Colorado Rental Laws

Last updated on June 7, 2016 by

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

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

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

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

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

Official Rules and Regulations


Security Deposit:

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

Lease, Rent & Fees:

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

Notices and Entry:

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

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

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

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
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1,207 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Stacy Gregory

    Hello , When I moved into my house my landlord agreed that he would get things fixed , Such as the patio where wood is sticking up every time it rains , not safe to walk on it dry or not . The bathroom has mold around the tub , Come to find out he moved us in the day after the previous tenants moved out. Nothing was repainted , There is a huge crack in the ceiling that seems to be spreading wide and long. We are getting section 8 , they said they cant make him do the repairs. He agreed to fixed these things , and Here we are almost a year later and nothing. The AC breaks all the time , because he is not trying to replace the fuse box , when asked to fix it , his words were , well I don’t make much off of it , meaning the house.

  • Cal

    Hi anybody who might know. My mother in law’s health has just took a major downturn and she has to move into a nursing home. Does she have any legal protection from being sued for breaking the lease?

  • Michael

    I just moved to colorado recently. I would like to know if my landlord is allowed to charge me fines based on the behaviour of my children. The kids were playing tag my son clibed up on the roof of a maintenance shed, not his brightest move admiditly, and now my landlord wants to charge me a $100 fine for the incident. Is this legal? I cant find anything about it in my lease.

  • Linda

    We have a tenant that is terminating their lease early. Based on case law, I understand that we have a responsibility to try and re-rent the unit in order to mitigate the damages that we would charge the tenant for breaking the lease.

    My question is: If we decide to sell the house in lieu of re-renting, is the tenant let off the hook for any remaining payments due on the lease or would they be responsible for the lease until the property is sold? Had they informed us of their intent to vacate earlier, we would have worked with them and would already have the house on the market and not have any timing discrepancies in selling.

    Thank you!

  • Jerel Sangster

    My landlord withheld a portion of my security deposit citing a cleaning fee of $100. The lease does not state that there will be an additional cleaning fee aside from the carpet. The “move out” sheet states that if cleaning is not done as instructed they will do it themselves and charge $25 an hour. However, we were not given the move out sheet until AFTER we had already moved completely out of the apartment. The landlord also held the deposit for exactly 60 days (moved out on 5/30/16 and received the deposit in the mail on 8/2/16, it was postmarked 7/29/16). There was also no walk through or inspection prior to or after moving in or out. Is there anything I can do to get my $100 back?

    • Barb Forrest

      A landlord has the right to have their property returned to them in the same condition it was when you moved in less any wear and tear. Dirt is not wear and tear. They have a right to charge you to clean if it is dirtier than when you moved in. Your recourse is to take the landlord to small claims court. I doubt that is worth the $100 given the amount of time and effort involved in litigation.

  • Greg Monk

    I recently received notice of intent to enter to perform pest control services on a specific date with a warning a $100 fee would be assessed to units that weren’t properly prepared for this event, providing an explanation a return visit would be required by the extermination company and this would be the fee assessed. The date of service approached, I prepared, The day of service, a 3 person team entered my apt. One person sprayed product on the floor after looking in the cabinets. Our apartment Supervisor waited in the hall and never entered. I conversed with them about my current baiting program I had been using since move in. They left. The next month I was billed $100. They will not respond to inquiry or request to return this fee.

    • Greg Monk

      Today, 30 plus days later the fee has been explained this way. It’s not to cover the return of the pest control company it’s because the pest control employee said my apartment was not prepared. There was never any mention and they sprayed product before leaving. They offered no comment before leaving. Just the $100 charge with no explanation with the next months rental billing. And now the justification for the charge has changed as I dispute their reason for applying it.

