Colorado Rental Laws

Written by on December 19, 2012

Flag of ColoradoThis article summarizes some key Colorado Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

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

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

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

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

Official Rules and Regulations


Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No Statute
  • Security Deposit Interest: No Statute
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No Statute
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No Statute
  • Non-Refundable Security Deposit Allowed: No, landlord must return the “full” deposit (C.R.S. 38-12-103(1))
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: One Month, unless previously agreed to other deadline but never more than 60 days. (C.R.S. 38-12-103) If hazardous conditions force tenant to vacate, Landlord must return the deposit within 72 hours (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays) (C.R.S. 38-12-104).
  • Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: No Statute
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
  • Failure to Comply:
    • If the landlord fails to provide the tenant written notice of withholdings and other required information within the time limit, the landlord forfeits of all his/her rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit. (C.R.S. 38-12-103(2))
    • The willful and wrongful retention of a security deposit in violation of this section shall render a landlord liable for triple the amount of that portion of the security deposit wrongfully withheld from the tenant, together with reasonable attorney fees and court costs. (C.R.S. 38-12-103(2) and (3a))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

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

Notices and Entry:

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

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

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

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
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927 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Barb Forrest

    “The regulations provide that a public accommodation may not ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability, but that it generally may make two inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal; it may ask: (1) if the animal is required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. These inquiries may not be made, however, when it is readily apparent that the animal is a service animal, such as where a guide dog is guiding a blind person or a dog is pulling a wheelchair.

    Furthermore, a public accommodation may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Nor may a public accommodation require a person with a disability to pay a surcharge for a service animal, even if it applies such a surcharge for pets.

    These regulations will not apply to landlords or airlines, which are governed by the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act

  • renee suttles

    We just moved into a home in March. We were just notified that our landlord wants to put the home on the market. Houses hy is are selling in days. There is nothing in our lease about selling the home. What are our rights? What if the new owners want to live in home ( we live near air force base and homes here sell quick to military families ). We cant afford to move right now. We did put a large deposit down and that took most of our savings.

  • Jacob Johnston

    Just a couple of quick questions. I have rented the same home for 3 years and am coming to the end of the current lease June 30th 2015. Am I required to fill the holes from pictures and other things hung up on the walls? I asked my landlord and she stated the following:
    Yes, nail holes should be patched and touched-up with matching paint. If you are at all unsure about your ability do this and have it look good, I would encourage you to hire a professional painter – in my experience, The other option is for you to leave it as is, and we’ll have someone do it on your behalf after you’ve moved out. For a final walk-through, that will be done after you are completely moved out and have finished cleaning. If that is prior to the end of the month, let me know; otherwise, I’ll plan to go by July 1 and I don’t need you to be there. I will also have my cleaners go through and do a cleaning evaluation. They don’t re-clean anything, they just complete anything that was missed.Is this OK?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jacob,

      I don’t see anything wrong with what your landlord stated. Further, I agree with Barb’s comment to you – in the comment below this one.


  • Barb Forrest


    I took a renter to court over his patching of nail holes. He had patched holes and painted over them. They didn’t match the texture and since they were painted, this caused additional problems because we couldn’t just wipe them down and start over. The holes were large having held a flat screen. After paint, to repair the texture, you pretty much have to sand down the wall and start over.

    I would patch the holes but not paint them unless the owner approves the patches. The paint touch up could be minor if good paint was used initially. It’s been 11 years and my walls still touch up fine but we use top of the line paint.

    Just trying to save you trouble.

    Best regards,

  • Jan

    This is a Deposit Refund Question: Is there a statute of limitations past which a person may not expect to get their deposit returned?

    My daughter moved out of an apartment late last year (2014) and I helped to clean the place to help to qualify for deposit return. Management sent a letter in 30 d. saying that she was eligible for full return of deposit. Well, it’s been over 6 mos. and there has been no return of deposit.

    What are our options? In truth, it’s still her money. I don’t think there is a statute of limitations on this because they should ‘hold’ the deposit while the renter is there, not keep it after the renter is gone. We are thinking of Small Claims Court.



    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jan,

      Check out the first section at the top of this article, entitled “Security Deposits”

      The most common place to handle deposit disputes is small claims court. But before you file a case, I suggest calling the property manager and try to figure out what happened. It might have gotten lost in the mail, and they might just send you another check.

