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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968 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Luis

    I don’t know where to start or if I am asking the correct question.

    My partner had a major fire accident at his residence on Sat, 7/25/15. Previously a fire did happen back in Feb 2013.

    Most of the fire damages was in living room space confined to one corner & major smoke damages throughout the entire apartment. The cause of the fire is electrical (wall socket).

    The owner of the building hasn’t made contact with him but did provide him with a notice on 7/28/15 that his rent was going to increase.

    The fire accident back in 2013 the owner did repair the apartment & he did threaten him by saying he still had to pay the rent.

    My partner is Spanish speaking. Unfortunately he did not have renters insurance. Does he have case?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Luis

      A case for what? To sue for property damage due to the fire, or to prevent the landlord from raising the rent.

      Generally speaking, a landlord is not responsible for a tenant’s personal property in situations such as fire, flood, robbery, etc. That’s why many tenants get renter’s insurance. However, if the tenant can prove that the landlord knew about the faulty socket, and failed to take action, then *maybe* he has a case – but please talk to a lawyer (which I am not).

      I don’t see how the fire is related to the rent increase. To me, they have no affect on each other.

      Good luck to you and him. I hope it works out. Please know that this is not legal advice.

  • Nanette

    I own a triplex, three floors, each floor is its own apartment. I live on the bottom floor, and rent out the top two apartments. The tenants right above me have been extremely noisy lately, like banging stomping on the floor, slamming doors, fighting screaming between themselves, and it has become too much for me to put up with any longer. There is a right to quiet enjoyment of the property for others (paraphrased) in their lease. They are month to month as their lease expired a year or so ago, and we have just kept it month to month. At what point can I say they are violating that lease with the amount of noise they are making in the building so I can get them out?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Nanette,

      Good to hear from you again. Sorry for the late reply.

      You do have the right to quiet enjoyment, and if there is ever a major noise complaint, the first step try to talk to your neighbors about it. Perhaps they are just ignorant, and will change their behavior. The second step is to call the police and file a noise complaint about it. They will come and tell them to quiet down. At the same time, notify your landlord to keep him/her in the loop. If you’re lucky, the landlord will act appropriately and terminate their lease for the violation if they don’t quit. If enough noise complaints are filed with the police, the authorities will fine the landlord.

      I have no idea what their lease says, but generally speaking, they are not allow to cause neighborhood disturbances.

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

      • Nanette Reimer

        Thanks, Lucas. I didn’t explain very well. I am the landlord for the building and live in the bottom unit. The people making the noise live above me, and unfortunately are family, that was my first mistake, lol. I need to just give them notice as legally required for a month to month lease and get them out. When I try to talk to them about it, I get no apology and their behavior doesn’t change. If anything, they have just become rude, telling me its none of my business what they do or how they act. Bad situation. Lesson learned…never rent to friends or family, like ever!

  • Barb Forrest

    As an experienced Landlord, even I am confused by the Lease my daughter signed. The notice to terminate is quite unclear.

    2. Term: Landlord leases the Premises to Tenant from 8:00am on the 18th day of September 2014 and until 11:59 p.m. on the 18th day of September 2015 (the “Term”)..

    Tenant must vacate the Premises and remove all of Tenant’s personal property from the Premises before 11:59 p.m. on the date the Term expires. If Tenant retains possession of the premises after expiration of the fixed lease term with the written permission of the landlord, tenant and landlord shall continue to be bound… on a month-to-month basis, payable in advance, and the landlord reserves the right to charge a higher month-to-month rental rate.

    . The lease may then be terminated by either party giving 60 days written notice to terminate.
    If no written permission to retain possession is obtained, landlord may immediately commence eviction proceedings…..

    3. Required Notice to Vacate: Tenant shall give Landlord at least sixty (60) days written notice of Tenant’s intent to vacate the Premises at any time and for any reason, whether during or at the end of the Lease term, any extension, or renewal thereof

    These terms are in conflict. It is clearly a fixed term lease and according to statutes ends at the end of the term, but then there is the required notice clause.

    My daughter has asked the landlord what increase she might expect and the landlord said “substantial for m-t-m”

    But no amount has been given by landlord as to what “substantial” means.
    3. Required Notice to Vacate: Tenant shall give Landlord at least sixty (60) days written notice of Tenant’s intent to vacate … whether during or at the end of the Lease term…Tenant’s notice of intent to vacate shall only be effective on date receipted by LL.

    Then there’s a Lease Break Fee of $4600 (2 months) in addition to security deposit.

    Lucas, what do you think? Fixed term not requiring notice or 60 day notice required?

