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


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 Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): No
  • 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.
  • 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.
Your Rental

603 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • jessica

    Is my landlord responsible to fix my windows? There are about 15 windows and when it’s cold you can feel the cold air come through and all windows have a sheet of ice on the inside of the windows including windows next to showers. I have to put my heat sometimes up to 80 just to be 65 on my upper floor and basement is still freezing. I talked to my landlord and he said they are fine, was rude and refused to talk further about the issue. I have lived here for 2 1/2 years and expecting a baby soon so I am really worried. I have brought up this issue at least ten times.

  • Jennifer

    I am renting an apartment and the heater isn’t working and i have notified the leasing office it has been 2 days now and the heater still isn’t fixed, and the temperature has been below freezing for the last 2 days, how long do they have to fix the heater

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jennifer,

      In cold weather, that’s typically the type of issue that needs to get fixed within 24 hours if not ASAP.

      If they refuse to respond, you should notify your local housing authority or code enforcement office.

      • Stacy

        Hi. I’m a landlord here in Colorado. When you reported the heat is not working, did they respond? Has anyone come by to check the problem? Is this an older apartment is it on a boiler unit? Usually, they have 24hrs to respond. Sometimes it’s impossible to fix in that time frame. You could ask for space heaters. Make sure you have notified in writing with dates and times.
        Hope this helps, we have space heaters for our tenants just incase.
        Please know I’m not an attorney and this is not any type of legal advice.

  • ian

    please advise!!!

    I am dealing with an odd situation.
    I am trying to get my security deposit back from my old landlord who is now 4 months past the allotted 60 day return of my security deposit (as stated in lease). after 3 months of simply asking for the status of it i finally sent my in 7 day letter with intent to take legal action. The next day got a response with a summary of damages and a total of my deposit they want to withhold. many of these damages fall under the category of normal wear and tear, and some are simply damages that existed when i moved in, and some are due to the fact the property manager was using a “friend” to do repairs to the unit, they were not done properly and have since then fallen apart. There was never a Move In or Move Out Inspection Checklist completed and the property manager at the time was UNLICENSED and simply acting as a property manager on behalf of the owners ( soliciting negotiation of lease terms; the acceptance, management of rent and disbursement of rental income funds…) on top of all this i was harassed for many months by the owners of the unit saying i had not paid for 3 months rent which had gotten lost in the acting “property managers” personal account that he had been using to keep our rent deposits in rather than a separate trust/escrow account.
    what i am really trying to figure out is how strong of a case i have against them and if legal action is the right course for me.

    your advise would be greatly appreciated.

    -Ian F.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Ian,

      I would be frustrated too! I think you should read C.R.S. 38-12-103

      What is basically says is:

      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))

      So, because the landlord waited so long, he/she can’t withhold anything, and if you pursue the landlord in court, you could hold them to TRIPLE the damages plus legal fees.

      Though the statute is fairly clear, please keep in mind, I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. If you decide to pursue legal action (which I would if I were in your shoes), you should definitely talk to a lawyer first.

  • Megan


    I rent a place with a roommate in Denver and that lease is up at the end of March. I may be purchasing a place of my own and want to find someone to take over the lease in a month or two. I don’t think I’ll have a problem getting someone to sublet for the rest of my part of the lease, as it’s in a nice neighborhood. I asked the property manager if I have to pay a fine to get out of my part of the lease early, but he hasn’t responded. If I can find someone to take over my part of the lease, is he allowed to deny that and make he stay to pay my part? In other words, am I legally allowed to find someone to sublet or am I forced to stay until the end of the lease? Does it make a difference when I am on the lease with a roommate? Thanks!


    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Megan,

      Thanks for your question.

      At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter where you lay your head. The only thing that matters is are you responsible for the rent in the lease. Whenever a tenant wants to move out early, there are always a few options:

      1. Let the tenant terminate the lease early, in which the tenant is no longer responsible for any more rent after a certain date. To do this, the tenant usually has to pay an early termination fee of 1-2 months worth of rent, and give 30-60 days notice.

      2. The tenant is allowed to sublet the room. The tenant becomes a pseudo-landlord, and collects rent from the subletter, but is still responsible for making the normal rent payments. The tenant is still responsible for any damage caused by the subletter. If done correctly, the tenant can charge whatever he/she wants to, and might even be able to make a profit. Sometimes there is a one-time or monthly subletting fee to do this.

      3. The landlord denies both options and the tenant must still continue to pay rent and is not allowed to sublet. The tenant doesn’t have to live there, but must still fulfill the contract to pay rent.

