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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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I live in Colorado. Recently a man-and-wife team who were known

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I live in Colorado. Recently a man-and-wife team who were known to me came by and asked if they could stay overnight if they did some work. I said yes, and they "camped" in the living room. The next day they did more work. Third day was the same, except that I told them they would have to leave within two days. Fourth day I told the man to have a specific plan to leave the next day - that they could not stay another night. Fifth day they dragged their feet in every way, hid in the garage, and finally refused to leave.

I called the police, and after an explanation the police said the two had not stayed long enough to establish a tenancy. I offered the two a weekend in a local motel to motivate them to leave.

How long must a guest stay in order to establish tenancy? Are there any mitigating conditions/circumstances?

Dear Customer,


Thank you for choosing Just Answer. While usually the biggest difference between a boarder (hotel guest) and a tenant is that a hotel guest can be removed with police officer assistance at the request of the owner, while a tenant can only be removed after court action, I am not sure where your situation falls.


If the police officers are unable to assist you with these individuals as hotel guests or boarders (i.e. help you remove them from the property as boarders (and not tenants), you will need to go forward with an eviction proceeding.


If you are forced to go forward with an eviction, here is a link to a website with information regarding unlawful detainer actions and notice requirements in Colorado that may be of assistance if you are forced to proceed in this manner.


If you have further questions, or if this does not clarify the situation at all, please do not hesitate to ask.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.



That was not a very satisfying answer. The issue of whether someone is a boarder or a tenant was not the focus of my question. What I wanted to know is how long a visitor has to stay in your home in order to claim they are a tenant (with legal precedent). If there is no set time period, then what circumstances would need to be present for them to be considered a tenant rather than a guest?


The police officer that came over said "about a week." Is Colorado law more definite on the time frame?


Thank you.



Dear Rob,

I am sorry for the confusing response. The difference between a tenant and a guest is not the length of their stay, it is whether or not they are exchanging goods or services for their right to remain in the property.

In your case, you permitted them to stay in your home in exchange for their labor (services). This creates either a boarding situation (a hotel, bed and breakfast, or similar institution) in which you may be able to call upon law enforcement for summary removal of the individuals without having to file an unlawful detainer; or it creates a landlord tenant situation in which you must file an unlawful detainer action.

A guest can stay in your home free of charge and free of a duty to perform labor or services (they may do so voluntarily, but they are not required to do so); however, you are still required to use the legal process (usually an unlawful detainer) to remove these individuals.

Under no circumstances are you permitted to use "self help" or other direct force.

I hope this better addresses your question, there is no mechanism to switch from "guest" to "tenant" based on the length of time they have stayed. The only way to switch is if you make a contract (oral or written) with your guest to pay you or perform services in order to continue their stay.

Best regards,
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