Colorado Rental Laws

Written on December 19, 2012 by , updated on March 13, 2019

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This article summarizes some key Colorado Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.

With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.

You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may have a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

Official Rules and Regulations


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. The landlord must return the “full” deposit, unless there are reasons, as specified in statute, to withhold a portion or entirety the deposit. (C.R.S. 38-12-103(1))
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: One Month, unless previously agreed to other deadline but never more than 60 days. (C.R.S. 38-12-103) If hazardous conditions force tenant to vacate, Landlord must return the deposit within 72 hours (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays) (C.R.S. 38-12-104).
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit: The landlord can withhold portions, or all, of the deposit to pay for past due rent, unpaid utilities, repair work needed for damages beyond normal wear and tear, cleaning that the tenant has contracted for, and “abandonment of the premises.” (C.R.S. 38-12-103(1)).
  • Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: No Statute
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
  • Failure to Comply:
    • If the landlord fails to provide the tenant written notice of withholdings and other required information within the time limit, the landlord forfeits of all his/her rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit. (C.R.S. 38-12-103(2))
    • The willful and wrongful retention of a security deposit in violation of this section shall render a landlord liable for triple the amount of that portion of the security deposit wrongfully withheld from the tenant, together with reasonable attorney fees and court costs. (C.R.S. 38-12-103(2) and (3a))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute
  • Late Fees: No Statute
  • Application Fees: No Statute. Use Cozy to avoid charging application fees because the tenant pays for the credit report directly.
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute
  • Returned Check Fees: No Statute. I recommend using Cozy to collect rent online to nearly eradicate late payments.
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Issues of Habitability: Yes, with restrictions (C.R.S. 38-12-507)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No Statute
  • Landlord Allow to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: Yes, if the lease allows it. (C.R.S. 38-12-507-2)
  • Restrictions on Handling Abandoned Property: Yes (C.R.S. 38-20-116)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: No, Under the “benefit of the bargain” rule, an innocent landlord is entitled to recover only the amount of damages required to place it in the same position it would have occupied had the tenant performed according to the terms of the lease. Schneiker v. Gordon, 732 P.2d 603 (Colo. 1987).

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate a Lease with a Fixed End Date: No notice is needed as the lease simply expires. (C.R.S. 13-40-107-4)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Yearly Lease: 91 days (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1a)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – 6 Months or Longer, but Less than 1 Year: 28 days (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1b)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – 1 Month or Longer, but Less than 6 Months: 7 days (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1c)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – 1 Week or Longer, but Less than 1 Month: 3 days (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1d)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Less than 1 Week: 1 day: (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1e)
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Eviction Notice for Nonpayment after Notice of Nonpayment is Served: 3 days (C.R.S. 13-40-104-1d)
  • Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: 3 days to remedy or quit (C.R.S. 13-40-104). Repeat violations are grounds for immediate lease termination. (C.R.S. 13-40-104-e.5)
  • Required Notice before Entry: No Statute
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No Statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No Statute, but reasonable entry during an emergency is always allowed.
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No, and tenant can sue for damages (C.R.S. 38-12-510)
  • Self-Help Evictions Allowed: No, unless promulgated by the state board of health for the cleanup of an illegal drug laboratory or is with the mutual consent of Landlord and Tenant. (C.R.S. 38-12-510)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No, and tenant can sue for damages (C.R.S. 38-12-510)