      Early termination fees and subletting rights are usually spelled out in the lease, so make sure you read yours line by line. Subletting might already be prohibited in the lease. If the lease is mute on the matter, that doesn’t mean you are automatically allowed to find a subletter. If you allow anyone else to live there who is not on the lease, the landlord could potentially terminate the lease and hold you responsible for rent.

      If you have roommate that is on the lease with you, all parties would have to agree to and sign an addendum that adds the subletter, or terminates the lease.

      I hope that helps. Please keep in mind, this is generally how it works in the leasing world. There are always exceptions, and this is not legal advice. I’m not a lawyer either.

      Good luck!

  • james

    I am a landlord who had the mother of my property evicted, however the daughter and friend still live there ( on lease). They are refusing to pay rent stating that the utilities were to high., because there was a pluming problem with. A toilet constantly running. I tried to fix the problem but only to have the police called on me to be arrested. Now this happened while the mother was still on the property. Now the couple are trying to sue me in civil. Court. Due I. have any legal grounds for not going back to fix the shower?

    • Stacy

      Hi James,
      As a fellow landlord, I would definitely consult with an attorney. You have tried to fix the issues and it sounds as if they are not complying. No matter what they still have the obligation to pay the rent. Have you hung a 3 day notice? If so I would start the eviction. I am guessing you have a clause in the lease to enter and fix items, if so they are not in compliance. As you know it is hard to evict for non compliance. Seeing your attorney would be best in this situation.
      Good Luck

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi James,

      I agree with Stacy. Get them to leave (voluntarily or by force through legal eviction), based on non-payment.

      What kind of tenants ask you to fix something, and then call the police when you make an attempt to fix it? I’m assuming by the fact that you got arrested, that you didn’t give proper notice.

      Just to be on the safe side, I suggest giving them proper notice and getting the shower/toilet fixed anyway. However, once they are late on rent, you can give notice of eviction for non-payment and the refuse to accept any rent after that notice period is up.

      Anyway, it would be wise to talk with an attorney.

  • K. Diaz

    Our office building recently went under new management. Our lease states they do not provide services on the weekends, which was not a problem until this year when they turned off the heat. Is there anything we can legally do to get out of the lease based on this? We always figured services meant cleaning, garbage, things of that sort and since it was heated in the past, we never thought of it any other way


    • Lucas Hall

      Hi K.

      The manager is responsible for ensuring that each unit can reach adequate temperatures. Sure, things will break, and need to be repaired – which takes some time. But generally speaking, there needs to be a manager on call 24/7 for apartment buildings in cases of emergency, such as “no heat”.

      I wouldn’t classify heat as a service, but rather part of the implied warranty of habitability. Without habitability, a tenant could terminate a lease, but only if the problem is not remedied by the manager. If a landlord/manager refuses to fix major issues, then you might have a case.

      However, before you start a fight with the manage, I highly suggest talking to an attorney. Habitability laws are different in each county and I’d hate for you to anger your landlord for no reason. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. I’m just an experienced landlord, trying to help.

  • Geena

    I am in Pueblo, CO. When I signed my 6 month lease in late July 2014 I was told the boilers in my building were shot and would be replaced before cold weather.

    As of Oct 7th, 2014 I had not heard anything as to the status of the repairs so I emailed the manager who told me the heat “should be” on by the end of October. I tried the heat several times after Oct 31, and it did not work. On the morning of Nov 6th, 2014 I sent an email to the manager and her boss insisting the heat be repaired. I received a call from the boss about an hour later. She was rude (initially trying to blame me that the boilers weren’t working) but had the maintenance supervisor in my apartment later that morning. He tried to bleed the coils in the two heaters in my unit but they were far too clogged. He brought 2 small space heaters that are not designed to heat a 600sf unit. He lamented they would have to turn the system to the whole building off to pull the coils to repair or replace them because each unit does not have it’s own shut off. He said he would return Friday, Nov 7th at 1pm.

    By 4:40pm on Friday, Nov 7th, he had not arrived so I sent a text to the manager who texted back he would be there within the hour. He arrived at 5:30p and left at 6p. He said the contractor who is replacing the boilers was just finishing up with another building and that he would “try” to get one of them to my apartment to fix the heaters on Monday, Nov 10th, and if he can’t do that he would bring a bigger space heater.

    On Monday, Nov 10th a man from the contractor hired to replace the boilers came. He tried to repair my heaters but could not. He said they would have to shut down the entire building to pull the coils in each of the affected apartments to repair or replace them. The current owners bought this property Feb 2014 and knew of these issues many months before finally hiring a contractor just a few weeks ago.

