Colorado Rental Laws

Written on December 19, 2012 by , updated on July 21, 2018

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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1,325 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Alan

    Anyone know where you report an apartment complex that refuses to fix a lack of hot water? Multiple maintenance requests have been met with a statement that the boiler is working at the right temperature. This doesn’t change that there is frequently no hot water. The other excuse is that everyone gets ready at the same time, yet the lack of hot water happens in the morning, 11am on a Sunday, in the evening when it is time for my kids bath. This is Arvada in Jefferson county.

  • re-letting fee - worth fighting?

    I broke a lease with Greystar a few months ago. I gave them a full 60 day’s notice and they were able to occupy the unit in that time period. They did not allow me to find a sub-lessor, which I could have easily done. Instead I gave the 60day notice but am now being charged a re-letting fee of 2 month’s rent ($4,260) which I feel is excessive. There is no way it cost them ~$4k in “liquidated damages” to fill an apartment in a desirable neighborhood; essentially they are stating that re-listing it on their website cost them this much. I asked for an itemized statement of how they justify that figure which of course cannot be provided—they’re simply leaning on breach of contract.

    Is this worth fighting? I paid every cent of principal I owe

    • Stacy

      Is the amount they are charging you in your lease? Always follow your lease, if it does say a 2 month re letting fee you need to follow that. Most companies have a lease break fee.
      I’m not an attorney, so please do not take this a legal advise. I am a landlord.

  • LeRoy Marquez

    Gave notice to terminate lease on 2/13, required 60 day notice ends 4/13, per lease, must pay rent to end
    of month 4/30. Move out date is 3/10. End of lease is 3/31. Actual rent payments required become full month of March and full month of April. I think 60 days is unreasonable and the additional 17 days is a ripoff. Also, what if they rent the unit between 3/10 and 4/30? Collecting rent from 2 tenants is wrong, right? Paying rent through 3/31 seems more reasonable.

  • Sherri

    Quick question !

    Is is lawful for a property owner to charge an administrative fee every year for lease renewal? Mine is at $100. Its not like they have to run a background check or credit check like thy did when I first submitted my application. And to add insult to injury they also increased he rent by $100 at renewal.
    Your thoughts…..

  • William

    Recently moved out and got 100% of security deposit back (non-refundable pet deposit excluded, to shampoo carpet). After our final walk through, was given the check back, and now they discovered the entire carpet needs replacing, asking me to return the entire deposit. Did I waste my time cleaning only to lose the deposit anyway? Was there 2.5 years, is there any “wear and tear” clause that landlord would be responsible for a percentage of?

    • Joe

      Carpet cleaning is part of normal wear and tear, asking you for your deposit back is kinda odd to say the least. the cleaning crew probably did damaged that they are blaming on your pet. was the carpet brand new when you moved in? if not i would write a letter telling them !) you paid a damage deposit for the pet in addition to the damage deposit as required per the lease inception 2) you were a perfect tenant that they never had any trouble with 3) state that there was a walk through with a representative of the complex and no mention of the carpet being beyond regular use. Tell them that you caused no damage to the carpet and you are simply under no obligation to pay for the alleged damage. you will win if you go to court.

  • Karolyn Fuller

    Hi Lucas. My husband and I have been renting a nice apartment in Aurora, Colorado since October 2017. It was noted in writing on our walk-through that the gas fireplace was not working in our unit. We had specifically requested a unit with a fireplace. I have asked in writing many times for it to be fixed. After months of pleading, they ripped the gas unit out, along with the surrounding area, shut off the gas line, put in an electrical outlet, and a space heater. The surrounding area which they destroyed is hideous. I have pleaded for months and all I get is a runaround about how they are talking to contractors. It is depressing and embarrassing. Can we sue for breach of contract, or repair it and deduct it from rent? Thanks for any help.

  • Keleigh Thompson

    What are the rules for a Landlord to sell the home and notify tenants of new Landlord? Can a tenant default the lease if a new landlord is in place?
    Is there a form for for transfering from the old Landlord to New?

  • Deborah

    Weld Conty Co.Live in landlord gone crazy. My 70yrs Husband with dementia lost his job so we got 1 mo.behind in the rent and we were going to move .March 1st 2018 she comes home drunk with her brother & muscleman bully who proceeds to pick me up rips the necklaces off my neck etc.They take are phones my purse keys etc. By force which she locks in her room. Cops come we are allowed back in She lied and had a guy who said it didn’t happen .She stole our tv. Cops come back 20 minutes later nothing can be done .Several other things happen She now has taken a restraining order against me not served as I left still no eviction notice because reporting the income will get her a medicaid fraud charge .She had our truck towed I’m homeless no

  • jwrenter

    I rent an apartment in Castle Pines. There is a serious problem with the HVAC system pulling unbelievable amounts of dust into my apartment. The maintenance people have been very good and have attempted to fix this problem 9 times. Last month, they were amazed to find that after cleaning all the ducts, they were filled with white dust substance. One of the representatives commented that this apartment may have been one that had a fire years ago leaving piles of white dust in the attic. My electronics and belongings are covered. After months of respiratory problems, we need a resolution. Management has offered a different unit or releasing me from my lease but refused to pay for moving expenses. Is this something I should demand?

