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
  • Application Fees: No Statute. Use Cozy to avoid charging application fees because the tenant pays for the credit report directly.
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute
  • Returned Check Fees: No Statute. I recommend using Cozy to collect rent online to nearly eradicate late payments.
  • 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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1,135 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Amber

    Well, I do believe there are multiple issues and code problems where I have lived for 4+ yrs. It is a 4 plex. My ceiling started leaking 6 months after moving in, NEVER COMPLETELY FIXED. Also believe I can see mold in the huge bubble on ceiling. Entry lights in hallway have been out for a year or more. The security door is broken and serves no purpose. The only other door in building is not able to be opened at all because dead bolt broken. We all have chimneys and never been cleaned since I’ve lived there. I have had to light mine & other tenants furnaces & filters have not been changed. My oven door is one use away from falling off. Etc, etc! I’ve notified landlord. What can we do?

  • Ralph Romero

    First of all i have no heat my hearter went out a month ago and my landlord will not fix it and the panters was painting the building and one of the panters went through the window and the landlord will not replace it i have holes in all my Windows from before we moved in holes in the walls cabinets doors missing broken boors shower faucet not working and now he wants me out so he can fix it and rent it for more money please call me at 720-297-1693

  • Amy

    Our tenant moved out without telling us, but continued paying rent. There have been multiple leaks in the unit that, if caught early, would not have caused damage – but, because we were unaware no one was living there, the leaks caused significant damage to the unit.

    We now find ourselves going to the unit every other day to check on it and make sure everything is okay, which is quite time consuming.

    Additionally, the tenant allowed another person (not on the lease) to live in the unit after she moved out, without our knowledge.

    Since she violated her lease (quite egregiously), are we able to withhold her entire security deposit? Or just the portion used for repairs?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Amy,

      Generally speaking, a landlord is only able to withhold deposit monies for actual damages. If you have receipts for damages (repairs, unpaid rent, or additional fees), then you could withhold that. But you can’t just withhold the deposit because they pulled a fast one on you.

      You can’t expect your tenant to be at the property every day. They are not your unit’s babysitter. They are allowed to go on vacation or long work trips. So while they may be responsible for some of the initial damage because they didn’t tell you that they moved out, you certainly wouldn’t be able to charge for continual damage. It’s mostly the landlord’s responsible to ensure all the pipes work properly – with the exception of an occasional leak.

      This happened to me once, and after that, I added a $500 surcharge per month for any unapproved tenant or subletter. That way, if I found out about it after that fact, I could backdate the charges.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

      • Nanette

        I would love to see the Lease you use Lucas, but I know that is proprietary type information. :-) I have incorporated most, if not all, of the lease suggestions from this website, but I always wonder if have included everything.

  • Carolyn Duran

    Is there a limit in Colorado in respect to how many years you can sign on your lease?

  • Tj Turner

    I am renting a three bedroom apartment I’m being charged full price for three bedrooms I pay extra in water waste and utilities, but in the third bedroom there is no window and no door is there anything I can do about this or can they back pay me for the three years that I have lived here for over charging me for a three bedroom thats really a two??

  • Vicki Befort

    I renewed a couple (with new baby) lease for 6 mo’s with a co signor (Jan 1 – July 1, 2016). After signing the new lease they had trouble paying rent for Jan & Feb. I approached them to terminate their lease and they asked if I would take payment of past and future rent with their Fed tax return and would be looking to buy a house. They paid rent through May 1. I now find out that they are both not working due to mental issues and depression of the mother and the father lost his job to take care of baby. I now have decided to sell my house in May and offered them a way out of their lease. They want to pay May & June with their State tax return. Can I refuse their payment and give them a 30 day notice to leave after May 1?

  • Gretchen

    Landlord has unlicensed business on property, does not pay taxes, improper electrical wiring and power theft from meters, trash and filth in common areas, has been intimidating us, water leaks in laundry room rendering it unusable and will not fix, broken windows, no heat, has a pit bull that has been quarantined twice for biting that has jumped on me and knocked me to the ground, is a felon with drug related charges, grows marijuana outside. We do not pay rent, but are responsible for power bill for entire property, and the bill keeps going up due to his illegal splicing and theft of power. We are stuck due to the power bill, which is upwards of $2000 now. We want to turn him in, but are afraid of being forced out by code enforcement. HELP

  • sue daly

    I signed a lease that would start in 4 months from now. I have had a change in plans and let my landlord know that I need to cancel my lease. I know that I would be responsible for covering the cost for the landlord to advertise and show the property to get it re-rented but they are saying that I can not cancel my lease and only allowed to sublet which will cost $400.00. I believe that I am allowed to give notice to quit and not have to sublet which would keep me responsible for the lease as well as cost me $400.00. Am I not able to give notice to quit/cancel a lease at all?

  • carey

    Question- I am moving to Colorado Springs from out of state. I found a one bedroom apt for rent, and signed the lease. I know I should have seen the apartment in person, but was unable to. It has now come to my attention that the one bedroom is actually more of a studio, as it does not have a door, window, and only half a wall that divides the living and bedroom. Is it legal to advertise it as a one bedroom? I didn’t think to ask if it had a door or a full wall or a window for a bedroom, and apparently the pictures they provided were of units that had these basic things, but not mine. What can I do? I spoke with them and they said too bad. They also advertised central air, and they do not have that either. Please help!

