Colorado Landlord-Tenant 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

Details

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

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 Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): No
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Inhabitability: 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.
  • 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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497 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Ryan

    Hi,

    I live in an apartment complex and the water is frequently shut off without notice. My rent and bills are always paid on time at the beginning of the month and I have never been late. The water is often of for the majority of the day but the apartment management never gives any notice that work is being done. Aren’t they require to provide a notice for a utility shut off? If so, what is the time frame on the notice?

    Thanks,
    Ryan

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Ryan,

      Yes, typically if there is maintenance that will shut off the water, the manager is required to give notice. I’m not sure what the time frame is.

      However, sometimes accidents happen, or the water was shut off by the city, with no notice. So, before you blame the management company, you should look into who is responsible. If the issue continues, you might be able to terminate you lease, but you would want to talk to a lawyer before doing so.

  • Barb Forrest

    Perhaps you are correct, and every judge rules differently based on his own understanding. However, my information comes from experience with a malfunctioning dryer.

    My tenant wanted to break his lease. I had no problem with that but told him he would be responsible for any costs to rerent and any lost income. Then he was late with his rent. I posted an eviction notice. He moved out without paying claiming my dryer was malfunctioning and had been smoking causing them great concern and anxiety. This was their flimsy excuse for moving without notice. My appliance repair guy checked the unit, and there was no evidence the dryer had been smoking. It was a combo unit washer/dryer with such a small dryer that it did require a couple of cycles to dry thoroughly. My tenant hired a lawyer so I was backed into hiring one also. It was my lawyer who told me my Lease did not guarantee a dryer. (It was advertised as having one.) Reasonable time for repairs was mentioned in court, and the big thing became the length of the dryer vent. (Vent was not clogged; we had them cleaned.) This is how things escalate. I won the case. A less than $1,000 cost to move early including lost rent turned into over $12,000 with lawyer fees! I recovered about $10,500. … not worth my effort since the lawyer cost over $9,000. Why did I win… because the judge did not believe my tenant when my tenant denied we had a discussion about an early termination of the Lease.

    So I suggest, first get an estimate on vent cleaning, advise him of the cost and ask can I go ahead with it? If you get no response, have the work done, deduct the cost and hope your landlord accepts the deduction from rent. He’ll probably be very happy he didn’t have to deal with this, and he gets to keep his tenant. Worse case scenerio, you paid a little and now have a working dryer.

  • Barb Forrest

    PS This person was the very controlling new husband of my previously happy but now pregnant tenant.

  • Tracia Herrera

    Does a TENANT have any right to being compensated for being displaced? My son went through the normal application process for an apartment stating it was available Sept. 1, 2014. Was approved, gave the Deposit and SIGNED a 1 year lease, beginning Sept. 1, 2014 through August 31, 2015, with possession to take place on Sept. 6, 2014. When calling the Property Mgmt. company to arrange to meet at the unit to pay rent and get keys, he was informed that the previous tenant had not removed alot of his stuff and my son could not take possession without them going through the process of Eviction!!! My son had given notice to his Landlord to move and had NO WHERE TO GO. He has three (3) children under 5!!!! The Prop. Mgr stated “He could get out of the lease” but they were not going to compensate him. The Owner was “thinking about giving him a credit for the flat rate charge for gas, but nothing more!!!! I feel he is entitled to something!!!! As of today 9-17-14, still have not moved in!!! They NEED this apartment, therefore they are waiting. Alot about this whole thing is wrong, but my main concern is why doesn’t he deserve to be compensated or at least have the Prop Mgmt company pay for an hotel until they can move in. It is not their fault the unit was not ready. If it wasn’t for his mother, where would have they been able to go?? Hotels are not cheap!!! If anyone can tell me something I would greatly appreciated it.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Tracia,

      I think the better question is: “Should the landlord/property management company have to compensate you for the fact that they failed to deliver on their contractual obligations?”

      In my non-legal opinion, ABSOLUTELY! They signed a lease, which obligated them to provide housing by a certain date. When they couldn’t fulfill their obligation, they either need to compensate the tenant, or put the tenant up in similar housing until the unit is available.

      Again, I’m not a lawyer, so please don’t take this as legal advice. If I were in your shoes, I would add up all the financial damages due to their breach of contract, and hire a lawyer to send them a demand letter – asking for compensation in that amount. If they failed to pay, I would ask the lawyer to sue them. It’s breach of contract, plain and simple.

