Denver Real Estate Law

With more than 35 years of experience, including providing legal advice for many real estate matters, Don will help you navigate the complexities of commercial and residential real estate transactions.

Don is experienced in real estate matters, and he will assist you with your real estate needs, including in the following areas:

Real Estate (real property) (please click to expand/collapse):

Real Estate (real property) is land and anything permanently affixed to it, including buildings, garages, sheds, crops, and improvements.

Real Estate ownership:

Owning real estate (real property), as opposed to owning personal property.

Real Estate Purchases:

A good, clear agreement is required to protect you when you purchase real estate.

Real Estate Sales:

A good, clear agreement is required to protect you when you sell real estate.

Real Estate Contracts:

A real estate contract is a contract for the purchase, sale, exchange or other conveyance of real estate between parties.

Real Estate Negotiations:

Each person has his or her own negotiating style. A thoughtful negotiating strategy should be developed which will produce the best results during real estate negotiations.

Residential Property:

Residential property is real property where people live (compared to commercial property or industrial property).

Commercial Property:

Commercial property is real property which is used for commercial or business purposes (compared to residential property or industrial property).

Industrial Property:

Industrial property is real property used for industrial purposes such as manufacturing or warehousing (compared to residential property or commercial property).

Real Estate Leases:

A real estate lease is a contract which gives the possession of real property to someone, usually in exchange for rent payments.

Landlord (lessor) and Tenant (lessee):

A security deposit is a payment required by a landlord to be used in the event the tenant does not comply with the terms of the lease. For example, if rent is not paid or the property is damaged, the security deposit is used for those purposes. In Colorado, there is a specific statute concerning residential security deposits which must be carefully followed by landlords, including acting within a certain time period, or the landlord may have to pay treble damages, attorney fees, and costs to the tenant.


Eviction is the legal process used by a landlord to obtain possession of real estate from a tenant when the tenant refuses to voluntarily relinquish possession.

Promissory Notes:

A promissory note should always be signed when someone lends money to someone else. Promissory notes are either secured or unsecured. If the promissory note is secured, the collateral may be personal property and/or real property. It is always better to be a secured lender instead of an unsecured lender.

Deeds of Trust:

In Colorado, a deed of trust is recorded in the clerk and recorder’s office in the county in which the real property is located to place a lien against the real property. The real property is collateral for the loan from the lender to the borrower.

Release of Deeds of Trust:

When a loan secured by real estate is paid in full, the lender releases its deed of trust against the real property by recording a release of deed of trust in the county in which the real property is located.


A mortgage is a loan to finance the purchase of real estate making the real estate collateral for the loan.


If a loan is involved concerning real estate, it means the loan is secured by real estate (collateral for the loan) and the proper documents must be prepared and signed, and certain of those documents must be recorded with the clerk and recorder in the county in which the real estate is located to place a lien against the real property.

Construction Law:

Construction law is a very broad area of the law involving building construction and related areas. Legal matters involve contract law, bonds, guarantees, sureties, liens, security interests, claims, arbitration, environmental matters, and health and safety. Participants in construction law may include owners, builders, financial institutions, surveyors, architects, engineers, planners and construction workers.

Mechanic’s Liens:

A mechanic’s lien provides a mechanism for a subcontractor who supplies materials or labor which benefits real property to pursue an action against the real property if not paid. The subcontractor takes the necessary steps to file a lien against the real property and may foreclose against the real property. There are important time deadlines that must be met or the lien right is lost.


A contractor is an individual or company who agrees to furnish materials or perform services at a specified price for construction.


A subcontractor is an individual or company hired by a general or prime contractor to perform a specific task as part of a project. A subcontractor will either (1) perform labor or (2) provide materials.

Adverse Possession:

Adverse possession is a principle of law that allows a person who possesses someone else’s real property for an extended period of time to claim ownership of the real property if certain requirements are met.


An easement is the right to cross or otherwise use someone else’s land for a specified purpose. Utility companies and municipalities often have easements over real estate. Easements may arise between adjoining property owners for ingress and egress. One of the legal issues that may arise between adjoining landowners is the scope of the easement.

Common Interest Community Documents:

In Colorado, there is a specific statute, known as “Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act,” that applies to common interest communities such as homeowner associations.

Homeowner Associations:

A homeowners association is an association of homeowners which may involve a subdivision, condominiums, townhouse, or planned unit development to address issues involving their ownership with the purpose to maintain and enhance their property. In Colorado, there is a specific stature, known as “Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act,” that applies to homeowner associations.

Restrictive Covenants:

In real estate, restrictive covenants are used to limit owners’ use of real property and to control or prohibit certain uses of real property. Land developers typically use restrictive covenants when they develop residential property.