  • charlene

    I am having issues with an ex landlord. First, they bought the house after I had been living there for a year. They did not sign the lease, it is a rental application/agreement to rent form. 10 years later, we get a notice to leave as they “sold” the house. Mind you , no one came to see the property, there was no realtor, open houses etc…. They gave us notice to move and gave 60+ days. we moved in 2 weeks and they want all the rent. They had NEVER been in the home. They bought it site unseen 10 years ago.

    What are my rights with regards to the deposit, interest? wear and tear? no signature or even a spot for a landlord signature on the “application”

    • Stacy

      Hi, we are landlords in Colorado. A few questions. When they bought the house, someone should have contacted you in regards to where to make your payments and where your security deposit has been transferred to. When they gave you the notice was it written or verbal? Did you talk to them about moving before the 60 days was up or did you just move? Have you talked to them regarding your deposit? A lot of owners do not know the law to follow regarding the security deposit. It might be good if you talked to the owners and haven’t received an answer, talk to a real estate lawyer. Just an FYI the lease stays with the property even when sold, so the new owners would not need to sign a new lease, unless you both agreed to it.

  • Sharon

    My tenants signed a 2 year lease in Aug 2015. On Feb 29th they served me with a 30 days notice to terminate their lease pursuant to the Service Members Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. App. Section 535. They received order for a permanent change of station after signing the lease however, in her email she states that they received notice several months ago but was trying to stay in the state because they have been there for so long. The termination of the lease is March 31, 2016. While trying to coordinate inspection & returning of keys on the 31st, I was advised they will not be out of my home until April 4th. Can I charge them for April’s rent? Do I have to pro-rate rent? Can I deduct the full amount of rent from the security deposit?

  • Mary D

    My boyfriend, Our 3 year old lab and myself lived in the basement of our landlords home. We see the landlord on a daily basis.

    A few weeks ago he was put in jail for domestic violence for 10days because he threw his girlfriends cat against a wall and verbally abused her etc. She has since moved out while he was in jail so it’s been just myself, my boyfriend and our dog in the house. After thinking about it we decided to tell him we were vacating because of our safety.

    We signed a 6month lease but will be terminating it going into the final month. We paid, 1st, last and security deposit. Is that a legit reason to terminate the lease? Also, are we entitled to April rent because we were out by March 31st?

  • Deborah I Brewington

    I had to break my lease to get a job in Denver. My lease is not up until July 2016.
    The landlord is holding me responsible till the end of the lease. Which I know is legal.
    But they are trying to rent it for more money than I paid, so it’s not renting because of that.
    Does this void my lease at all? Because they are asking for more rent than was on my lease?


  • Michael Sigler

    The tenants requested early termination of the lease which I agreed to but they refused to sign the simple document. There new termination date has come and gone. They have not paid the rent nor have they completely vacated or cleaned the house. What legal recourse do I have. Thank you.

  • Rain

    I started rented a Carrge house from my landlord about 4 months ago. At the beginning of the month(right after we paid rent) my landlord came to me, and told me I have to move in to the basement. or break the lease! He told me the city inspectors where coming to look at the place and I had to be out. There was a lot missing. No front door, no kitchen sink, the place needed a lot of work. I move in, and a day later I get evicted. Landlord told me I had to the 12th. My friend who co sinned for me on the lease came. He and my land lord moved all my stuff in one day. My landlord keeps my tablet cause “its useful to me” and tells me he will meet me to give it to me, but if I return to the property he will call the authorities!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Rain

      In my non legal opinion, it sounds like the authorities would be on your side. He tried to rent a house that wasn’t permitted and then almost got caught. If I were you, I’d just go get my tablet and then be done with this loser.

  • Tyrone

    We just moved into a place under a 1 year rental lease and noticed the landlord posted the place back on the market but this time for sale.

    What rights do we have if the landlord sells? Will the new owners legally have to abide the 1 year lease?
    What is the worst case scenario for us in this position.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Melissa

      Tyrone, did anyone ever get back to you? I have a friend in the very same situation. Her landlord has placed her rental on the market and she’s not sure what recourse she has. Her lease does not have a termination clause for the landlord…but it doesn’t say he can’t sell, either. Anything you have learned these last few weeks would be very helpful. Thanks!

  • Teri

    I’m an older individual who likes quiet living. When I asked a potential landlord if there were children in my building I was told the law prevented telling me. I did not ask for any specifics, just if there were children. I believe as a potential renter I need that info in order to make the rental decision.

  • jack ridley

    Their was a fire recently at a 112 unit apartment complex on Windermere in the city of Littleton.Only 9 units were damaged but building owner sent notice to vacate to all 112,how is this possible?Did the City of Littleton have any powers to cease and desist action?

  • Maria Hagerl

    Exactly a month ago one of our tenants suddenly passed away. We are a very small company and we lease out office space. Since her death, we have not heard from anyone in her family or next to kin in what their plans are going forward. One month has gone by and no one attempt to reach out to us. Now they’re behind on their rent but what’s worse is being clueless, no communication from the family/etc. Her death had been kept private. What’s our next step? The owners want me write them a letter and slip it under the door. We’ve been calling her phone numbers and they have been all disconnected. It’s very disrespectful for them to keep us in the dark. I don’t even know what to write to them. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  • Alejandra Sullivan

    My roommates and I renewed our lease for the second year. The entire year we didn’t get a gas bill because the apartment complex didn’t pass the gas bill through the company or something. Now we got a bill for the past 10 months. We got a notice if we don’t pay in the next three days we will be kicked out, which completely makes sense. But is the apartment complex in the wrong for not notifying us after the first month or taking responsibility due to their failure with the gas?

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