Landlord locks out renters from home without going through court process

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EDGEWATER, Colo. -- Imagine coming home and finding all the locks changed and “no trespassing” signs stuck to the doors. An Edgewater family doesn’t have to imagine. It happened to them Tuesday night.

And now they are without a home and all their belongings.

“I just want a home. My kids just want a home,” Yvette Casias Romero said.

Suddenly, her home is a room at a Lakewood Extended Stay America.

“He said I had to be out. I have nowhere else to go,” a tearful Casias said.

Her home of the past three months had been at an Edgewater duplex -- until Tuesday night.

“I’ve done everything he’s asked. My rent is paid every month,” she said.

She came home to a “no trespassing sign” on the door, changed locks and a chain around her fence.

“I can’t even go get my stuff. My kids and I have no clothes. Because he won’t let me go in the house,” she said.

The landlord is Chris Sandoval.

Sandoval said over the phone “nothing illegal was done.”

However, Colorado law states, “It’s unlawful for a landlord to remove … a tenant from a dwelling unit without resorting to court process.”

It also says “unlawful removal … includes willful removal of … locks to the premises.”

A judge did not order an eviction. Sandoval hasn’t even filed. But that doesn’t help Casias, her common-law husband and two daughters. The family is separated because of the eviction. Her kids now live with their dad.

“I don’t want anything from him. Other than to honor his lease and own up to what he’s doing, that he’s wrong. He is so wrong for everything he’s doing,” Casias said.

Casias said Sandoval wants her out because she damaged the home, has pets and others were living there. Casias said there is no damage. She has no pets -- even though the lease allows them. And she said the lease doesn’t prohibit anyone from visiting her.

She suspects he just wants to make more money on the unit.

She said he told her, "'You only pay $75. I could get $1,200. Section 8 is not paying me enough.' Then, why sign a lease? Why did he agree to this?” she questions.

Casias has hired an attorney who has taken her case pro bono.

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