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

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
  • 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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902 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • TCI

    I am a Colorado landlord. I have tenants that are at the end of a 1 year lease. They have paid late almost every month. April is the last month and rent has not been paid (4/26/15). They sent me a text saying they would not be leaving until 5/4/15 so I will lose May rent as well. The tenant also said nobody would rent it in the condition it is in. I posted a 3 day Notice to Quit today 4/26/15. Advice for next steps?
    TCI

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi TCI,

      Since today is the end of the 3 day notice, if they haven’t paid up or moved-out, file an eviction action in your local court tomorrow.

      Call your tenants and tell them what you are doing and if they leave by the end of the day and turn in keys, you will not file the eviction (which would give them an eviction record and make it difficult to rent anywhere else), AND you’ll give them $200 in cash. ( I know, I know, bare with me)

      Try to motivate them to move out ASAP with this. After they do, then change the locks and start cleaning ASAP.

      If you have a deposit, use it to hire cleaning crews and repair men.

      Turnover the property as fast as possible, and get someone in there.

      Then, tally up your losses. You’ll probably have 1 month’s worth of rent losses (April), but can’t charge them for May if their lease ended on April 30 and they moved out before then. However, hopefully the deposit will cover most of the rent, or your physical damages. It’s not their fault you didn’t line up a new tenant for May 1.

      Then, file a small claims lawsuit against them for any excess debt.

      In my opinion, your goal should be to minimize the damages, get them out ASAP, and get someone else in soon. Because small claims isn’t a guarantee, you need to try and minimize their impact on your finances.

      If they refuse to move out, and they stay into May, continue with the eviction (see it all the way through even if they move out in the middle), get the judgement and ask for monetary damages to. Sometimes you have to file for monetary damages separately, but other times, it can be tied to an eviction.

      Good luck! With all this said, please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. It’s just what I would do in your situation. It would be extremely wise to consult an attorney.

  • chris sanchez

    Hi Matt,

    I have a question , I rent an apartment in grand junction, co. I have been here almost 12 years. I found out about after 2 years that I pay the security lite outside. About a year ago they finally let me deduct $7.00 off my rent. then 2 years ago they hooked everybodys swamp cooler to my water. I am the only tenant paying my own water and trash. Then they let me deduct $5.00 off monthly rent. I am in the process of purchasing my own home thru rd and they know this. Now I got a notice that my rent is going up and I will pay all utilities. but I can sign a years lease. Not happening. Can they make me pay for the security lite and other tenents swamp cooler use. The security lite is not in my lease. Also my apt. has been falling apart for several years and they wont fix anything. cracks in walls, broken back door, counters coming from walls and etc. also since this starts in June, can I disconnect the sec lite since I pay for it?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Chris,

      At this point, doesn’t it just make more sense to leave? You could certainly disconnect the security light, but do you really want to be liable if someone gets hurt because of the lack of lighting?

      I realize that you shouldn’t have to pay for it, but if you take an action that results in an injury, you’ll pay more than $7.

      It’s the price of a burger. Just ignore it, and move out as fast as you can. There are better places, with better landlords out there who would love to have you.

  • sandy bagwell

    I have lived in this senior apt for 4 years, I pay pet rent every month of $25, if my dog becomes a companion dog would this fee be waived. I also paid $150 for a pet deposit along with a $150 non- refundable pet deposit. I will be moving in 6 months and am also wondering if a non-refundable pet deposit is legal or if I can get both deposits back

    thank you sandy

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Sandy,

      I’m not sure. Usually, it doesn’t mean that your animal is exempt from the fee, it just means that the landlord can’t discriminate against you. If your landlord is charging $25 to every other pet owner, then in fact he would be discriminating against them.

      Anyway, I’m not completely sure. I’m certainly not a lawyer so don’t take this as legal advice, but rather just my logical opinion.