    9. Lease Break Fee: Tenant shall be liable to Landlord for a lease break if for any reason prior to the end of the Lease Term, any extension, or renewal, Tenant vacates the Premises for any reason without fully performing all Lease covenants including Tenant’s covenant to pay all rent due under the Lease (hereinafter “Lease Break Event”). Upon the occurrence of a Lease Break Event, Tenant shall pay a lease break fee in the amount of $4,600. Tenant agrees that the lease break fee is a liquidated damage amount agreed to by Tenant in consideration of, among other things, Landlord’s waiver to seek from Tenant future rent for the entire amount of any uncompleted rental term, plus re-letting related fees… not sure this is legal!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Barb

      I will admit, the terms used is poorly worded, but most of them do make sense to me. Plus, they are quite similar to the intent of my lease. Allow me to try to clarify what *I think* they are trying to say:

      2 TERM:
      The lease ends on Sept 18, and can go month-to-month with landlord’s written permission. Landlord can raise the rent at that time, and any month thereafter (which is normal with a M2M lease). If tenant says in dwelling after the lease is up, without landlords permission, landlord can immediately file for eviction (which is the standard).

      3. Required Notice to Vacate:
      I understand (and agree) with the 60 day notice of non-renewal at the lease end, or even for monthly leases. It’s quite common for landlords to require 60 days for M2M (I know, it sounds weird). If she wants to terminate it DURING the lease, she would have to give 60 days notice, PLUS pay the early termination fee found in section 9.

      I would assume a Judge would force a landlord to follow the same terms – giving 60 days notice. But I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t really know what a Judge would do.

      By the way I read this, if she doesn’t want to renew the lease on Sept 18th, she needs to give 60 days notice.

      9. Lease Break Fee:
      An early termination fee equal to 2 month’s rent is very common. Plus, many landlords require the tenant to pay any re-letting fees. The general attitude is “The tenant is breaking the lease, so they should have to pay for any costs associated with that.” I can’t say I disagree.

      I hope that helps. I don’t know if those specific clauses are “legal”, but I do they are very very very common.

      I hope you have a great weekend Barb.

      • Barb Forrest

        I too have tried to write in a clause for notice at the end of my one-year lease terms. However, the Colorado statute is pretty clear in that no notice is required for a fixed term lease. Is this a fixed term lease. It has a clear ending time. Can the Lease override this statute? How does a reasonable person make a determination whether to stay when the terms of the contract are not set prior to the required 60-day notification period? There is no clause for notification of rent increase.

        And this particular Lease Break clause is like double jeopardy because there is no release of liability for rerental costs and the like but is considered liquidated damages. I’m not sure it would hold up.

        You too have a great weekend.

        • Lucas Hall

          Hi Barb

          You are correct, the statute says “No notice to quit shall be necessary from or to a tenant whose term is, by agreement, to end at a time certain.”

          However, it does use the term “by agreement”. What if the tenant and landlord agree to 60 days notice in the contract? It’s my understanding that the statutes don’t prohibit someone from agreeing to something else in the contract – but again, I’m not a lawyer.

          A “Break fee” or an “early termination fee”, by definition, releases the tenant from liability. That’s the point of “breaking” the lease and paying the fee. The tenant would no longer be responsible for rent or anything else. Without the termination or “break” as her landlord is calling it, it would simply be a “move-out” or “abandonment” – in which the lease stays active even though the tenant abandoned ship.

  • Krista Thompson

    Hi Lucas,
    We were given 30 day notice to move after being there for over 10 years. They wanted to raise rent! I had asked if the owner started getting serious to sell would they please give us more than 30 days to leave 2 weeks later we were given notice I asked for extra time & told manager we couldn’t be out in 30 days on their notice she also put any debris left they would charge to get rid of. We have not received any letters about our deposit how long do I have to wait before I can demand deposit & interest be paid to us & the 150 gallons of propane they said they would pay us for that was still in our tank. Text messages supporting that. Lived there 12 yrs 1,250. deposit how much they owe us from Colorado thankyou

  • AA

    I’m not sure I understand this. It seems like my landlord can walk into my apartment while I’m sleeping or taking a shower and start looking around. Or am I reading that wrong? It says “No Statute.”

  • Sonu

    Hi Lucas, my husband and I own a family home in Colorado which we rented two years back to a family. We wanted to keep the house pets free so we stated in our lease agreement that no pets are allowed. The property is managed by the property manager and he emailed us few days back if the tenants can have a dog (lab) as a pet. We didnt accept the request, but still they keep asking us to reconsider. The tenants have already got this dog in the house. We also heard from the neighbors that they have some other small pets like hampsters etc which they never disclosed and also they baby sit some dogs occassionally. They are ready to pay the security deposit for the Lab. what are our rights? Can we give them notice to evac? Can we charge pet fee?

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