Colorado Rental Laws

Written by on December 19, 2012

Flag of ColoradoThis article summarizes some key Colorado Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.

With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.

You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may have a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

Official Rules and Regulations


Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No Statute
  • Security Deposit Interest: No Statute
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No Statute
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No Statute
  • Non-Refundable Security Deposit Allowed: No, landlord must return the “full” deposit (C.R.S. 38-12-103(1))
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: One Month, unless previously agreed to other deadline but never more than 60 days. (C.R.S. 38-12-103) If hazardous conditions force tenant to vacate, Landlord must return the deposit within 72 hours (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays) (C.R.S. 38-12-104).
  • Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: No Statute
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
  • Failure to Comply:
    • If the landlord fails to provide the tenant written notice of withholdings and other required information within the time limit, the landlord forfeits of all his/her rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit. (C.R.S. 38-12-103(2))
    • The willful and wrongful retention of a security deposit in violation of this section shall render a landlord liable for triple the amount of that portion of the security deposit wrongfully withheld from the tenant, together with reasonable attorney fees and court costs. (C.R.S. 38-12-103(2) and (3a))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute
  • Late Fees: No Statute
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute
  • Returned Check Fees: No Statute
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Issues of Habitability: Yes, with restrictions (C.R.S. 38-12-507)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No Statute
  • Landlord Allow to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: Yes, if the lease allows it. (C.R.S. 38-12-507-2)
  • Restrictions on Handling Abandoned Property: Yes (C.R.S. 38-20-116)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: No, Under the “benefit of the bargain” rule, an innocent landlord is entitled to recover only the amount of damages required to place it in the same position it would have occupied had the tenant performed according to the terms of the lease. Schneiker v. Gordon, 732 P.2d 603 (Colo. 1987).

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate a Lease with a Fixed End Date: No notice is needed as the lease simply expires. (C.R.S. 13-40-107-4)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Yearly Lease: 91 days (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1a)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – 6 Months or Longer, but Less than 1 Year: 28 days (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1b)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – 1 Month or Longer, but Less than 6 Months: 7 days (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1c)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – 1 Week or Longer, but Less than 1 Month: 3 days (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1d)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Less than 1 Week: 1 day: (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1e)
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Eviction Notice for Nonpayment after Notice of Nonpayment is Served: 3 days (C.R.S. 13-40-104-1d)
  • Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: 3 days to remedy or quit (C.R.S. 13-40-104). Repeat violations are grounds for immediate lease termination. (C.R.S. 13-40-104-e.5)
  • Required Notice before Entry: No Statute
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No Statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No Statute, but reasonable entry during an emergency is always allowed.
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No, and tenant can sue for damages (C.R.S. 38-12-510)
  • Self-Help Evictions Allowed: No, unless promulgated by the state board of health for the cleanup of an illegal drug laboratory or is with the mutual consent of Landlord and Tenant. (C.R.S. 38-12-510)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No, and tenant can sue for damages (C.R.S. 38-12-510)

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Adopted the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA): No
  • Landlord is not required to look for or rent to a new tenant while previous tenant still has an active lease.
  • Landlord’s Duty to Provide a Habitable Premise (C.R.S. 38-12-505):
    • Waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls maintained in good working order, including unbroken windows and doors;
    • Plumbing or gas facilities that conformed to applicable law in effect at the time of installation and that are maintained in good working order;
    • Running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times furnished to appropriate fixtures and connected to a sewage disposal system approved under applicable law;
    • Functioning heating facilities that conformed to applicable law at the time of installation and that are maintained in good working order;
    • Electrical lighting, with wiring and electrical equipment that conformed to applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order;
    • Common areas and areas under the control of the landlord that are kept reasonably clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, and garbage and that have appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin;
    • Appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin throughout a residential premises;
    • An adequate number of appropriate exterior receptacles for garbage and rubbish, in good repair;
    • Floors, stairways, and railings maintained in good repair;
    • Locks on all exterior doors and locks or security devices on windows designed to be opened that are maintained in good working order; or
    • Compliance with all applicable building, housing, and health codes, which, if violated, would constitute a condition that is dangerous or hazardous to a tenant’s life, health, or safety.
    • No deficiency in the common area shall render a residential premises uninhabitable as set forth in this section, unless it materially and substantially limits the tenant’s use of his or her dwelling unit.
  • Domestic Violence:
    • Tenant may terminate a lease early in special circumstances involving sexual assault, sexual abuse, or domestic violence but Tenant may be responsible for 1 extra month’s rent. (C.R.S. 38-12-402-2)
    • Landlord cannot terminate the lease of a victim of domestic violence. (C.R.S. 13-40-107.5-c)
    • Landlord may require proof of domestic violence status. (C.R.S. 38-12-402-2)
    • A landlord shall not include in a residential rental agreement or lease agreement for housing a provision authorizing the landlord to terminate the agreement or to impose a penalty on a residential tenant for calls made by the residential tenant for peace officer assistance or other emergency assistance in response to a domestic violence or domestic abuse situation. (C.R.S. 38-12-402-1)
  • Retaliation:  A landlord shall not discriminatorily increase rent or decrease services or by bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession in response to the tenant having made a good faith complaint to the landlord or to a governmental agency alleging a breach of the warranty of habitability. (C.R.S. 38-12-509)