  • Paula

    We are at the end of our first year of the lease of our townhome. I have two questions regarding changes in the renewal agreement, both regarding the tenant’s responsibility at move out. First, can the landlord require the tenant to pay for re-keying, even when the locks are in perfect condition and the keys are turned in? And second, can they require the tenant pay for carpet cleaning, even when the carpets are in perfect condition?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Paula,

      Thanks for your question. A re-keying fee is usually frowned upon unless the tenant made unauthorized copies or lost a key. The reason is because they didn’t do anything wrong. They used the locks under normal wear and tear, and the re-keying factor is really just the cost of doing business as a landlord. I’m not sure if Colorado requires a place to be re-keyed between tenants, but it certainly is a best practice. Then again, if it’s in the lease, theres no law that I know of which prevents a tenant from agreeing to it. I honestly don’t know what would happen if it went to court.

      I use Kwikset SmartKeys on all my properties. It lets me rekey each lock by myself within a few seconds. It’s works great. I even wrote a post about it: http://www.landlordology.com/re-key-the-locks-between-tenants/

      Carpet cleaning on the other hand can be required (IMO). This is because no matter how many times a tenant vacuums the carpet, they won’t be able to really clean it until professionally done. And, it falls into the category of cleaning – which is generally acceptable as a tenant expense. Generally speaking, a tenant must return the unit to the condition it was when they moved-in, which adds additional support for the carpet cleaning.

      Please know that I’m not a lawyer so don’t take this as legal advice, but rather just my logical opinion.

      • Nanette

        I LOVE the SmartKeys. For some reason, some tenant’s done like to leave the keys, and the Smart Key offers a very quick and inexpensive way to re-key the lock myself. Gone are the days when you need to call a locksmith, or buy an entire new lock set everytime.

  • GB

    Hi, we own ( fully paid off ) Condo/Townhome in a retirement community complete with garage. All we pay is a $120 a month maintenance fee, for which all they do is mow the lawn, that’s it. My question- is it legal for the landowner to decide when the Swamp cooler is to be shut on or off. They recently ran a new water line across everyone’s roof. The buildings are connected so its just one long line that runs along the top, and now they no longer need anyone’s permission to enter their homes and shut off the water to the coolers, and they didn’t even do a nice job. Its a bent up line just strewn across the roof not even in a strait line, and to top it off they spray painted the line black right as it sat on the roof so now there is a crappy set of black spray lines across a brown roof as well. Around here they like to shut them off a month early when its still 90 degrees and I’m not into that. Can they legally make these kinds of decisions, especially without even telling us.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi GB

      I can’t comment on the legality of what they did, but Colorado doesn’t have a statute that regulates the amount of notice they need to provide. Though it’s socially acceptable to give 24 hours notice before entering a property, CO doesn’t seem to care. Swamp line or not, they never needed to give you notice (from the state’s perspective).

      For the legality of what they did, you would need to talk to a lawyer, which I am not. Please don’t take this as legal advice.

  • Crystopher Akkorin

    My rental property recently changed hands. I have a small amount of back rent due. The old owner claims I owe it to him. The new owner claims that since he now owns the property, I give it to him. Whom do I legally give it to?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Crystopher,

      Hmmmm, that’s a tough one. Since it’s back due rent, I would think that it belongs to whoever owned the property at the time when it should have been paid. But then again, I’m just guessing.

      On the other hand, if you have a balance on your lease, paying the old owner isn’t going to pay off that balance. Your new landlord is the one who has authority over you, and could evict you if you don’t pay the balance. So, for that reason, I’d probably pay the new landlord. That’s just my two cents. I’m certainly not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

  • MG

    Good Evening,
    I am currently renting a condo in Englewood, CO. My lease ends 5/31. My lease states that after 5/31 my rental agreement will continue on a month to month basis. That actually works out great for me because there have been some discussion at work about a possible relocation in the near future. However, I received am email from the realty company, whom I pay rent to, stating that the owners are pleased with me as a tenant and would like to renew the lease for another 12 months at the same rental amount. I replied and stated that my current lease states that after the current lease has ended, the lease will continue month to month and I’d like to do so. I received an e-mail back stating that the owners are not allowing a month to month option and since I have not given notice, they are assuming I am renewing the lease and will send over the paperwork for a signature. Am I not legally able to rely on the current lease? Thank you in advance.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi MG,

      Well, according to your lease, you should be able to sign up for a month-to-month. However, it’s not going to get you very far. As with any month-to-month agreement in Colorado, the landlord can terminate it with only 7 days notice (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1c).

      So if they really don’t want to offer a month-to-month, you might be able to force their hand for the first month, but they will simply terminate your tenancy by month two.

