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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538 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Kelly

    Lucas,

    I have a lease until the end of February. I have windows that are broken and don’t lock, and I informed my landlord of this in September. The issue is still not fixed and I know that there is mold growing. I believe that I am able to break my lease due to the Warranty of Habitability and according to the law if I am living in an uninhabitable space I am able to breach my contract. Any fine details that I am missing?

    Kelly

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Kelly,

      In cases where a property is not habitable, I believe the tenant can send a 3 days notice to remedy or quit (C.R.S. 13-40-104). Meaning, the tenant has to give the landlord an documented chance to fix the issue.

      However, the issue can’t be arguable. If there is some mold in the window sill, and a little bleach on a rag would clean it up, it’s hard to call that an issue of habitability. If there is obvious mold coming from inside the wall, then that’s a different story.

      A landlord does have a responsibility to ensure that the windows are secure, but as long as they aren’t fire exits, the landlord could simply nail them shut, and it would “fix” the problem – albeit it’s not the best solution.

      My point is that before you go announcing that your unit is “uninhabitable”, be sure that the majority of people in this world would agree with you, and that it’s not something you could easily fix. Judges usually see right through someone who is claiming that a unit is uninhabitable, but also conveniently got a job in another city at the same time – not that you’re doing that. I’m just saying.

      It you are serious about breaking your lease, I highly suggest you get legal advice from a lawyer before proceeding. I’m not a lawyer, so please don’t consider this as legal advice.

  • Barb Forrest

    You can walk out if you have a gas leak otherwise you must give the landlord written notice of the condition and a “reasonable” time to repair. You may not withhold the rent or he can begin eviction proceedings. If he doesn’t make the repairs, you may take him to court. However, if you or someone you invited in caused the damage to the windows which then resulted in the mold, the warranty of habitability does not apply. See section 38-12-505 of the Colorado revised statutes -available free through LexisNexis. Functioning windows are for sure covered by this as well as any condition that is materially dangerous or hazardous to your life, health or safety. He may also move you to another comparable unit and pay reasonable costs to do so.

  • Barb Forrest

    They can’t nail the windows shut. Working doors and windows is part of the statute.

  • Jan B.

    I am entering a lease just now, and the property has not yet been possessed. However, the rental agents did not tell us that the garage door did not have two working garage door openers until after the original possesion date.

    This issue, while it does not affect ‘habitability,’ is a material fact that was not disclosed by the owners or property management company.

    Is there a standard for ‘reasonable expectations’ for a garage? How many 2-car garages in the Denver Metro area do not have working garage door openers?

    I hope that I have a leg to stand on.

    JB

  • Barb Forrest

    I don’t think that’s required but the good news is, you can pick one up yourself. Just look on the motor and get the make and model number, some are remotes can be used with different makes.

    I do recommend making a list of everything lacking or broken at the property and sending your landlord a copy. That will give you some protection if later he claims he gave you two. Photos would be good too.

  • Jan B.

    It’s not that easy . . the property managers (PMs) had the current garage door opener evaluated.

    It is so old that the ‘new’ remotes need to be custom-calibrated to the proper radio frequency to work. The expense is somewhere close to the cost the range of purchasing a new door opener unit, which usually come with two openers. ‘They’ are ‘considering their options.

    tks for the suggestion,

    JB

  • Thomas

    Lucas,

    I’m renting out a room in my home on a month to month basis. A lease was never signed. How much notice is needed when I ask the tenant to leave, and what can I do if he doesn’t comply?

    Thank you.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Thomas,

      Check the “notices” section in the article above.

      If the tenant doesn’t vacate by the time lease ends, then you have to file an eviction lawsuit with your local courthouse. Then the sheriff will come to remove the tenant by force. You are not allowed to lock the tenant out.

  • Corey

    I’ve a few questions. If a water main is turned off due to a water main leak, wouldn’t the water in the whole neighborhood be out? Not just one house? NO WATER ALL DAY!!! Where do I go to the bathroom? Wash dishes? Brush my teeth? The leasing company claims that a water main is shut off due to a leak but will have a plumber out in the morning… pretty sure that a water main doesn’t service just one house.
    Also, if a house can’t handle running a 900 W microwave without tripping the breakers, would that be a fire hazard? I just microwaved a Boston Mkt dinner… I had to go out and reset the breaker FOUR times, plus, had to turn off the lights and unplug the refrigerator!!!
    Not to mention that there are no smoke detectors and no carbon monoxide detectors in the house… even though the lease states that both WILL be provided.
    Oh and, out of the 6 windows in this apartment, ONE opens. Fire hazard?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Corey,

      It’s nice to meet you.

      The “water main” usually refers to the main pipe that searches each house. Each house has a water main that can be shut off.

      Re: the microwave, I’m sure the house can handle it, but perhaps not on the current circuit that it’s plugged into. I have no idea if it could be a fire hazard. Usually the breakers do a good job of preventing an overloaded system. Try moving the microwave to another outlet, or reducing simultaneous usage of other heavy usage appliances when running the microwave.

      The landlord should provide and install smoke and CO detectors. No ifs ands or buts about it.

      Windows: I don’t know if it’s fire hazard as long as you have 2 forms of egress, but non-functioning windows can effect habitability.

      Keep in mind, I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice. I’m just a landlord trying to help :)

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