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
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712 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Renee Suttles

    I have two questions. We rented a home and moved in Nov. 1st. Our landlord has been at the house EVERYDAY except most weekends, doing “maintence” like installing a door on the patio and putting something to keep leaves out under the deck. Issue is it took him a month to do the door and under the deck (which still isn’t done). He would come at 8 or 9 am and stay until 5 or 6:30. We also had an agreement in the lease that he would make every effort to fix the fireplace by Christmas 2014. He didn’t start it until 3 days before Christmas. He keeps finding reasons to be at the house. I think we have had a total of 14 days ( Mon-Fri and some Sats) where he wasn’t there. Some days he came at 3 and stayed until 8 pm.
    we cant enjoy the house at all, our dogs cant be outside to just hang when he is there. it is taking him forever to finish minor things. My husband is in construction and he knows how long things take.

    Second he charged a 400.00 dollar non refundable pet deposit. Can he do that?

    • Renee Suttles

      Oh and when we ask him if he can not come so often he just states he can be there whenever he wants and it is a big home and he needs to work on it all the time. it is really making us uncomfortable. My 17 year old daughter doesn’t like him and he makes her uncomfortable, which I don’t like. We didn’t know any of this moving in. he has his old a/c units in the year and old hot tub, it is basically his storage. he also stated in the lease that there is no “implied quiet enjoyment” So are we just supposed to deal with him working there everyday?

      is there anything we can do?

      • Lucas Hall

        Hi Renee,

        That does seem extreme. On one hand, the landlord is attempting to make the place better for you. On the other hand, he’s infringing on your right to quiet enjoyment because of the way he is going about it – yes, there is a such a thing. You have the right to reasonable privacy and quite enjoyment.

        Here’s an article I wrote for Trulia on the topic:

        Further, most states require that the landlord give proper notice before coming over – but in CO, there isn’t a statute that regulates this. However, most courts still want to see 24 hours notice before arrival. The assumption that “he can come over whenever” is generally wrong and typically frowned upon in court.

        Though you have exclusive rights to occupy the premise, sometimes it’s reasonable for a landlord to store items on-site, it if helps with the maintenance. For example, during the winter, many landlords store the window AC units on the property because they will be needed in the summer. Further, it’s reasonable to store pool supplies if there is a hot tub or pool. Some landlords abuse this by storing vehicles, or boxes that they never moved out.

        As for the deposit, a non-refundable deposit is not allowed at a state-level in Colorado. The landlord must return the “full” deposit according to C.R.S. 38-12-103(1), minus actual damages.

        I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, so don’t consider this legal advice. I’m just an experienced landlord, trying to help.

        • Renee Suttles

          Is there anything we can do. Can we get out of the lease? He is driving us nuts. Always there. He is doing things to the home that are not needed for us to enjoy. We cant even trim the bushes or trees in the backyard because they are his “friends” and he likes them overgrown. We have tons of mice in the backyard bushes that my dogs chase. Crab apple trees dropping in the grass and killing it not to mention making my dogs sick when they eat them. I appreciate your advice.
          I don’t mind him storing things, but these are old broken units and hot tub just leaning on the shed. He has also blocked off the side yard until further notice. he say that in his lease that there is a statement of no implied quiet enjoyment so he isn’t breaking any.

          I am at a loss.

          • Lucas Hall

            Hi Renee,

            Your comment made me laugh, but I have to apologize because your situation is not funny at all.

            I just thought it was humorous that he said “there is no statement of implied quiet enjoyment in the lease”. By the definition of “implied”, there doesn’t need to be a statement. It’s simply an expectation that is built into every lease – and publicly/legally accepted. I guess your landlord didn’t get the memo. The bottom line is that his behavior is causing a nuisance and is breaching your right to quiet enjoyment.

            Since he doesn’t seem to respect you, it’s likely that a letter from you will have little effect. However, if you pay a lawyer a small fe ($50-$100), he/she will be able to draft up a demand letter that orders the landlord to stop _________ behavior, or you will be terminating the lease. A lawyer will be able to cite the appropriate local laws, and the landlord will likely take that seriously.

            Good Luck!

  • Renee Suttles

    Thanks for your advice!! But what is even more fun is that in the lease there is a sentence that reads, ” there is no implied covenant of quiet enjoyment”. Now does that mean that since it is in the lease we don’t have the right to it?

    Again thanks for all you advice. I think we will be seeing an attorney.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Renee,

      I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know for sure, but my gut feeling is that a statement like that would not hold up in court. It’s similar to putting a statement in the lease that says you waive all your legal rights. Ridiculous.

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