      Further, they could legally raise the rent every month to the point that you wouldn’t be able to afford it anymore.

      Having a month-to-month provides little or no security for the tenant and is really only a good deal if both the landlord and tenant want to entertain it.

      Based on your lease, I think they would have to honor the monthly tenancy for at least 1 month, but that’s all you should expect. And no, I don’t think they can expect you to give notice on a fixed term lease (unless it’s specified in the lease) because a fixed term lease simply expires. That’s the point of having a fixed term.

      If you would rather have a shorter lease, just say so. Perhaps they will sign a 3 month lease.

      I hope that helps. Please keep in mind that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

  • JM

    I’ve recently moved into an apartment complex during winter time so when I went through my inspection of the unit I did not think to check the air conditioning since I did not want it to be any colder for my newborn. Now that it’s spring and it gets hot in the unit the AC does not work. I submitted a request since 03/31/15 & so far 3 people came up to tell us it’s not working. Keep in mind it took almost 3 weeks for someone to take a look. The first time they said they’d call the AC repair man, second they said they’ll be right back but never came back. I’ve complained to the office 3 times & the property manager. They can not give an exact date or time that someone will check it or they keep saying they’ll check it today which no one ever shows up. My daughter is getting heat rash from it being not in the apartment & a fan is not good for a baby while they’re sleeping so what are my options?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi JM,

      I’m sorry to hear about the lack of service. If I were in your shoes, I would go plant myself in their office until they scheduled the REPAIR service. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. If I were in your shoes, I’d tell the manager that if he doesn’t get this fixed in the next 5 days, I’m going to picket outside his leasing office until it’s fixed. You have to be polite but then annoying :)

      You could also call the local housing authority, but unless the temperatures are super high, the lack of AC doesn’t affect habitability. There are plenty of houses in CO that don’t even have AC, although I don’t know where you are located.

      I hope one of those ideas works. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

    • Barb Forrest

      I had a dispute over a dryer with a tenant. We ended up in court over lease obligations. He failed in his false claim over habitability (no the dryer was not really smoking.) My attorney told me my lease did not guarantee a dryer so I was not under any obligation to repair it, even though my lease does state the landlord is responsible for repairs. This did not come up in court so I do not know the opinion of the court. I keep my units in excellent shape including the dryer. I would look at my Lease, the policies of the management company and keep pushing but realize you may not have a legal basis so be strong but not rude.

      • Lucas Hall

        Barb

        Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy war stories from the courtroom :)

        I’ve seen it go both ways: (1) a landlord not having to supply a replacement dryer because it wasn’t mentioned as an appliance in the lease, and (2) a landlord being forced to provide it because it was a working appliance at be beginning of the lease and not doing so would a downgrade of service without a downgrade in rent.

        Different Judges have differing opinions – especially if the rental advertisement mentions a dryer, or AC, or whatever.

        For this reason, if I don’t plan on replacing an appliance if it breaks, I draw attention to that fact and even mention it in the lease. But at this point in my business, I’ve already removed those excessive appliances, or just included them in the lease as an official appliance. Have a great weekend Barb!

  • James

    I’ve rented from my landlord for 5+ years. The firs least was a 2 yr least that ended 4 yrs ago. I’ve been on month to month ever since. My landlord gave me notice of a rent increase effective June 1st. I received the notice May 8th. My rent for May is already paid, on time. I do not want to pay the increase and have already found a new place. I can move in immediately. Question: can I just give the landlord the keys on May 20th? Do I have to give her notice at all? I just want to give her the keys in 10 days time and say “no thank you” to the new increase. Do I have to give notice?

    • Lucas Hall

      Sorry to hear about your rent increase.

      In month-to-month leases, notice almost always has to be given in order to terminate the agreement. Un Colorado, the landlord can terminate it with only 7 days notice (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1c).

      If you don’t give property notice, the landlord could hold you responsible for the full notice period that you should have given, and will likely just withhold your deposit to cover the damages.

      I hope that helps, albeit, it’s probably not the advice you were hoping for. Generally speaking, whenever a tenant tries to retaliate, it never ends well for the tenant, especially if the landlord has a deposit. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

      Cheers!