    In early October I called Pueblo legal aid and other government offices & agencies who are advertised to deal with landlord-tenant issues. At that time I only wanted to know how cold it had to get before my landlord was in violation. I got the phone number runaround, no replies to voicemails or emails, and no answer to my question (I have a list of the phone numbers). So much for trying to be proactive. Monday, Nov 10th I finally found the correct office to file a complaint (code compliance). They inspected my apartment the next day and came to the conclusion my heat was not working. He said he would send a notice to the owners and after 20 days, if they have not complied the City would have to take them to court to condemn my apartment and possibly the entire building. I am supposed to get a copy of the notice. I have not so far. Believe me when I say I did not want to resort to this type of action but felt forced to due to the owners negligence in the very serious matter if providing heat as stated in the lease. I’ve never had to do anything like this before. It’s sad and scary.

    In the meantime I am heating my apartment on space heaters that are already showing signs of wear (fan rattling and very hot plug – fire risk? – not to mention flipping breakers) and no doubt increasing my electric bill as space heaters are not cheap to run. I am paying for a one bedroom apartment but have had to move my bed into the living room and close off the bedroom so the space heaters have a chance to keep the place above 68 degrees.

    I want to know if they have a responsibility to pay the increase in my electric bill and/or reduce my rent since I am now essentially living in a studio. What other legal remedies do I have and what type of communications and time frame do I have to initiate them. It is my understanding I may have the right to withhold rent until the repairs are made or they perhaps move me to a functioning apartment.

    I am disabled with a therapy animal. I live in a garden level apartment (1/2 below grade) and as you know cold air sinks. It gets cold. I have been trying to read all the legalese about what remedies I have. It’s very hard to find answers to my questions.

    • Barb Forrest

      Hi, I’m a landlord, and I don’t blame you at all.

      I would calculate what my electric was back in February when you moved in since those would be the coldest days of your residency, find out if the rate is the same, and figure out exactly what this is costing you. Your utility company can give you all this info over the phone. Also consider reading your meter yourself today just to get an idea of the daily rate? Take a picture.

      Other than that, I think you will have to live with the situation for the next 20 days. Sorry about all this because it will not help your relationship with your landlord but it’s a serious issue, and there could be a fire hazard. I hope you have a smoke detector. I would read the warnings on the space heaters or search for them online to be sure you’re compliant with the proper use. They should provide a unit big enough for safe use. Take more pictures.

      You should be compensated for your out-of-pocket costs. You might have to go to small claims court to collect but a well-written letter stating the facts and the law might get their attention and compensation. Wait until you have a total cost calculated. It seems like you have kept great records, and they will hold up in small claims court. The burden of proof is low there.

      It’s a tough situation when the boiler goes down. I manage a 12-plex with a boiler for hot water heat. Fortunately I don’t have to drain the boiler to do repairs, just shut off valves before and after the needed repair to isolate the unit. When one register doesn’t work and I need to replace a valve, it always snowballs and others quit working. I hope your landlords aren’t in over their heads with their new property.

      Best of luck,

      • Geena

        Thank you Barb. It’s nice to be validated, and the suggestions about taking photos and reading the meter myself are excellent.

        I moved in in July. That’s when I was told the boiler was shot and would be replaced before winter. The new owners of the property bought it in February. They had to have known there was a serious heat issue in this building at that time. As you said, that is a cold month.

        I will look for my meter.

  • Christin

    I was renting a room out in my the home I’m renting. The other night my roommate came home drunk. He woke me up and began to call me names and hit my bedroom door, scaring my dog and myself after I told him to keep it down. I have this recorded. He also said he was leaving and I told him to move out to. He told me was planing to the next day. He moved out and now he wants rent money for the rest of the month. He payed for the month but did not give me the security deposit that was agreed upon. He was in my home less then 30 days. Am I liable for giving him the rest of the months rent back?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Christin,

      Absolutely not. You don’t have to give him the money back. Even if you had a month-to-month agreement with him, either party would have to give at least 7 days notice from the end of the month. Since you’re more than 7 days from the end of the month, his month-to-month lease would technically end on Nov 30. However, I have no idea if you actually had a month-to-month lease.

      If you had a fixed-term lease, then you could hold him responsible for the rent until you find another tenant to replace him. However, “holding him responsible” and “getting him to pay” are two different things. Since he didn’t pay his deposit, you likely won’t see a dime out of him in the future.