  • Tony V.

    My son was living in atown house and the Heating system failed during the winter in Boulder. The landlady (Sherri) sent her handyman over numerous times and the heat would turn on for a while then kick off. Some times he. the heater would run but there were mornings when the apartment was in the 40s. He was sick all winter and could not get rid of the cold due to the lack of heat in the apartment had a a cold all winter. Sherri finally sent over a real HVAC tech and he found a loose wire, but it still does not work. I moved out at the end of my lease (end of March 2018), but have not received my deposit back. How Do I take legal action for failure to provide a working heating system and failure to return my deposit.

  • Ricky

    I have a property mgr for a home I own in CO. The current tenants started on a 1-yr lease and due to some compliance issues they were allowed to stay on with a M2M lease for the past 18 mos. This yr, I decided I wanted to sell the home. The tenants were given 60 days notice to vacate. The property mgr also coordinated a day/time for a realtor to stop by with a potential buyer and the tenants refused to allow entry. In addition, they did not move out by the 60 days. They have since taken the property manager to court and were granted time to move out; also with the judges ruling to pay 2 mos rent. They’ve since found a place to move but have not paid rent and have threatened to sue me/the PM for ?? (I have no idea). My rights?

  • JL

    I have been in my apartment for one month. IT came with a window AC that the previous tenant left, which the landlord pointed out to us and said we were lucky. That window unit completely leaked while I was out at work for about 10 hours. Now the wood floor is damaged, Is this my responsibility. I have never touched nor repositioned the unit. There is nothing in lease regarding AC units.

  • Tommy

    Is it legal to rent a room out that is only a bedroom and bathroom. No kitchen, no sink other than the bathroom one and no shared common rooms beside hallway to room.

  • Carolyn Basore

    Does Jefferson County Colorado require any special licensing to rent rooms in your personal home. Specifically to rent bedrooms in your personal home that you live in.

    Thank you very much,

  • Amanda Mikesell

    We gave the required 60 day notice, emailed with our apt number very visible asking what date we had to move out as we thought it was the 19th, the Ast. Mgr emailed back it was the 7th and what our final rent amount would be. We moved out and turned in our keys on the 7th, this gave us little time, we had to spend a huge amount to move out quickly as this made it 2 weeks until we had to be out. We couldn’t even schedule a professional cleaning in that time. When I turned in our keys I was told no one was moving out on this day. Talked to the manager a few days later and she said regardless of what her assistant manager told us we have to pay until the 19th even though we have it via email otherwise. Help!

  • Michael

    Does anyone know if the pet deposit in Colorado can be applied to repairs/damage. I am being charged for damage by the cats we had (urine permeating the flooring), or am I just out of luck?

    copied from the lease

    PETS: Tenant shall be entitled to keep two (4 household domestic cats as household pets, in accordance with the Homeowner’s Association policy and the Landlord’s prior approval- NO OTHER PETS ARE ALLOWED DURING THE TERM OF THIS LEASE. Tenant shall pay to Landlord anon-refundable pt cleaning fee of THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($300.00) upon first day of occupancy

  • Randy McBride

    My a/c quit working about 4 months ago I have told my landlord about it. I was told that the owner was not going to replace it because he was not going to buy any for the apartments where I live. I have lived here for 4 years and the a/c was here when I moved in very apartment here has a/c. What can I do?

  • Lynn

    My tenants moved in on Saturday. Today (Tuesday) I go over there to fix somethings they requested and I see that there is a hole in my carpet from them moving in their dresser. Liked they dragged it in. It is right in the doorway. How do I handle the deposit for this damage, as they have a year lease?

    I took a picture of it and emailed them as to what happened so there is a record to show that the damage was done a few days after they moved in and not wear and tear.

  • Meghan McManus

    We are listing our rental property and would like to take updated photos of the house. Our current tenants are reluctant to have us take photos with their personal items still in the home. We completely understand, but would like to know for future reference what the law states on this subject. Thanks!

  • Jessica Rose

    Quick question

    I live in an apartment complex that only has 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. I have been noticing lately that there are multiple families with kids of both sex living in a 1 bedroom apartment and then another has about 6 guys living in a 1 bedroom apartment. Is that even legal? Because I have noticed on my Rent bill I receive the charges in water usage has gone up, as well as paying for exterminator to come in and clean those 2 specific apartments telling me because they are dirty tenants I have to pay for it. This apartment complex has pretty much gone to hell since this property management took over not even a yr ago.

    Any feed back on what I can do would be greatly appreciated. I mean my hallway stench makes me puke

  • Casey Pastine

    Our apartment building (South Metro Housing Authority Amity building) requires all tenants to wear shoes in the common areas. This is the first building in the Denver area that has posted rules about this. I don’t see why I have to wear shoes to get my laundry or get my mail. Can they void my lease over this?

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