  • Emily

    My roommate & I recently moved into a new apartment complex. We paid for a 2 bed/2 bath apartment. Management moved us into the wrong unit, 2 bed, 1 bath & refused to just let us have that unit at the normal price for that size. They promised we could have the next available 2 bath at the rate we signed for in our lease. We wanted what we were paying for & we were allowed to move into the correct unit (after 1 month). First, management demanded an extra $30, saying we hadn’t paid enough rent. We showed them our lease & asked for supervisory/owner contact info, & were refused. We wrote an email which management forwarded & the $30 was “waived”. Now they are demanding $152 payment for carpet cleaning in the unit they moved us into on their error in the first place. Nowhere is this in our lease nor in my opinion our responsibility. My fear is they will force us to move when the lease is up by raising the rent. How should we best deal with them? I love the apartment, hate the management.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Emily,

      That situation is ridiculous. You should have been given the correct unit in the first place. Since you signed a contract, everyone has to honor the arrangement – including price. Everything else that happened falls under their mistake.

      With that said, if you trashed the carpet beyond normal wear and tear within the month that you had it, then you should pay to have it cleaned. Excessive damage is always the tenant’s responsibility. However, if it was in similar condition to when you moved in, and only showed minimal damage after a month, there is NO WAY you can be held responsible. Just because you were given the wrong unit doesn’t make you exempt from your actions if you trashed the carpet.

      I wouldn’t worry to much about the rent increase. There’s nothing you can do about it now. A landlord is allowed to raise the rent at the renewal time, and you’ll just have to deal with it at that time.

      If I were you, I’d hold my ground about honoring the lease agreement. I’d demand that they follow it too – which is the point of signing a contract. If they don’t, or expect you to pay something different, then they are in violation of the lease – plain and simple. In fact, I’d probably threaten them that they failed to deliver the proper unit, and therefore owe me a significant amount of rent back for that one month. If they don’t stop pressing the issue, I’d take them to small claims court over the refund. But, I would also know that taking them to court is a sure-fire way to not get a renewal offer.

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

  • Frank

    The only question I have is this,If the rent is due on the fifth of each month and I pay on the sixth that’s 1 day late can he make me pay retroactive from May 1st charging me an additional $70 instead of just the one $10 fee for one day late. I am a senior living on limited income, $70 bucks takes away from grocery,please let me know if this is okay thank u

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Frank,

      It sounds like your late fee is $10 per day, correct?

      Most landlords charge a one time fee of $X, and then a daily late fee thereafter. You’d have to check your lease to see exactly what it says.

      Further, please know that rent is technically due on the 1st, not the 5th. There are 5 days of “grace” where there is no consequence, but once you are outside that period, it’s all fair game, as long as it’s in the lease. Logically, it would make sense to only charge you 1 day of being late, but after all, you really are 6 days late, not 1. It’s possible that a judge might look at it that way too, and ask, why didn’t you just pay on time?

      I’m not sure what to tell you other than it might be best to write this off as a hard lesson learned.

  • Lindsay

    Hello!

    I live in an apartment in Denver and got permission from my roommate to find a subleaser as I will be moving in with my boyfriend next month. My roommate has since changed their mind and will not let me out of the lease. They have had a friend living on our couch for 3 months (they even get mail sent to our apartment) rent free. Is there anything I can do to get out of the lease especially now that my roommate has broken the lease technically with having this squatter living there?

    Thank you!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Lindsay

      Shouldn’t this be a conversation that you have with your landlord, not your roommate? Generally speaking, a tenant has no authority to grant subletting permission to another roommate. Even if your roommate said “yes”, your landlord could still say no, and terminate the whole lease, and hold you responsible for damages. I think you are asking the wrong person.

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

      • Lindsay

        LOL of course I’ve spoken to my landlord about the subletting. The rules are that my roommate must sign off on the new tenant when the new tenant signs the lease. But this also means that if my roommate won’t sign off on the new person living in the apartment, I’m SOL. So I’m wondering if in this case, would I be able to get out of the lease due to my roommate already having broken our current lease by having a squatter.

        • Lucas Hall

          Hi Lindsay

          Ha! Good call. To be honest, I don’t know. It doesn’t sound the approval is guaranteed so what violation would you be citing in order to break the lease? It sounds like a privileged not an entitlement.