      Check out Barb’s comment below. She was responding to you, but forgot to click the correct “reply” button so it didn’t get associated with your comment.

  • Barb Forrest

    If they have not returned your daughter’s security deposit – 30 days by statute without a Lease, up to 60 days if stated in the Lease. File in small claims court for triple damages. She will get it. The law is very clear and strict. I lost triple even though I sent a statement of balance due prior to 30 days and full details at about 33 days. I did recover damages – deducted from the triple award.

    Good luck.

  • Dennis Siefker

    Hello, I have a question on any Colorado statute that may regulate how much a landlord can increase rent to an apartment? I have recently been instructed by my current leasing agency that my rent is going to be increasing from $1030.00 to $1360.00. I know that this is a 25% increase i the rent. I was uncertain of any laws that protect renters that cover this case. Thank you for any advise I may be able to get.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Dennis,

      Not that I know of.

      25% increase is very high, and you might just have to negotiate it down, or get a judge to rule in your favor.

    • Barb Forrest

      It seems your landlord is taking advantage of the massive increase in population in Denver and the lack of affordable rental units. I think you’re stuck moving or paying more. Rents are not regulated unless you have enrolled in some type of affordable rental program such as the one they have in Aspen. Prices are always supply and demand.

      I could easily increase my income by raising rents that much but I like my tenants and prefer to keep them. Every time someone moves it costs the landlord time and expense … sometimes the whole month worth of rent.

      Good luck.

  • Danielle Ghear

    I am very interested in the Colorado Laws, if any, which discuss “earnest money, application fee, or holding deposit.” These are all separate from a security deposit, in most cases, but I cannot find anything about the legality of them, or terms in which they can be withheld. As their is no damage to the property, as no one has moved in to damage it, what can a landlord claim as a cause to retain deposit?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Danielle,

      I couldn’t find anything in the CO statutes about them either, though I’m not a lawyer.

      Generally speaking, a earnest money deposit and a holding deposit are the same thing. It’s a deposit that gives the landlord security to take the unit off the market. Otherwise, the landlord should give the unit to the first person who signs a lease. It’s usually a voluntary payment made by the tenant while undergoing the application process – to ensure that the landlord doesn’t give the unit to someone else.

      If the tenant backs out before signing a contract, by their own free will, they will lease the earnest/holding deposit. When a tenant backs out, the landlord lose the time that the unit was off the market. The landlord can’t get that time back, so neither should the tenant get the money back. It’s not about physical damages to the unit, but rather the advertising time lost.

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

  • Mikea

    Ok I have a few questions I am renting a house and first my landlord rent us this house with tenants still living here. Also he promised to put blinds in and smoke alarms and has still not done so. Yesterday we had an outlet almost catch on fire. We have also discovered mold which we told him about and he did nothing so we had to call and have some come get rid of it which we found from that a hole in the roof, which we paid to be fixed. Also on our lease he states that we moved in on a certain date which we did not. So does that make the contract void?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Mikea,

      I’m sorry to say that I wouldn’t be able to tell you about the legality of your situation – that’s what lawyers do. Further, much of your situation depends on the severity of the mold, and the actual wording in your contract as to if the landlord failed to keep the terms. My suggest would be to get real legal advice from an attorney. Good luck to you.

  • derek

    I moved into a house ive rented. 70 days ago and for 60 days ive been telling him its leaking water out my walls i have videoa of water puring out my walls my house smells like mildew its so bad the water is dripping out my light fixtures ok i told him i am moving so he brings his handy man over and puta dirt down to stop the leaks turns out the repair man is a bum and geta drunk sleepa in my yard then they cut some of my carpet out and i have a cement slab now for a week plus my sink has water coming up out the drains. Ive asked to get my deposit back so i can move and he threatens to sue me what can i do please help ive called everyone and cant figure it out im stuck in this nasty house cause i cant afford to move without my deposit thanks..

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Derek

      To me, those issues sound severe enough to affect habitability? If so, you could call the local housing authority, health dept, or code enforcement office and ask for them to inspect your unit. They might fine the landlord or even condemn the place. Alternatively, you could asks lawyer to help you write some stern letters to the landlord that will scare him into letting you go free and clear.

      I suggest tying one of those options. Good luck to you. Please know I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

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