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Colorado Landlord-Tenant Laws

Colorado Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for Colorado landlords.  We summarize key Colorado Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  Colorado Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in Colorado.

 

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering Colorado

Colorado landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord-friendly.

There are 5.8 million residents in Colorado.  Major metropolitan markets in Colorado are:

  1. Denver: Estimated population of 2,988,896, which 36% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $1,352.
  2. Colorado Springs: Estimated population of 762,695, which 36% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $1,146.
  3. Fort Collins: Estimated population of 364,444, which 34% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $1,233.
  4. Greeley: Estimated population of 334,700, which 26% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $1,003.
  5. Boulder: Estimated population of 333,476, which 39% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $1,483.
  6. Pueblo: Estimated population of 170,798, which 37% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $781.
  7. Grand Junction: Estimated population of 162,958, which 32% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $928.

 

Jump to Different Colorado Landlord Tenant Laws

 

 

 

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN COLORADO

 

Does Colorado require security deposits? 

Colorado does not require security deposits.

 

Is a security deposit receipt required in Colorado? 

Colorado does not require landlords to provide a receipt of security deposit.  Although it is good practice to provide a receipt.

 

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in Colorado? 

No Statute.

 

 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in Colorado: 

No Statute.  Landlords can decide where to hold the security deposit.

 

 

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in Colorado? 

No Statute.  Landlords are allowed to commingle, although we recommend having a separate account specifically for your real estate portfolio.

 

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in Colorado? 

Landlords are not required to pay interest to the tenants.  No Statute.

 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in Colorado? 

In Colorado, landlords have 30 days to return the security deposit.  However, the lease agreement can allow up to 60 days if all parties agree.  Colorado states the return deposit cannot exceed 60 days, regardless of agreed terms.  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-103)

Landlords have 72 hours to return the deposit if the tenant vacated due to hazardous and safety conditions. (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-104)

 

When can a landlord in Colorado withhold security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit if  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-103(1)):

 

  • Unpaid rent and/or fees
  • Unpaid utility expenses
  • Damage in excess of normal wear and tear
  • Cleaning contracted for by the tenant
  • Abandonment of the premises

 

 

 

Nonrefundable fees: 

No Statute.  Landlords can charge any non-refundable fees they deem fit.

 

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

Colorado has no pet deposit.statutes.

 

Require written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide written and itemized list of damages sent via first class mail to the last known address of the tenant.  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-103(1))

 

What happens to Colorado landlords that fail to comply returning the security deposit?

Landlords that failure to provide a written itemized list and mailed to tenant risk forfeiting their rights to without any portion of the tenants security deposit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN COLORADO

 

Rental agreements required in Colorado:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications.

If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online Colorado rental lease agreement.

 

What are the required lease provisions in Colorado?

Colorado requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • Rent Amount and Due Date
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs
  • Length of the lease agreement
  • Subleasing policy
  • Late Fees and Penalties
  • Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Pet policies
  • Cleaning Fees
  • Other fees

 

Landlords cannot include:

  • Tenants waiving their right allowing landlords to forcibly remove tenants and their personal property without a legal eviction process stated by Colorado law.
  • Tenant waiving the landlord’s responsibility for a safe and sanitary dwelling
  • Tenant waiving their right for remedy of a 3-Day Pay-Or-Quit notice

 

 

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in Colorado: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: Leases simply expire upon the stated date for fixed-end, no notice required.  Tenancies of one year or longer require 91 days notice. (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 13-40-107(1)(a))

Month-to-Month: At least 7 days.  Leases longer than six months require 28 days.  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 13-40-107(1)(b & c))

Week-to-Week: At least 3 days.  Leases shorter than a week require 1 day notice. (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 13-40-107(1)(d & e))

What happens when the tenant remains without consent after the rental agreement expires or terminates?

Colorado requires the landlord to send a 3 day notice to lease the property, providing a notice to quit. (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 13-40-104(1)(d.5))

 

 

Does the lease automatically renew in Colorado? 

Leases terminate upon expiration, unless stated in the lease.

 

Rent Increase Notice:

No Statute.

 

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

Colorado has no statute on grace periods.  Landlords may proceed with Quit-Or-Pay notices the following day that unpaid rent was due.

 

Rent Grace Period for Manufactured Homes:

Colorado has no statute on grace periods.  Landlords may proceed with Quit-Or-Pay notices the following day that unpaid rent was due.

 

 

Prepaid Rent:

No Statute.  Landlords may accept prepaid rent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATE FEES AND LIMITS IN COLORADO

Late Fees for Residential:

Landlords are allowed to charge late fees, Colorado law has no statute.

 

Late Fees for Manufactured Homes:

No Statute.