      That’s just my two sense as a landlord. Seriously, talk to a lawyer.

  • JAMES

    I signed a lease yesterday/last night. I have second thoughts. I do not wish to live here anymore. Can I opt out with no problems?

  • Suzi Marcil

    Hi Lucas-
    I currently lease a unit in a building that is now for sale. My lease expired on July 31, 2014. Since June, I have been attempting to renew the lease for another year term. Finally, I received a new lease and it included a clause that would give me 45 days to move out if the new owners choose to have me do so. Clearly, this provision negates the protection of a lease. I requested that the clause be removed, but the landlord will not do so as they want to be protected in the event that a buyer who wants the tenants to vacate has that opportunity. Any suggestions?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Suzi,

      It sounds like the the landlord simply does not want to give you another fixed-term year lease. A landlord is not obligated to offer all types of leases at renewal time (unless the previous lease mandates it). They can offer whatever type of lease fits in with other plans, such as selling the house.

      I think the better way to think of the lease that was offered to you, is that it’s not a year lease with a 45 days notice, but rather just a 45 days lease, and keeps renewing. If the landlord doesn’t want to remove the clause, they don’t have too.

      I wish I had some advice for you, but in this situation, the landlord has all the cards.

  • Michelle Ross

    Is a homeowner required to carry insurance on a property if they rent it out?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Michelle,

      To be honest, I don’t know. If the house has a mortgage on it, the mortgage company will require that the home is insured. However, if the home is debt-free, then I suspect there is no other entity that would require insurance.

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea to always carry insurance. Further, there’s nothing stopping the tenant from getting renter’s insurance of their own.

      Cheers!

  • Ava Graves

    I have a tenant that is suing because they were not granted access to the pool and weight room through the HOA. There is nothing in the lease stating anything about having access to the HOA amenities.
    Does she have a case?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Ava,

      I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t give you legal advice or opinion.

      From one landlord to another, you’re only obligated to provide access to the things that you advertised or put in the lease. If you had an advertisement that mentioned pool access or showed a picture of a pool, it would be easy to understand why someone would think that they have pool access.

      Just my two cents – not legal advice.

  • Ana

    There was no damage report moving in. I have done no damage and the house is spotless. My landlord told me he keeps my deposit to secure the house after I move out. If there is no damage to the house whatsoever and my lease does NOT state non refundable deposit…what do I do? He is a ride cheap man! I have plans to take video and pictures during our final walk through bit is there anything else I can do or have rights with?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Ana,

      Taking pictures and videos is a fantastic way to document the condition of the property. The landlord can only withhold some or all of your deposit for actual damages beyond normal wear and tear. Further, he should have receipts or estimates for the work to document the cost, and has between 30-60 days to return any remaining deposit.

      Check out the section above regarding deposits: http://www.landlordology.com/colorado-landlord-tenant-laws/#deposit

      If the landlord doesn’t play by the rules, and wrongfully withholds your deposit, you can file a small claims lawsuit against him. This is where it will be helpful to have documentation of the move-out condition.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I am not a lawyer.

  • Leslie

    My tenant left before the lease was up and left a bunch of stuff behind. It is very obvious that they moved out and they did not leave a forwarding address. Is posting a Craigslist’s ad a legitimate way of giving notice that they need to pick it up before I trash it?

  • ashley

    My landlord continuously drives past our house. Talks to the neighbors and interrogates them almost daily now. The neighbors have told us they have seen the landlord go into our garage and take pictures of our house on numerous occasions without 24 hr notice. He also told the neighbor that he has been hiding around the corners to watch us and see if we are being loud. We have never thrown a party or been loud. We work 98 to 120 hrs a week in the oilfield. The neighbor also caught him going through our car when we weren’t home. When we ask the landlord about the above mentioned instances he gets defensive and tells us we are lying and it’s not true. He said we can break the lease for an additional $3200. Our rent is $1600. He has our deposit, $1600, and our last month of rent, $1600 for June 2015, so for us to break the lease he would get 4 months of rent $6400. Hasn’t he already broken the lease by his actions?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Ashley,

      If the landlord ever digs through your car or removes any of your personal property, you can call the police. It would be no different than a stranger digging through your car. Further, he has no business photographic your belongings. He can definitely take pictures of her property, but she must not focus on your stuff.