  • Shannon

    I paid an application fee and cancelled my application within the time frame in order to get my application fee refunded. The property management company said that Colorado law says that they have 60 days before they have to refund it. I don’t see anything anywhere that I have researched that says this. I can only find something similar in regards to time frame to refund security deposits. Do you know where I can find this “law”? I could really use this $300 that has been in limbo for 6 weeks.

    Thank you!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Shannon,

      I’ve never heard of a “application fee refund time limit” either. Not just in Colorado, but in any state. Most of the time, the application fee is not refundable – ever. However, most application fees are only between $20-$50.

      A $300 application fee definitely takes the cake for the highest fee I’ve ever heard of. What the heck costs $300 during the screening process? Are they sending a private investigator to visit your old elementary school teachers?

      Whenever someone says “The law says… “, I always respond, “okay, great, please show me where…”. Usually they can’t.

      But even if they can’t, there’s probably not a law that says refunds must happen quicker than 60 days, so I don’t know what you could do to speed up this process.

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

  • trit

    I’m on a month to month lease. I’ve been an “ideal tenant” for 8 years. Owner wants to sell property and has given me an ultimatum of buy the house at his price or vacate in 20 days. I also qualify as a disabled person due to arthritic conditions. My business is also based in my home. Between ongoing business commitments, personal circumstances and the current real estate market it is not possible for me to vacate at the end of the month with 3 weeks notice. I need more time.

    What is the law in this matter and what are my options?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Trit,

      Whether or not you have to vacate depends on the type of lease that you have.

      If you have a fixed-term lease, with a fixed end date, then a landlord is not allowed to tell you to vacate just because he/she is selling the home (unless there is a clause in the lease about it).

      If you have a month-to-month lease, the landlord can terminate it with 7 days notice, for any reason at all, according to C.R.S. 13-40-107-1c.

      Here’s a podcast episode that I did on the topic: http://www.landlordology.com/ask-lucas/006-lease-termination-at-sale-of-property/

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

  • Phoenix

    Hello! My (trusted) tenant wants to adopt a large dog and I am for the most part comfortable with this, but I do wonder what my liability would be if the dog should ever fight with a neighbor dog, or bite someone, etc. Is there anything I should/could have in the lease addendum that would address this and protect me?

    Thank you!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Phoenix,

      Generally speaking, a pet’s owner is responsible for the actions of the pet. I don’t see how the landlord could be responsible unless the landlord failed to provide properly locking doors or gates.

      I wrote an article that should help you: http://www.landlordology.com/how-to-rent-to-tenants-with-pets/
      Included in it is a sample pet addendum. Feel free to modify it to include your own limited liability clause.

      Also, I’d strongly suggest that you require the tenant to get renter’s insurance before allowing the dog. This will protect everyone against any large liability claims.

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

  • Jack

    Hi Matt, I live in an apartment in an old Victorian home in downtown Denver. Recently we received a 24 -hour notice that our management was going to bring in pest control and spray every unit in our building for bed bugs and cockroaches. They stated that everything had to be off the floor, pulled out from the walls, washed, etc (the whole nine). I had bed bugs in a building that I lived in years ago and am familiar with the extermination process. I am wondering if I have the right to refuse the pest control people from coming in our unit. Both my girlfriend and I are VERY sensitive to certain chemicals and in the past I’ve become ill from some of the chemicals they use to exterminate. I also feel like 24 hours of notice isn’t really ample enough time to fully accomplish all of the requirements for the spraying. Is there any hope that we can legally refuse our apartment from being treated? Thank you!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jack,

      Generally speaking, a tenant doesn’t have the right to deny entry to a unit if proper notice was given. Further, I don’t suggest denying this service, because it could come back to haunt you. If you refuse service, and they are unable to get rid of the pest problem, the pest control company (i.e. the professionals) could blame your lack of cooperation as the reason, and then you could get pinged with the bill for future treatments.

      I know it’s a lot of work to make all the baseboards accessible, but it sure beats preparing for a court hearing! Just do the best you can – that’s all they can ask.

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

  • Krystal K.