 

 

 

Limits to late fees in Colorado:

No Statute.  Landlords should clearly define late fees and penalties in the lease agreement.

 

 

COLORADO LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

 

In Colorado, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in Colorado?

Colorado requires a 3 day notice to pay rent, providing a Pay-Or-Quit Notice. (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 13-40-104(1)(d))

 

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Landlords must provide a 3 day notice to cure, allowing the tenant to remedy the issue.  However, if the tenant subsequently violates the lease agreement, they can be served a 3 day notice of termination.  (A.C.A. § 18-17-702)

 

 

Colorado allows immediate lease termination if the tenant is responsible for:

Landlords can only immediately terminate the lease notice when a) the tenant remains after the lease expired and b) the tenant has previously violate the lease agreement and did so again.  Both require a 3 day notice of termination.

 

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How many days when terminating for illegal drug-related activities?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

COLORADO LAWS ON REPAIRS

 

Colorado requires landlords provide a habitable property for tenants to live and enjoy.  There are specific provisions defining how tenants can remedy repairs if the landlord fails to do so.  

How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

Tenants must provide written notice within 10 to 30 days of the alleged condition breaching habitability.  Landlords have 5 business days of receiving notice to remedy the repairs.  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-507)

 

Can tenant withhold rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

Tenants may not withhold rent from the landlords, however after asserting a claim to local court, the tenant can pay rent into the register of the court.  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-507 (c))

 

 

If the landlord fails to take necessary action, then the tenants can legally:

Tenants are allowed to pay rent into the court.  A tenant can recover damages directly from the breach.  The court may also reduce fair rental value on the rental unit until the landlord has remedied the repairs.  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-507 (d))

 

 

 

COLORADO LANDLORD RESPONSIBILITIES

What must the landlord provide in good and working order?

Colorado defines certain responsibilities for landlords, including (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-505):

  • Must comply with all applicable building codes affecting health and safety
  • Waterproofing and weather protection of the roof and exterior walls
  • Must supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water, at all times.
  • Must supply functioning heating facilities
  • Common areas are kept reasonably clean and free from accumulations of debris and filth
  • Appropriate extermination of rodents and vermin
  • Floors, stairways and railing in good condition
  • Must supply locks on all exterior doors and windows

 

Do landlords have to provide appliances and services?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

COLORADO TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Tenant must maintain a fit and habitable premise and is prohibited from intentionally or negligently damaging or removing any part of the premise.  Tenants must conduct themselves and others in a manner not to disturb the neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of their premises. 

 

 

 

 

 

COLORADO EVICTION LAWS

 

Colorado requires a landlord to file an Forcible Detainer Suit action to evict a tenant.  

Landlords may evict tenants for the following:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Breach of lease agreement
  • Tenant refuses to vacate the premises after lease expired

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In Colorado, it is illegal for landlords to attempt to evict a tenant not through a court order.  Tenants can report to the courts and landlords face fines.  Tenants may seek any remedy available under the current law.

Are landlords allowed to lock out tenants by changing locks?

Landlords cannot change locks. (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-510)

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot turn off utilities.  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-510)

Tenants may not be evicted for non-payment of rent if:

No Statute stating a curable way for tenants to prevent an eviction process after the failing to remedy their violation in the 3-day notice period.

 

 

Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

No, landlords are protected by Schneiker v. Gordon, 732 P.2d 603 (Colo. 1987) case that provides landlords “benefit of the bargain” rule.  Whereas an innocent landlord is entitled to recover the actual damage amount to place another tenant in the same position according to their terms of the lease.

 

 

 

COLORADO LAWS ON RETALIATION

 

Colorado laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents when:

 

  • Tenant submitted, or threatened to, a complaint to government agency for building or health code violation
  • Tenant has sent written complaints to the landlords about repairs

 

Colorado does not define a period of time that would result in a retaliatory action. (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-509)

 

 

 

 

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

 

Colorado has no statutes to protect a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape or stalking.  Burbz encourages landlords to work with these victims in good faith and help prevent or reduce the situation.  This includes changing locks or letting the victim out of their lease agreement to find a safer home.

 

Verify Claim:

A landlord is allowed to verify claim of Domestic Violence. (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-402(2))

 

 

Can a tenant terminate the least if they are a victim of domestic violence: 

Tenants may terminate the lease and pay 1 months rent.  However, tenants do not have to pay the termination ‘monthly rent’ when they provide documentation.  Tenants have 90 days to pay the termination fee, if they do not provide documentation.  Documentation must be within 60 days of the event with a written police report.  Security deposit can be held until termination payment was paid, or apply the deposit to the 1 month rent termination fee.  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-402(2))

 

 

Who is responsible for Recovery of Losses: 

No statute for losses.  However, tenant may have to pay 1 months rent if documentation is not provided within 60 days of the event.  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-402(2))

 

 

Must Landlords Change Locks:

No Statute.