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Adopted the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA): No
  • Landlord is not required to look for or rent to a new tenant while previous tenant still has an active lease.
  • Landlord’s Duty to Provide a Habitable Premise (C.R.S. 38-12-505):
    • Waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls maintained in good working order, including unbroken windows and doors;
    • Plumbing or gas facilities that conformed to applicable law in effect at the time of installation and that are maintained in good working order;
    • Running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times furnished to appropriate fixtures and connected to a sewage disposal system approved under applicable law;
    • Functioning heating facilities that conformed to applicable law at the time of installation and that are maintained in good working order;
    • Electrical lighting, with wiring and electrical equipment that conformed to applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order;
    • Common areas and areas under the control of the landlord that are kept reasonably clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, and garbage and that have appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin;
    • Appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin throughout a residential premises;
    • An adequate number of appropriate exterior receptacles for garbage and rubbish, in good repair;
    • Floors, stairways, and railings maintained in good repair;
    • Locks on all exterior doors and locks or security devices on windows designed to be opened that are maintained in good working order; or
    • Compliance with all applicable building, housing, and health codes, which, if violated, would constitute a condition that is dangerous or hazardous to a tenant’s life, health, or safety.
    • No deficiency in the common area shall render a residential premises uninhabitable as set forth in this section, unless it materially and substantially limits the tenant’s use of his or her dwelling unit.
  • Domestic Violence:
    • Tenant may terminate a lease early in special circumstances involving sexual assault, sexual abuse, or domestic violence but Tenant may be responsible for 1 extra month’s rent. (C.R.S. 38-12-402-2)
    • Landlord cannot terminate the lease of a victim of domestic violence. (C.R.S. 13-40-107.5-c)
    • Landlord may require proof of domestic violence status. (C.R.S. 38-12-402-2)
    • A landlord shall not include in a residential rental agreement or lease agreement for housing a provision authorizing the landlord to terminate the agreement or to impose a penalty on a residential tenant for calls made by the residential tenant for peace officer assistance or other emergency assistance in response to a domestic violence or domestic abuse situation. (C.R.S. 38-12-402-1)
  • Retaliation:  A landlord shall not discriminatorily increase rent or decrease services or by bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession in response to the tenant having made a good faith complaint to the landlord or to a governmental agency alleging a breach of the warranty of habitability. (C.R.S. 38-12-509)

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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1,350 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Eerin L Houck

    One month after moving into a small apartment managed by a Management Company the clothes dryer stopped working. When the Property Management Office was notified, they informed me that I am responsible for any repair costs. Am I wrong in believing that as a renter I am not responsible for the maintenance of provided appliances…. help.

    • Joseph

      We have been having issues with the boiler at a rental unit leaving our renters without heat and hot water for ~12 days of the month. We feel we have been reasonable in trying to rectify the problem including providing multiple electric heaters, driving 200+ miles to expedite the delivery of a repair part, working to expedite the repair with the contractor, even offering they stay at our personal unoccupied property within 5 miles of the rental.
      Our renter is asking we rebate an entire month’s rent. They are including their time and heartache as part of the request.
      My question is what is required as far as reimbursement, and also what you feel is reasonable?

  • Rick

    Our leasing agent in Colorado told us the wrong amount of the final move-in costs in an email but then a month later we were told that we were $550 short and received a three day Notice to Evict? Do we have any rights to fight this?

  • lily tierney

    My landlord says i can only have a guest for 14 days per year but my lease only says ’14 days’ and does not specify per year, is there some sort of rule/law in colorado that says it is 14 days in a row?

  • Joy Bostian

    We rent a small area of our home and I would like to know if we are subject to any Colorado laws pertaining to fair housing. We have a disabled couple who want to rent but we do not have the financial means to make the area suitable for them. And we are afraid of renting to someone who might not have the means to keep up with the rent. Fed laws apparently do not apply, but we are concerned about Colorado statutes.

  • Kimberley Hinton

    my apartment caught on fire and appears to be isolated to my unit. everything was off and only the coffee pot and a laptop was plugged in. my landlord immediately changed the locks and stated i was evicted refusing to allow me to go inside. i lost my cat. i was not asked if i was ok or if i had a place to go. they sited smoking in unit as a lease violation- however i don’t smoke. not everything was a loss and i had many valuables, such as jewelry, my medications, etc. is this legal.

  • Tim

    Mother-in-law moved out of a one bedroom apartment after 18 years. It had original carpet, cabinets and kitchen floor. Apartment was pretty worn and minimal maintenance was done by landlord. No security deposit was returned and no statement of damages was provided. Seven months later the landlord is demanding $20K for damages to the apartment and threatening to sue and take the 80 yeast old women’s social security check from the assisted living facility. Can the landlord sue after 8 months after not providing a damage statement within 30 days? Thanks

  • Paul

    Can a landlord make you sign a lease renewal before a certain time or can you sign fairly close to the renewal date? Is there a law in place that governs this or states the minimum amount of time a tenant can sign a lease renewal? Regarding Boulder, CO.

  • Joe Dobes

    We were renting our house and they sold it. My question is we paid a full month rent for September. But the house closed on they 28th.
    Do they owe me three prorated days.

    • Leslie

      It’s a bit too late now, but to answer your question – A lease doesn’t end when a house is sold. Your lease ends when it ends, and the new owner is obligated to adhere to the stipulations within that contract. The new owner can offer what’s commonly called “cash for keys” if they’d like you out sooner. And if there was no lease and you’re month to month, they still need to give you written notice to vacate. Then if you don’t vacate, they can proceed with the normal eviction process.

