This 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
- Colorado Revised Statutes – Tenants and Landlords
- City of Boulder – Landlord Tenant Handbook
- City of Fort Collins- Landlord Tenant Handbook (PDF)
- Denver Code of Ordinances – Chapter 27 – Housing
- Department of Local Affairs – Colorado Renter’s Guide (PDF)
- 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. The landlord must return the “full” deposit, unless there are reasons, as specified in statute, to withhold a portion or entirety the 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).
- Permitted Uses of the Deposit: The landlord can withhold portions, or all, of the deposit to pay for past due rent, unpaid utilities, repair work needed for damages beyond normal wear and tear, cleaning that the tenant has contracted for, and “abandonment of the premises.” (C.R.S. 38-12-103(1)).
- 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)
- Small Claims Court Limits: $7,500 (C.R.S. 13-6-403)
- Eviction Cases Allowed: No (C.R.S. 13-6-403-2c)
- Colorado Small Claims Court – Local Practices
- Colorado Small Claims Rules (PDF)
- Colorado Small Claims Handbook (PDF)
- Business License required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
- Colorado Judicial Branch
- Colorado Division of Insurance
- Colorado Consumers Guide to Insurance
- Colorado Attorney General
- Colorado State Bar Association
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Colorado
- Colorado Affordable Housing Guide (PDF)
- Colorado Homeowners Assistance Programs
- Colorado Renter’s Guide (PDF)
- Colorado Division of Local Affairs – Housing
- Colorado Division of Real Estate
- Colorado Association of REALTORS®
- Colorado Legal Services
- Colorado Landlord Tenant Resources – via The Action Center
- Colorado Landlord Tenant Counseling – via The Action Center
- Apartment Association of Metro Denver