 

 

COLORADO LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

 

Are landlords requested to change locks before new tenants:

No Statute.  Before new tenants moves in, landlords are not required to change the locks.  It is always recommended to do so.

 

 

Are landlords required to install any specific security device:

Landlords are required to install deadbolts on all exterior doors and security devices on all windows.  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-12-505(j))

 

 

Do landlords have to change locks for domestic violence victims:

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

 

COLORADO PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

Colorado Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.

 

 

Any limitations on pets that landlords can impose?

No Statute.

 

 

What are the max pet deposits in Colorado:

No Statute for max deposits.  Landlords can also charge non-refundable fees. 

 

 

 

 

DO LANDLORDS IN COLORADO NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

 

According to Colorado Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in Colorado.

Landlords and owner of a residential rental property do not need to register the property.  Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city specific laws.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN COLORADO

Do landlords in Colorado have to provide notice of entry? 

Colorado does not require landlords to provide any notice.  However, it is recommended that landlords provide 24 hours’ notice for normal circumstances entry.    This includes:

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees or buyers.

 

When can a landlord enter without notice:

No Statute.

 

 

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

No Statute.

 

 

Can landlords enter for showings?

No Statute.

 

 

 

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

No Statute.

 

 

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

No Statute.

 

 

Can landlords enter for pesticide use?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

COLORADO SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Is subleasing permitted?

Yes, there is no statute preventing subleasing.

 

 

Do you need the landlord consent?

If the lease includes a clause stating the landlord allows or requires consent.

 

 

Can the LL / lease prohibit subletting?

Yes, there is no statute.  Landlords should include language in their rental agreement to prohibit without approval.

 

 

 

 

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN COLORADO

 

Colorado Landlord-Tenant Laws does specific procedures that landlords must follow when tenants leave belongings.  This may be from evictions or moving out at the expiration of lease.

 

How long must landlords hold Tenant’s personal property?

Colorado Lien on Personal Property laws require the landlord to hold onto tenants abandoned property for 30 days.    (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-20-116)

 

How long notice must landlords give if law enforcement has legally locked them out?

No Statute.   

 

Can the landlords sell property to pay for outstanding debts?

There is no statute stating landlords cannot sell property to pay off debts.  Landlords must provide notice to tenant 15 days before disposing the property.  Notice must be sent via certified mail with a return receipt requested.  If the landlord cannot reach the tenant, they can provide a notice for one day in the county newspaper, or adjoining county if there is not a newspaper.  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-20-116(2))

 

What happens to excess proceeds?

No Statute.

 

How long must landlords keep records of the sale for?

Landlords must hold onto the notice for unclaimed property for one year.  (Colo. Rev. Stat.. 38-20-116(2))

 

Landlord must store the tenant’s abandoned property where:

No Statute.

 

 

 

Are the landlords liable for damage?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR COLORADO LEASES

 

Colorado Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:

 

Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

Mold:  Must disclose any structure damage caused by water, fire smoke or infestation.  As well as the condition of the roof and any mold. (EPA Guide)

Common Interest Community: Landlords are required to disclose whether the property is part of a common interest community.  This may require the buyer to pay certain fees for buying or leasing the property.

Drinkable Water:  Landlords are required to disclose the source of drinkable water for the property.

Utilities:  Landlord must define and disclose utility responsibility for unit and property.  As well, how the utilities are split among other tenants in a multi-family unit.

Transportation Projects:  Landlords must disclose any upcoming or proposed transition projects that could affect the property.

Special Taxing District:  Colorado has special taxing districts that could result in additional taxes for a buyer.  Landlords must disclose whether the property is located within one.  If it is unknown, the landlord must provide how the buyer can verify.

Methamphetamine Contamination:  When a property has been deemed contaminated with chemicals for the production of meth, landlords must provide all future tenants a notice indicating the health inspectors notice.

 

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

Colorado Revised Statutes Title 38 – Chapter 12 – Tenants and Landlords

Colorado Revised Statutes Title 38 – Chapter 13 – Unclaimed Property

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Colorado

Colorado Affordable Housing Guide 

Colorado Homeowners Assistance Programs

Colorado Renter’s Guide

Colorado Division of Local Affairs – Housing

Colorado Consumers Guide to Insurance

 

COLORADO RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

Colorado Small Claims Court Limits:

$7,500 is the limit for small claims court.

 

 

Colorado Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

No.

 

Colorado Small Claims Court – Local Practices

PDF Guide to Colorado Small Claims Rules 

PDF Guide to Colorado Small Claims Handbook 

Colorado Attorney General

Colorado State Bar Association

Colorado Judicial Branch

 

 

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