our everyday life

Statute of Limitations for Legal Action in Colorado Real Estate

by Joe Stone, studioD

Pursing a legal claim requires diligence, especially when you must file a lawsuit to enforce the claim. A court can dismiss your lawsuit -- regardless of the merits -- if you didn't file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires on your claim. Under Colorado law, real-estate related claims are subject to various statutes of limitations. Determine the applicable statute of limitations as soon as you become aware of the need to enforce your claim.

Construction Defect

The statute of limitations for construction defect claims in Colorado is two years from the date you first discover the defect. You have six years from the date the construction on your property is substantially complete to discover the defect. For example, if you do not discover the defect until the sixth year after substantial completion, you’ll have two years under the statute of limitations to file your lawsuit. If you do not discover the defect until the seventh year after substantial completion or later, your construction defect claim is expired.

Home Loan Defaults

Lenders in Colorado attempting to collect on a delinquent home loan must do so before the six-year statute of limitation expires. However, this does not necessarily mean that the lender must file a lawsuit six years from the date the homeowner defaults on the loan. According to a July 2012 decision by the Colorado appellate court, the six-year statute of limitations does not begin until the loan's maturity date. The court's decision also stated that an exception is made when a lender chooses to accelerate the payments due under the note after the default occurs. In this situation, the six-year statute of limitations begins on the date the lender accelerates the note.

Foreclosure-Related Claims

Real estate foreclosures in Colorado can be conducted without going to court -- called a nonjudicial foreclosure. If the sale price obtained at the foreclosure sale is not sufficient to pay of the entire loan, the lender can attempt to collect the remaining balance of the note against the borrower. The statute of limitations to file a lawsuit to collect the balance of the loan -- referred to as a deficiency judgment -- is six years from the date of the foreclosure sale.

Real Estate Transactions

Buying, selling or leasing real estate can give rise to various claims, each with its own limitation period for filing a lawsuit under Colorado law. For example, a claim based on a written payoff statement for a real estate sale must be filed within one year. A claim alleging fraud in a real estate sale must be filed within three years. A lawsuit to enforce a building restriction or to remove a building due to a violation of a restriction must be filed within one year. A landlord must sue a tenant within six years to collect back rent. A tenant suing a landlord for breach of the lease must do so within three years of the breach. Because of the importance of acting promptly to enforce a real estate-related claim, consult with an attorney experienced in Colorado real estate law about the applicable statute of limitations as soon as you become aware of your claim.

About the Author

Joe Stone is a freelance writer in California who has been writing professionally since 2005. His articles have been published on LIVESTRONG.COM, SFgate.com and Chron.com. He also has experience in background investigations and spent almost two decades in legal practice. Stone received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images