bond is posted and the notice of appeal is filed, the county court shall discontinue all further proceedings and recall any executions issued to enforce the judgment – for example, any writ of restitutions issued to enforce an eviction order must be recalled. C.R.C.P. 411(1); C.R.S. § 13-6-311. Additionally, the appellant must docket the case in the district court within 35 days of filing the notice of appeal.
Along these same lines, once the appeal is taken by the district court the county court no longer has jurisdiction over the action and, accordingly, only the district court has jurisdiction to issue all writs or process to execute any judgment which may be rendered by the appellate court. C.R.S. § 13-40-117(2). Accordingly, after an appeal has been filed and the bond posted by the appellant, if there are any issues with the bond – for example, future payments of rent – the issue should be raised with the district court and not with the county court since after the appeal is perfected, the county court no longer has jurisdiction to issue writs to execute an eviction order. See id.
In addition to the bond payment to perfect the appeal, the appellant must also deposit a fee that represents the estimated cost of preparing the record for appeal. C.R.C.P. 411(b). Once that fee is deposited, the clerk of the court shall begin preparing the record which must be finished and lodged with the district court within 42 days of the notice of appeal. After the record is lodged with the district court, each party shall have 14 days to file objections to the record; objections may include objections to incorrect or incomplete portions of the transcript, missing exhibits in the record, and missing court filings in the record. Id. If objections are made, the county court shall hold a hearing as soon as possible to resolve the objections. Once all objections are resolved, or if there are no objections, the record shall be certified by the district court.
Once the record is certified, the appellant will have 21 days to file his or her appeal brief. C.R.C.P . 411(d). After the appellant files his or her appeal brief, the opposing party will have 21 days to file an answer brief. Notably, the time limits for filing appeal and answer briefs may be extended within the discretion of the district court. Id. Once the appeal and answer briefs have been filed, the district court may issue a decision based on the record and appeal brief, either affirming, reversing, or remanding the case to the county court; or the district court may direct the case to be re-tried before it with no weight being given to the county court’s ruling in the previous trial. See C.R.C.P. 411; C.R.S. § 13-6-310. However, the district court may only direct that the case be re-tried before it where the county court record has been lost, destroyed, or cannot otherwise be produced; or where the is new and material evidence that was unknown and undiscoverable at the time of the trial in county court. C.R.C.P. 411(d).
After the district court has rendered its decision, that decision may be appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court through a writ of certiorari where the Colorado Supreme Court has discretion on whether or not to hear the appeal. Id. at (e).
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