Colorado Rental Laws

Last updated on September 29, 2016 by

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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1,263 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • CMS

    I am a female living in an apartment building in an up and coming neighborhood in Denver. My lease ends in June of 2017. I have noticed there is a Salvation Army less than a mile from my residence acting as a shelter. There is a community of cars and tents surrounding it. I recently discovered the Salvation Army is housing sex offenders whom have no other place to go. I was not informed of this upon my move in date. I no longer feel safe in my neighborhood, I cannot walk my dog. Can I terminate my lease legally?

  • Tracy Binol

    I lived in an apartment for 5 years. After we moved out instead of receiving a check for my returned security deposit, I received a bill for $17.00. At some point our refrigerator had to be replaced, and the replacement had cheap, flimsy bars in the door. If you put anything on the door shelves the plastic bars broke. We had them replaced twice with the same thing, and then decided to just duct tape them. They charged us $40.00 for each bar which we duct taped to make useable. The reason we moved was the increased noise in the apartment and black mold, which contributed to my poor health, and many doctors visits and drugs. Do I have any recourse?

    • Barb Smith

      My landlord flipped a parking block over to expose the two rebars & filed them into a sharp point. Not knowing this, I parked & damaged my car. When I reported this, he raised my rent for complaining.

    • Barb Smith

      My landlord flipped a parking block over to expose the two rebars & filed them into a sharp point. Not knowing this, I parked & damaged my car. When I reported this, he raised my rent for complaining. He stated this is a new policy. Landlord Retaliation?

  • Leslee

    I rented in a mobel home park for 2 and a half years . I August of 2015 I had a verbal agreement with the land lord to purchase the trailer. I was to fix certain items and so was she . The roof had been leaking threw the vent for the swamp cooler( when it rained) and in the winter with the snow and landlord would NOT cover the swamp cooler. When I was to meet landlord to make purchase I asked for a roof structure test done be cause of the leakage for 2 1/2 years. The day that we were to meet at the bank landlord never showed or called. Three days later landlord text me and said there was not going to be a sale. Landlord gave no reason. 1 month later I am receiving an evection notice.
    I was given 3 days in the middle of a snow storm .

    • venesia Jones

      Signed a year lease landlord has moved back and wants me to move lease is not up til end of may. Should i have to move

  • Ali


    My lease states that grills cannot be USED or KINDLED on balconies. That’s fine, we simply store ours on the balcony, with no fuel tank.

    We were recently told we are not allowed to have grills on the balcony, no matter what. Can they make that change if it was not on the lease that we signed? We do not use it, we literally have no source of fire. I see nothing against it in any Denver City Ordinance. Even if it is a new, universal lease rule for the rental company, can they change it while you live there?

  • Tracy Binol

    Don’t ask a question you want answered, there will be no response. :(


    I have a question I was renting a home gave my notice return keys and they said they would call me to do a walk through never got a call or letter of any type . Months later I receive a letter from collection company stating that i owe 4,900.00 in repairs an back rent. It a company that has so many house for rent all over the states . Can they do that to me and is there anything I can do ?

  • Moriah B

    In the state of Colorado ,(Greeley/Weld area) is it the property owner’s resposibility to keep the living quarters maintained and up to date and not the tenants/renters?
    I am to the belief that it is, even with court-ordered assistance?

  • Frank

    I was notified in March that the people who manage my rental would be raising the rent 1st of May. At that time I told them that I would be moving out. they called me back a couple of times to renegotiate but both times I told them that I would be moving out. the one year lease expired and I was already on a month to month lease. two days before I was to move out they contacted me and told me that they needed a 30 day notice or they would not refund my deposit. I moved out anyway, forfeiting my deposit and turning in keys. now they are threatening with eviction and legal action telling me that I need to pay this months rent because I left some stuff in the apartment and legally I was still renting. stuff that was there when I moved in.

  • Deven

    Ok, so i rented an apartmentin thornton. Signed a 11 month lease, abd from day one ive had now 2 months from the end of my lease and my landlords lost my money orders for rent in march and then had me cancel them which cost $45 so could receive a check back and pay them. So i did and on april 11th i get a letter from western union that they had been cashed by my apartment. When i confronted the office they said that my roommate brought them in and tbey have a witness!?! This was a bold face lie because they weren’t new money orders they were the same ones….. Now they are saying i have to pay all these late charges which i have proof from a picture of her notes that there would be none.. Please help!!

  • tammy

    i just moved in on march 2017, now its may of 2017 i have a year lease now the landlord wants to sell and tell the real estate agent to give us 30 days to move. can he do that

  • Doug

    I signed a 1 year lease in December 2016 but now I have to move because I’m starting a new job in New Jersey. Can i break the lease early because of my new job?

  • Daren Mattison

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  • Florence K Przybys

    Colorado rental is there a 5 years replacement. Law.

  • David

    Is there a law that gives the attendant a grace period until the 5th of each month?

  • Marie

    My tenant caused a fire due to carelessness. Our insurance covered about half of what we had to pay to repair the damage. It caused financial damage beyond normal wear and tear? It is now the end of their lease. Can we keep their security deposit?

  • Alison

    My house is always 80+ degrees on the main floor and 90+ degrees on the second floor. The unit is equipped with air conditioning, but it hasn’t worked in a month. I consider this uninhabitable, but is this covered under 38-12-505. Uninhabitable residential premises?

  • Joe Bussey

    I have a locked storeroom in my house. It is a basement bedroom with a deadbolt on it. At lease signing, I showed it to my tenant who was representing all three of the tenants (two were absent) and have subsequently informed my tenants that it is my private storeroom. They are saying it violates the lease, because they do not have access to the premises. Can’t I have a locked storeroom onsite?

    These same guys also say I can’t charge more if they bring in additional roommates. I believe I can because there are only three names on the lease and a clause about no guests for more than five consecutive nights without my being notified. If they want more roommates, I want additional compensation for additional wear and tear. Am I right?

  • Adam Pearson

    I received a notice from landlord stating I owe $150 and “according to eviction laws you have 3 days to come current or vacate the property. On july 11th I will file a formal eviction with county court”

    At the end :
    Certificate of Service
    I certify that I served the foregoing Notice to Terminate Tenancy by:

    He refused to accept payment of $150 and texted me this instantly after he posted the notice.

    From my knowledge this is illegal as he gave me the opportunity to cure in the letter. Eviction hearing is July 27, 2017. Any thoughts or advice appreciated

    • Stacy

      Hi, we are landlords. If he hung the notice giving you 3 days to pay, he has to accept payment as long as it’s within the 3 days. If he files for eviction, you will need to file a response.

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