    Hi, I am looking for advice, I recently moved into a large house in brighton, CO with a year lease. Our landlord did not advise us of any issues with the house prior to moving in. A few weeks after we get moved in, rainy season starts and water is leaking ino the basement through doors, windows, the bottom of walls and cracks in the foundation. There is currently plumbing down there that is meant to drain water only the exit drain for the water comes out the basement patio and pumps water back into the basement. We repeatedly have called the landlord to do something about this. She has stated that she goes through a certain plumber and he is cheaper, he will not deal with the problems until the basement is dry, the landlord will not take repair costs off our rent unless we go through this company. The walls are rotting and there is signs of different colored molds everywhere. We have to drain the floors hourly.. What can we do about this?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Krystal,

      It sounds like you’ve done the right thing. Give your landlord a chance to fix the water problem, and if he doesn’t, then you have a few options:
      1. Talk to a lawyer about sending a demand letter to fix the issues, or you could terminate your lease.
      2. Contact the local housing or code enforcement authority. They might send someone out to inspect the premise, and they could fine the landlord if they deem it an issue.

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

  • Julie

    Dear Lucas,

    I think I’m understanding this, but want to make sure. My roommate and I moved out of a place and the last date we lived there was 4/1. In the lease, it states that “one security deposit refund check, if applicable, will be mailed within 45 days after the last day of known occupancy or end of lease, whichever is later to tenant’s last known address. Tenant has responsibility to provide owner forwarding address.” We just received a letter in the mail on 5/22 from the owner with a check for approximately $400 and our security deposit was $1800. The claims were, according to us, ridiculous. However, the envelope was postmarked on 5/20 and the check written on 5/19. It was not mailed within 45 days. According to statute, the landlord forfeits his rights to the withholdings if not provided within the timeframe. Am I missing something? Should we write a demand letter? What has your experience been and what chance do we have to get it all back? Thanks!!

    Julie

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Julie,

      I realize that 4/1 was the last day that you lived there, but is 4/1 the last day of your lease as well. Many tenant’s move-out early, but the lease doesn’t officially end until much later.

      The quote from your lease says “…45 days after the last day of known occupancy or end of lease, whichever is later…”. If the original lease end date was 4/31, then the landlord would have 45 days from that date, unless he/she officially terminated it early.

      38-12-103(2) says “The failure of a landlord to provide a written statement within the required time specified in subsection (1) of this section shall work a forfeiture of all his rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit under this section.”

      http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/colorado/?app=00075&view=full&interface=1&docinfo=off&searchtype=get&search=C.R.S.+38-12-103

      There are also additional penalties if the withholdings were willfully in violation of the statutes.

      If the end of your lease was in fact 4/1, then you could certainly send some demand letters. If the landlord doesn’t respond, you could try small claims court. I have no idea how a Judge would rule. Every situation is different, and a Judge is allowed to consider the whole situation, and enforce the law where necessary. If you’d like a legal opinion, I suggest you talk with a lawyer, which I am not.

      I hope that helps. There’s more links in the sectioned called “Deposits” above. Please let me know how it goes.

  • Richard

    I can’t find the specific statute for this, but I need help confirming what I have been told. If the ownership of the property has been changed or is going to change, does the previous owner or new owner for that matter, have to provide you with some sort of notification that the ownership is changing? If so, how long of a notice are they suppose to give you? Thanks

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Richard,

      I’ve not seen a statute about that either. Chances are good that this is regulated at the county level. Further, if the new landlord wants to get paid, he’s going to have to prove that he’s the new owner, and tell you where to send rent.

      You might want to talk to a local legal aid provider about this. Or easier yet, just have an honest conversation with your currently landlord about it. It seems like a little bit of communication could save everyone a lot of trouble.

  • Thia

    I am living in a house and the lease is up on 6/1. I have lived here for 6 months. My landlord just texted me this morning that she will be taking over the property in one week. She had not sent a letter or notice before today.

    Is that legal to not give notice of non-renewal of the lease?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Thia,

      It’s my understanding that fixed-term leases don’t need a notice – because they already have an end date. Unless your lease says otherwise, there is no expectation of renewal on a fixed-term lease.

      So, technically, a tenant is given notice of termination from the moment they sign a fixed-term lease. Although, it’s always wise discuss any possible renewals well in advance.

