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Colorado Tenant-Landlord Law

by Caroline Merkin

Colorado-Landlord-Tenant-Law-Fast-Facts

Security Deposits

  • The collection of security deposits in Colorado isn’t required, but most landlords require them to prove a tenant’s financial stability and guarantee a payment for damaged property.
  • There are no statutes regarding maximums, commingling assets, or paying interest, but most landlords charge equal to one month’s rent and keep the funds in a separate account.
  • A landlord must return the deposit within 30 days of the tenant moving out, unless some other agreement was made, but it should never be more than 60 days. ((C.R.S. 38-12-103)
    • If unforeseeable, dangerous conditions cause a tenant to move out, the deposit must be returned within 72 hours (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and holidays) (C.R.S. 38-12-104)
    • If the landlord withholds a certain percentage and does not provide an itemized list of damages within the time period, the deposit must be returned in full (C.R.S. 38-12-103(2))
    • If the landlord intentionally and/or wrongfully withholds a deposit, he/she may be liable for three times the amount withheld in addition to legal fees (C.R.S. 38-12-103(2) and (3a))

Rent and Late Fees

  • There are no statutes regarding late fee maximums or grace periods.
  • For leases that are 12 months or longer, a rental agreement is required.
  • Landlords may charge any reasonable amount for rent.
  • There are no statutes regarding how (form of payment) / when (at the beginning or end of the month) rent must be paid.
  • Tenants are allowed to withhold rent for habitability issues. Certain restrictions found include:
    • The landlord must be notified of the problems and provided reasonable time to make repairs (C.R.S. 38-12-507)
    • The tenant must then give notice that the repairs haven’t been made and the landlord has failed to remedy the breach within five days of receipt of the letter from the tenant (C.R.S. 38-12-507)

Notices and Entry

  • There are no statutes regarding rent increase notices.
  • There are no statutes regarding entry onto the property for repairs, but 24 hours is recommended.
    • There is also no statute regarding entry for emergency situations.
  • If a landlord wishes to terminate a yearly lease early, a notice must given 91 days prior to termination (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1a)
    • If a landlord wishes to terminate a 6 month or longer lease early, a notice must given 28 days prior to termination (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1b)
    • If a landlord wishes to terminate a 1 month or longer (but less than 6 months) lease early, a notice must given 7 days prior to termination (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1c)
    • If a landlord wishes to terminate a 1 week or longer (but less than 1 month) lease early, a notice must given 3 days prior to termination (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1d)
    • If the lease is less than a week, the landlord only has to provide a notice 1 day prior to early termination (C.R.S. 13-40-107-1e)

Disclosures

  • A landlord is required to disclose any known presence of lead paint on the property. If there is a presence of lead paint in the unit or common area, the lease must include a federally-approved attachment on lead poisoning prevention.
  • A landlord is not allowed to terminate a lease of a domestic violence victim. (C.R.S. 13-40-107.5-c)
  • Landlords are required to disclose any structural damage on the property related to mold, water, fire, smoke, or insects. Click here for mold pamphlet.
  • Colorado landlords must also notify the tenant if the property has, at any time, been used as a methamphetamine laboratory. See more here.
  • The landlord must also disclose where/what the property’s tap water source is.

Eviction Laws

Eviction Step #1: Inform your tenant with an official notice

An official notice is posted to the tenant. Typically, although this varies based State and county, the landlord hands the notice to the tenant in person, or posts the notice to the door if the tenant is not home. You also may need to send a copy via certified mail.

Eviction Step #2: Wait for the tenant to respond

When it is failure to pay rent, the tenant has 3 days to pay you otherwise the eviction notice can be filed with the courts. (C.R.S. 13-40-104-1d)

When there is lease violation, the tenant has 30 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)

Eviction Step #3: File With Court

If the tenant has not paid you within the time period outlined in Step #2, then file with the local courts for the official eviction. Both you and the tenant will receive a specific date for the hearing.

Eviction Step #4: Attend the court date

You or your lawyer will want to attend the court hearing and bring proper documentation of the lease violation with you. You should prepare to bring the following, at a minimum:

  1. Your lease agreement
  2. Evidence of payment failures / history
  3. Proof that you served the tenant (Step #1)
  4. Any communications or other helpful records

Eviction Step #5: Sheriff to remove the tenant

If the tenant does not leave on their own, then you have a right, within a certain amount of time, to request for a sheriff to remove the tenant.

Eviction Step #6: Collecting damages

Most likely, the tenant owes you money for the lease violation. Here are some ways to collect money from the damages:

  1. Garnish wages
  2. File in small claims court
  3. Use a private debt collector

Early Termination of Lease

When there is not a lease violation, but the landlord or tenant wants to break the lease, the following regulations apply:

Early termination by landlord

If the landlord wishes to terminate the lease early, they have to give a notice period of One year or more, 3 months before expiration; if 6 months, one month; if one month or longer but less than 6 months, 10 days; less than one month or tenancy at will, 3 days; less than one week, one day..

Early termination by tenant

If the tenant wishes to terminate the lease early, they have to give a notice period of One year or more, 3 months before expiration; if 6 months, one month; if one month or longer but less than 6 months, 10 days; less than one month or tenancy at will, 3 days; less than one week, one day..

For more information on Colorado Landlord Tenant laws please visit their website here.