  • Mary Jo McLaughlin

    I began renting a house in May 2015 from an acquaintance and we had a verbal agreement only, the amt of monthly rent, I was to pay quarterly HOA fees, and security deposit equal to the amt of one month’s rent. She has informed me that she will be listing the home for sale, therefore I need to find another place. She verbally gave me until September 15th (this was a couple of weeks ago now) because the rental market here is crazy and I work from home. However I have already found a place, how much notice do I have to give her? I have found conflicting info on various sites stating from 10 days to 3 days. Do I have to hand deliver it, and either give it directly to her or place it in a conspicuous place. Also it mentions timing of the notice.

  • Renee

    Ok so my landlord and I had a verbal agreement to pay 750 on the 15th of every month. We have paid rent on time until now letting him know it was going to be late so he made another verbal agreement that we could pay bi-weekly when my fiance gets paid half and half. Now he’s taking back what he said and said we have 3 days to get out now. I have a newborn here as well and this place is a safety hazzard since there’s no smoke alarms and outlets uncovered and non working with his knowledge. What can I do to not lose a roof over my son’s head in 3 days?

  • Chris

    My worst experience was in 2014/15. I loved the house. But as we moved in, there was a sun porch and we realized it was rodent infest in the dirt that the hot tub was they took out. She got a rodent guy, but it did not help. We asked her to remove the rodent infested dirt from that area. She refused. After 5 rodent people we hired, the last one said the house isn’t sealed properly.
    We put on our masks and shoveled rodent infested shit and replaced it with stone. It got better but in the winter, here they come up under the stove She said it had nothing to do with when moved in. Mm hmm.
    water heater was venting gas into our walls. Dryer vent under house, and furnace with flame marks discovered.
    Be wise. Research. Know. Be safe

    • Barb Forrest

      Send a certified letter to your landlord requesting repairs. Rodents are a health threat but not sufficient to move out. You can call the public health agency and see if they do inspections. Years ago back in Pittsburgh I lived in an unsafe apartment. After an inspection I was told to put my rent into an escrow account until the problems were solved. As I recall the basement in this building had extension cords hanging from the ceiling to the washer and dryer and an unsafe back porch. They were told to repair. I reached an agreement with my Landlord to move out so I don’t know if the problems were taken care of or not. The health department was helpful.

  • Tina

    I have a month to month with my renters. I received a offer to sell my rental home and the new owners will occupy. I gave my renters almost a 60 day notice to vacant explaining the situation. I have had people gossip to me that one renter may plan to “sqat” on my property. Did I give them enough notice for colorado law?

  • Reenie Sewell

    I was wondering if my landlord can deside not to renew my lease for complaining about a tennents noise level. i am in section 8 housing and i have repetedly complained about the noise level ; unfortunatly because of my bipolar and schitsophrinic affective disorders the landlord and the police don’t beleive me. i know for a fact that there is a person upstairs that has continuly badgered me i know this because i hear them slam the kitchen doors closed. they either don’t answer the door when the landlord checks or they are lying. what is the best way for me to deal with this.


    Can your landlord raise your rent after you gave your 30 days notice to leave ?

    • Barb Forrest

      What does your Lease say? I give a 30-day notice prior to increasing the rent and it states so in my Lease. If your Lease is quiet on the issue, then yes.

  • Suzie

    We have been living in an apartment in Aurora for almost 3 months and it has been a nightmare. I’ve gotten the management company to credit me one month’s rent, but I have additional concerns. Are they required to complete construction that is up to current standard city/state code? Other than management/maintenance, who can I contact to come inspect our unit to ensure they are in compliance?

  • Stacey

    Who do I call to report the horrible conditions in my apartment building?

  • Brandon Washington

    I have a residential property in an apartment complex renting. And I have a unusually high utility bill that consist of a CAM fee, not knowing what this fee means I googled it. It is applied to commercial properties used for business purposes. Is it legal to charge a resident this fee?

  • Rae

    I just moved into an apartment, i’ve only been living there for 2 and a half days, and we have had to deal with roaches the last 2 nights. My husband also woke up this morning with bites all down his arm. I called the office, the assistant manager told me that i had to give them 6 weeks to fix the problem before i could back out of the lease. Is this true?

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