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
Michael Joseph Larranaga PRO label
Answered
  • 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.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.