      You landlord sounds like a real piece of work. Unfortunately, there is a no statute that requires a certain amount of notice be given. So, though 24 hours seems normal, CO statutes don’t mandate it.

      In order for you to break a lease, you have to show that your landlord is in violation of his duties. Being a snoop is unprofessional, and digging through your car is illegal. I suggest looking through your lease to see if there is a notice period mentioned, that he must follow before coming over. If not, you might be able to get help from a lawyer to break the lease for the car incident. However without a police report, it will be tough to prove.

      Keep in mind, this is just my opinion. I’m not a lawyer, nor have I seen your lease. A local attorney would be able to help you much better than I. Good Luck. Next time, I hope you have a better landlord that is not so crazy.

  • Sharon

    We just purchased a house in Northern Colorado and as we were working our way through the contract to purchase, at the last minute, the sellers requested their granddaughter, her husband and their 2 year old be allowed to rent the fully finished basement month to month for $500. We agreed, knowing that our no would have meant not being able to purchase the house. We have now been in the house a month and trying to decide what to do from here. Lease states they are responsible for all upkeep on all appliances in their unit but they keep requesting a new washer/dryer and dishwasher. Getting a key from them was like pulling teeth and they stated they talked to other landlords and that we have no business or reason to have a key to their downstairs apartment. The unit is well worth double the $500 they pay. I want to terminate the lease, my husband thinks we should raise the rent to $1000. I don’t want to deal with confrontations or stress. Thoughts?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Sharon,

      Typically, the landlord is responsible for replacing appliances that break. Even if your lease says otherwise, I’ve never known that provision to hold up in court.

      However, if the appliances are still functioning, but maybe not as well as they could, you definitely don’t have to replace or fix them. You have the option of waiting until they are fully unusable before taking action.

      If they have a month-to-month lease, a landlord can terminate it with 7 days notice from the end of the period (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1c). By doing so, you are simply choosing not to renew the monthly lease.

      If they have a fixed-term lease, you wouldn’t be able to terminate it unless they didn’t pay rent or somehow violated the lease agreement.

      Keep in mind, I’m NOT a lawyer, so please consult with a local attorney before taking action. Good luck!

  • Felixx Welliver

    Hello I live in a duplex where my lease just ended and have a landlord who speaks drops of english. I found a note on my door stating the rent will now bee 100 dollars more plus 25 dollars for water starting the first (that gives me a week notice) and im now month to month basis. Is this legal? Dont I require a new lease stating any of this? Also, can a landlord or anyone that she gives permission be allowed to enter my home without written notice? My lease is up this month (sept) Do I just keep paying the old rent until a new month to month is drawn up?
    Im struggling because they are not familiar with the laws. Hell I even have to do my own repairs because she is to cheap.
    Thank you

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Felixx,

      It depends on what kind of lease you have. If you have a fixed-term lease, neither party can change anything about the lease until it has expired.

      If you have a month-to-month lease, the landlord can raise the rent every month. To my knowledge, Colorado does not have a statute on the amount of notice needed to raise the rent.

      There is also no statute on the amount of notice required before entering the unit.

      Again, if you have a fixed term lease, then you are no obligation to pay the increase until your lease is up.

      Feel free to examine the links above. Please know that I am NOT a lawyer, and this is NOT legal advice.

  • Erin

    Hi Lucas,

    I have just purchased a rental property (and inherited tenants under lease) and have not yet contacted an attorney. As for opening a separate account for their security deposit, does that need to stand alone or can any other money be added to the account? In other words, can I deposit all rent to that account and then disperse from there without ever touching the security deposit itself?

    Thanks,
    Erin

  • Jeanie

    We just signed a 1 year lease with a tenant which expires September of 2015. Unfortunately the tenant has already been making threats to the neighbor across the street. Can we as landlords break the lease and evict them and if so how many days do we legally need to give them to move out. They have already been given a letter stating 3 violations of their lease to correct within 30 days as follows:

    Camper and automobile in the back yard needs to be removed (parked on new sod)
    No pets allowed to reside on the property per the lease (Rottweiler in rental)
    Number of occupants shall be no more than 6 persons (they have 7 and are subleasing)

    The tenants believe that the neighbor filled us in as landlords and are now threatening the neighbor for spilling the beans.

    Please Help! This will only get worse if they continue to rent the property.

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