Denver, CO asked in Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Colorado

Q: Can you live/camp in the backyard of an unfinished home if you are not the owner?

A home on our street was torn down and a new home was started but only got as far as framing the house, then the progress stopped 2 years ago. The owner lives in Florida (this home is in Colorado) and the owner's son is homeless and has schizophrenia camps in the backyard. Other homeless people are coming and going from the property during the day/night making us feel less safe. Can we petition to have the home finished or sold, and is it legal to camp in the backyard of a property you don't own?

1 Lawyer Answer
Michael Joseph Larranaga
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Parker, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: In short, it would be difficult to force the sale since you do not have an ownership interest.

Could there be other legal remedies? Potentially. You should call an attorney to check.

If the occupants are there without the landowner’s permission, it could be trespass. Again, it would require the owner to enforce.

Many cities also have zoning ordinances. Many of these ordinances do not permit camping. The right place called may result in a fine by the city and potentially force the owner to action.

Many cities also place limitations on how long a structure can be in construction.

Another option is to discuss a private nuisance case. This is a hard one but may be worth your time to discuss especially if the homeless encampment is impacting your property value.

Regardless, you should call an attorney to explore some options and get some ideas.

Please be aware that any answer is based on all the events occurring in Colorado. Further, please be aware that this is not legal advice. This is generic information intended to help the reader develop questions to ask an attorney when they are ready. Each case is different. Anyone reading this answer in need of legal advice should contact an attorney.

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