      If I were in your shoes, I would keep his rent for November, and change the locks now that he has voluntarily moved-out.

      Keep in mind, I’m assuming you are subletting these rooms with your landlord’s permission. If you’re not, please stop. You’re risking your own tenancy.

      Further, I’m not a lawyer, so please don’t take this as legal advice. Good luck to you. I hope that’s the last you see of him!

  • Michelle

    I just moved into a duplex in Sept and here’s what I have had to deal with with my landlord (a RE agent that flips houses)….

    I have a walk list the landlord “bugged” me about doing and the list contains many items that we had previously discussed and he said he’d be fixing, or “he’ll work with me on fixing these items”
    1. was the water “running” in the upstairs tub and he went on to explain it’s been doing it for awhile.
    -So an 82 yr old “handy man” came out to look at it… unfortunately made the leaky faucet much worse and now was “running HOT water” coming from faucet.
    Tried to instruct me to turn on, then off, then on and off again to stop it from running. With no prevail it did not work.
    So I was persistent with the landlord to fix it as I was now paying for natural gas and electricity that the HOT water was using constantly running.
    After being told i was being pushy, a 2nd “handy man” came out, got the “running” water reduced to a “trickle” and said “the wall under the window is sinking to be careful leaning up on it as I may fall through it.”
    So a month goes by, no news or updates from the landlord on fixing this. I email him again inquiring about it.
    Finally on 11-7-14 its scheduled to have the existing tile removed & be re-tiled, the shower handle valve replaced (a friend who’s a construction company owner made this conclusion).
    Upon the tile being removed, they found the wall sinking due to wood rotted to the exterior wall siding.
    I smelled mold but was told it was simply “dry rot”.
    Landlord told me it would extend the construction another day— meanwhile i would not be able to bath or shower for a total of 5 days. When i shared my discontent over the not showering i was “i have tried to make this work for you and for the both of us and don’t feel you’ve done the same” “stop pushing”… (keep in mind this is now 2 months after I moved in on 9-6-14)
    I now have a wall completely exposed to the outside and weather was changing to below freezing temps the weekend he scheduled all this to be done.
    No construction was done Friday after wall torn out and cleaned up….inquiring with the landlord by text i was told “if you don’t like it, then move. i am doing my best. someone will be out tomorrow to rebuild the wall”.
    So here came Saturday morning.. i left for an appointment and returned by 830am and low and behold not a single soul there to work on the bathroom.
    I again inquired as to an expected time frame, got no answer from landlord.
    now time is rolling around to 130pm….landlord ignoring my texts, calls….so i call the local police.
    officer states its civil and cant do anything until he sees for himself the destroyed bathroom and the outside exposure and calls landlord stating it’s uninhabitable and must be remedied or i can break my lease.
    next came a NASTY voice-mail from landlord lecturing me” you harassing, pushy, he doesn’t need this and has been generous working with your problems”
    The bath gets finished, construction guy makes it so i could shower Saturday night, and finally on Tuesday. Meanwhile, below freezing temps for a week & half.
    Now seems a hot water pipe on heater frozen and now leaking….
    I need to find out who i can call. i have text messages, emails & voice-mails in regards to my landlord not willing to take care of issues in the habitability of his duplex.
    the neighbors next door (two girls)were told specifically that he was not fixing anything to fix it themselves.

    What is a tenant to do in a matter such as this that i have described in a condensed version???

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Michelle,

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’m glad the shower got fixed, albeit, I’m surprised the police officer didn’t give you a citation for inappropriate use of emergency services.

      It sounds like you have decision to make. Do you, or do you not want to stay there?

      If you want to break the lease, then next time there is an issue affecting habitability, you can give your landlord a “3 Day notice to remedy or quit” (C.R.S. 13-40-104). If it doesn’t get fixed, then you can terminate the lease for the violation.

      However, you need to be more flexible with smaller issues that don’t affect habitability or violate the lease. The landlord should be responsible for fixing broken or leaky pipes, but sometimes you have to grant him/her some leniency (as long as it’s being worked on). There’s really no excuse for not answering the phone or returning calls.

      If you and your landlord continue to have issues, you can always notify your local housing association or code enforcement office, and file a complaint. Other than that, if you want to leave, perhaps your landlord would allow you to break the lease, just so you can both can go your separate ways.

      Hang in there, and if things get worse, you can also take this to small claims court to cover your damages. I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, so please talk to an attorney if you are looking for legal advice.

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Landlordology is a moderated community.
If you want your photo to appear next to your comment, create a Gravatar.

Get Updates by Email

Join Thousands of Landlords