  • Susan

    Daughter came home to find water coming from under the kitchen sink which had covered most all of her studio rental. Vinyl laminate floors and some indoor/outdoor style carpet pretty much all covered or soaked. Suspect a frozen pipe break eventho she keeps the heat at 60 degrees as required by lease during the winter months. She does not have renters insurance and we are accepting any loss of her belongings from water damage BUT, 1. Is she liable to damage to unit since temp was kept as required and pipe still burst? 2.If landlord/owner is responsible for adequate insulation of pipes, are they negligent and liable for her damaged belongings? 3. If she has to vacate because unit is unnihabitable due to water damage, must she continue to pay?

  • Dennis Beauvais

    Lived here renting from Howard Bishop & Assc (5025 S Federal Blve, Englewood, CO 80110–303 922 6333) for 25 years. I’m retired and get $668 from social security and as of Jan 1st a pension of $909.46 (up from $895). I’m 73 and now for the most recent lease they sent me they want to increase the security deposit and the rent increased to $890 basicly taking all of my pension. Since Patricia took over Bishop she has been increasing rent every year and now wants to increase the deposit as well. I want to know if they can take 1/2 my income and just live on Social Security and a little pet sitting money I have coming in (helping a lady with her pet sitting business). I’ve lived a 1/3 of my life here and I’m getting tired of them taking more an

  • Joe muro

    My landlord comes the day and gives me warning that he’s going to come the next day what’s an appraiser he did the same thing last month what did not show he canceled it the next day I canceled appointments I had but we can do this is there a law where you have to give me a week in advance or two weeks or is it right for him he can come a day before my question

  • Alyx


    I moved into a new apartment. The property charges tenants, through a 3rd party service called ParkM, $8/month for the unassigned parking area. However, the lease says that parking spots are not guaranteed, and in fact it is very difficult and sometimes impossible to find a place to park.
    Are we allowed to be charged for parking if we aren’t guaranteed a place to park?

    Thanks so much!!

    • Alison

      Hello, I have the same question as Alyx – are we allowed to be charged a recurring fee for parking if we aren’t guaranteed a spot? IRET at Westend apartments in Denver is incredibly difficult to work with and continue to change the rules and fees for the worse.

  • Jillian L Poette

    My tenant offered help with maintenance, as I am out of town. Along with that, i also included a clause to paint 2x . Yet he pushed for painting…and as he was helpful, I agreed to go the extra mile with trim and even his color. I located painters, and he interviewed. I moved cautiously, and he later insisted I get it done!. With short notice he says “I’m going away this weekend and I want this done while I am away”. He did not meet with this painter as I arranged, and I cautioned to leave him alone. The kid made a mess/damages. The tenant threatened me and withheld some rent, saying I am responsible. He also charged me for time inconvenienced with a new painter. He is leaving end lease July. Can I keep part of the deposit for unpaid rent


    I have a unique situation my father in law purchased a home for my family when my husband passed. I have the notarized will that willed it to me and my children. In the mean time i would pay the mortage hoa fees and maintain the home. After 9 years he is now saying he is my landlord with no lease and I’ve put in over 16,000 in repairs. Can i withhold rent for the repairs that i have done? i already have a court date for small claims court as well.

  • Jeremy Davis

    can a landlord use a text message an eviction notice?

  • Dr.Jan

    I have a new rental; have not yet moved in.

    The issue is the garage at the new rental. The garage at the new rental has used motor oil all over the floor, and in one corner there is a pool of old motor oil. When in the garage I got a headache & stomach ache just from being inside the garage for a minute. I have a work order from 09/19/2019 at
    that the mgmt co. marked as ‘completed.’ The oil is still there. Used motor oil is a KNOWN toxic contaminant, with lead, copper, chromium, and arsenic as components in used oil.
    The prop. mgmt. company’s manager wants to come and ‘smell’ the garage. An industrial hygienist can evaluate the environment. Smelling is not good enough.

    What say you to this?

  • Cassie

    Hi there.

    We have had a roach infestation for the entire duration of our lease. It is becoming unbearable as we have seen them in our cups, utensils, bathroom, and now above our bed. We do not feel safe or comfortable at home. We have had pest control come several
    Times but have discovered they are not doing the job properly and not replacing traps as they said they have been. I have had to email them multiple times to get management to send anyone and they have refused multiple times to give me corporate contact info. What are our options for lease break or legal action?

  • David Coe

    What is the landlord responsibility for snow removal in Littleton CO?

  • ShaRita W

    Are keyboards entries safe and legal in state of Colorado? I have seen several people break in their own apartments to avoid lock out fees or simply because key card didn’t work.

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