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

  • Nanette

    Any tips for having a liquidated damages provision in a lease? Ideas for sample language? I want to add this provision, in addition to a deposit, to cover myself from the tenant who vacates without communication prior to the end of a lease term, leaving me with personal belongings in the apartment forcing me to go through the FED process before I can remove their possessions.

    THANKS in advance Lucas!!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Nanette,

      Even if you put a clause in your lease to the contrary, you’d still have to follow the law on handling abandoned personal property, and outlined in C.R.S 38-20-116.
      http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/colorado/?app=00075&view=full&interface=1&docinfo=off&searchtype=get&search=C.R.S.+38-20-116

      As for other clauses, I suggest you stick to only trying to collect only what damages you have. For example, if a tenant abandons a lease, generally speaking, a landlord can continue to hold them responsible for rent until a new tenant is found. If you are concerned about physical damages, then you should collect a larger deposit (perhaps 2x the rent amount). The statute does give the landlord permission to sell the personal property, as long as proper notice is given, so if you have excessive damages, you could use the proceeds from the property to compensate yourself, and then continue to sue the tenant for any remaining debt.

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

      • Nanette

        Yes, I know, to dispose of property, after I regain possession of the premises after filing the FED in Court, I sent notice via certified mail, and published in the paper, and then had to wait 14 additional days, which I did. The entire process left me with a vacant apartment for 2 months….very frustrating. In my case, my tenant moved out, could not be located to be served, and therefore I could not obtain a monetary judgement for the remaining rent due for the term of the lease, I could only be granted possession. I was able to keep the entire deposit for some of the costs incurred, but it didn’t cover everything. Maybe you are right, I just need to increase the deposit. :-) Thanks for your thoughts :-)

  • NMD

    Home in Aurora. We gave first month and security deposit. While moving in we were told the electric did not work right. Also discovered that the plumbing was backed. They knew about the issues and admitted(email) the house was not ready for move in. It was a week before we had power to the stove, washer, and dryer. And several days on the plumbing. Also other issues that we were told would be fixed and have not been. Exterior door with a deadbolt where the handle should be and an open hole above, it can be unlocked from outside. Trash and glass in the back yard. And more. I got upset when the construction manager came today and was very aggressive with me. He threatened me 3 times to have me “let out of the lease” despite me saying that I didn’t not want out of it, I wanted the stuff fixed. He also said I would be evicted for having medical cannabis(not growing, just having it). There is nothing in the lease about cannabis fyi. I’m afraid we are going to be evicted. Please advise.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi NMD

      I’m sorry to hear about the lack of repairs.

      In CO, a tenant is allowed to withhold rent for issues of habitability (issues that the unit uninhabitable), but there are restrictions to it. I suggest you read C.R.S. 38-12-507: http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/colorado/?app=00075&view=full&interface=1&docinfo=off&searchtype=get&search=C.R.S.+38-12-507

      Other than that, if you don’t want to terminate your lease early, you could call the local housing authority. They might send someone out to inspect and then if they find noteworthy violations, they will fine the landlord until the issues are resolved.

      Alternatively, perhaps you could ask the landlord if you could just get the items fixed, and withhold the cost from rent. Sometimes, its easier for a manager allow that, than try to coordinate the repair.

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

  • Lauren

    My brother is in a situation where he gave a verbal 60 day notice that he was not renewing his lease (which is states in his agreement). The landlords are now saying that the verbal notice is not valid and will take him to court. Does he have any rights in this matter? Is verbal notice okay? She even acknowledged it in a text message.

  • Kenneth lange

    Hi i am a tenant in commerce city co. My landlord sold our rental home to a new landlord. We have been on a month to month since november of 2012, not because we wanted to but our landlord. The new landlord informed us that it would be on the market and shown the home and sold it. He wants us out by june 25th but the previous landlord said we had till aug. the new landlord is helping with rental relocation allowance of 1500$ but because of such sort notice and the previous landlords verbal agreement my question is, should he honor it till aug 5th or could I ask for some more help from our current landlord financially to move by the time hes requesting? Our situation is 3 adults and 3 children. Weve been very cooperative and kept the home well and even the landlords acknowledge this. What are your thoughts on my situation. We started our lease in november 2011 for a full year than month to month after upon the landlords request.

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