1031 Exchanges:

A 1031 exchange is named after Internal Revenue Code section 1031. A 1031 exchange provides for the tax deferred exchange of real and personal property. The key word is “deferred.” There are very specific requirements, including time limitations, which must be followed for a 1031 exchange.

Quiet Title:

A quiet title action is a legal proceeding to eliminate any interest or claim by others in real estate. A quiet title action is used to remove a “cloud’ on the title of real estate (defects in the title).


Foreclosure is a legal action by a lender where the owner’s rights in real estate are terminated. The owner is in default, usually for nonpayment, of the loan with the lender, which allows the lender to foreclose, sell the real estate, and apply the proceeds toward the loan.


At times real estate owners face financial problems, often as a result of matters over which the owner has no control, such as the economy. Therefore, time must be spent reaching a workout agreement with secured lenders.

Title Problems:

If an owner is faced with claims concerning the validity of the ownership of real property concerning title to the property, title problems may occur. If there are title problems and there is title insurance, the claim is turned over to the title insurance company.

Title Insurance:

Title insurance is a policy issued by an insurance company insuring that the title to real property is owned by someone is free and clear of all claims and liens. Title insurance should always be obtained by a purchaser of real estate and by lenders who lend money secured by real property.


Damages mean you are seeking money from someone (instead of equitable relief which is discussed below under remedies). The amount of money that you may recover depends upon your legal theory for recovery and how much you can prove your damages are.


When you request an injunction you request a court order that someone either stops doing something or a court order that someone affirmatively do something.


A receivership is where an independent, impartial person is appointed by a court to take possession, manage and preserve property during a lawsuit. A secured lender with commercial real property or real property with apartments as collateral will frequently request a receiver be appointed when it forecloses against the property.


In the real estate area, warranties apply in various ways. By signing a warranty deed, a seller makes certain warranties concerning title to the real property. Warranties may also apply to the condition of real estate when it is sold and to leased real property.


A survey is a detailed drawing which shows the measurements, boundaries, easements, rights of way, and improvements on a particular piece of real property. A survey is performed by a surveyor, who must be licensed to perform surveys.

Leaseback Agreements:

A leaseback agreement involving real estate is a transaction in which an owner of real property sells the property to a purchaser and then leases it back from the purchaser.

Listing Agreements:

A listing agreement is an agreement between a seller and a real estate agent which details the understanding between them for the listing and sale of real property.

Escrow Agreements:

An escrow agreement is an arrangement between parties where an independent third party receives documents and/or money and disburses them according to the provisions of the escrow agreement. A common escrow is real estate taxes and hazard insurance that are collected by lenders who have a mortgage against real property.

Breach of Contract:

If someone does not perform the terms and provision of a real estate contract without a valid legal reason, there is a breach of the contract.

Failure to Disclose:

A failure to disclose occurs when a seller fails to disclose a material matter which should be disclosed to a purchaser. For example if there are problems with the condition of the real property which should be disclosed and are not, it would be a failure to disclose.

Creditor Bankruptcy Representation:

Someone who owes you monies may file bankruptcy. The debtor’s bankruptcy should be carefully reviewed to determine what is the most practical and cost-effective course of action. Litigation may be required to resolve a debt owed to you by a debtor who has filed bankruptcy if the collateral is real property, if the amount owed justifies the cost of attorney fees in the bankruptcy litigation.


In real estate, a default occurs when a party to a real estate contract has not performed the legal obligations which are contained in the contract without a legal right to not perform.


Remedies for a breach of a real estate contract fall into two general categories, (1) damages and (2) equitable relief. Damages mean you are seeking money from someone (instead of equitable relief which is discussed below). The amount of money that you demand depends upon your legal theory for recovery and how much you can prove your damages are. If you request that the court order certain relief other than damages, the relief requested is called equitable relief. The most common types of equitable relief are an injunction and specific performance. When you request an injunction you request a court order that someone either stop doing something or order that someone affirmatively do something. When you request specific performance, you request that someone perform an act, which usually involves performing the provisions of a real estate contract by forcing the seller to sell the real estate to the purchaser. Other types of equitable relief besides injunction and specific performance with real estate contracts include accounting; rescission; declaratory relief, constructive trust, and estoppel.


Litigation is the process of filing a court action to resolve a dispute.


Mediation is a process where parties submit their dispute to a mediator who tries to help the parties reach a settlement agreement between the parties. Mediation is not binding on the parties. If mediation is not successful, either party may move forward by filing a lawsuit or filing for arbitration to resolve the dispute.


Arbitration is a process where parties submit their dispute to a single arbitrator (or more than one arbitrator if the amount in controversy is a substantial amount) who makes a decision that is binding on the parties. Arbitration is used in place of a trial to a judge or a trial to a jury.

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