In Colorado, leases can be either written or oral. Under Colorado law (C.R.S. Title 38, Art. 12), a lease agreement grants certain rights and responsibilities. Tenants have the right to a fit and habitable unit and to take some forms of alternative action
Landlords also have rights, such as the right to collect rent in a timely manner and the right to be reimbursed for damages that exceed normal wear and tear.
Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.
In addition to the below, check your local county and municipality for additional landlord-tenant regulations.
Landlord Responsibilities in Colorado
In Colorado, landlords have a responsibility to provide a habitable dwelling and to make repairs in a timely manner (24 hours). If they do not, then Colorado tenants are empowered to make the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from rent.
The following is a list of essential amenities that Colorado landlords may or may not be responsible for.
|Electrical outlets and wiring||Yes|
|Stairs & railings||Yes|
It is illegal for landlords to evict a tenant in retaliation for exercising their right to habitable housing.
Tenant Responsibilities in Colorado
Apart from paying rent promptly and on-time, Colorado tenants must:
- Keep the unit safe and habitable
- Remove garbage and maintain cleanliness
- Perform minor repairs and maintenance
- Not disturb other tenants or neighbors
Evictions in Colorado
Colorado landlord may evict tenants for the following reasons:
- Nonpayment of rent – If a tenant fails to pay rent then the landlord may issue a 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. If they still do not pay after 3 days, the landlord may file for a Forced Entry Detainer and Summons.
- Lease violation – If a lease violation occurs then the landlord may issue a Demand for Compliance or Right to Possession Notice. The tenant then has 3 days to correct their behavior, then the landlord may initiate evictions.
- Illegal acts – Several illegal acts may be justification for eviction, such as assault or violence against other people, endangering landlord property, felony acts, criminal acts that carry a sentence of 180 or more days.
At-will tenants are entitled to written advanced notice before being evicted that is based on how long the tenant has lived at the property.
- 1 year or more – 91 days
- 6 months to 1 year – 28 days
- 1 to 6 months – 7 days
- 1 week – 1 month – 3 days
- 1 week or less – 1 day
Landlords are not permitted to evict tenants in retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.
Security Deposits in Colorado
- Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – None
- Time Limit for Returns – 1 month
- Penalty if Not Returned on Time – If a landlord wrongfully withholds rent then they may be required to pay up to 3 times the original deposits value as a penalty.
- Allowable Deductions – Unpaid rent or utility bills, cleaning costs, damages that exceed normal wear and tear, storage/removal costs for abandoned possessions.
Lease Termination in Colorado
Notice requirements. Tenants on a periodic lease who want to break their lease must give landlords advanced notice based on how long they have lived at the property.
|How Long?||Notice Needed|
|Less than 1 Week||1 Day|
|1 Week to 1 Month||3 Days|
|1 to 6 Months||7 Days|
|6 to 12 Months||28 Days|
Early termination. If a Colorado tenant wishes to break a lease early then they may do so legally for the following reasons:
- Early termination clause
- Active military duty
- Uninhabitable unit
- Landlord harassment
- Gas hazard
Tenants who break a lease early may still be obligated to pay the remainder of the lease. Landlords must make a reasonable effort to re-rent the unit.
Rent Increases & Related Fees in Colorado
- Rent control. Colorado does not currently enforce any rent control policies. Thus, landlords are able to charge whatever they want in rental prices.
- Rental increases. Colorado landlords also are allowed to raise rent as high as they want and they are not required to notify or provide justification for rent hikes.
- Rent-related fees. Colorado law does not limit the value of late fees as long as the terms are outlined clearly in the lease agreement.
Housing Discrimination in Colorado
Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status, or disability. These rules do not apply to owner-occupied homes or homes operated by religious organizations. Colorado law extends protections in housing to people based on their marital status, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ownership of a service animal.
Discriminatory acts & penalties. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Civil Rights Division has outlined that the following actions may be interpreted as discriminatory when directed at a member of a protected class:
- Refusing to rent or sell on a bona fide offer
- Providing different terms, conditions, or privileges
- Failing to provide reasonable accommodations
- Retaliation for tenants exercising their housing rights
- Offering unequal financing options
Tenants may file discrimination charges online which will then be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in Colorado
Landlord Right to Entry in Colorado
Given that the state lacks statutory guidance on the issue, landlords in Colorado are technically able to enter properties at any time without permission. As such, landlords and tenants must agree on entry notification policies in the lease.
Small Claims Court in Colorado
Colorado small claims court will hear rent-related disputes totaling up to $7,500 or less, although they will not handle eviction cases. Both oral and written contracts in Colorado have a 3-year statute of limitations.
Mandatory Disclosures in Colorado
Colorado landlords are only required to make one federally mandated disclosures:
- Lead-based paint. Landlords who own homes built before 1978 must provide info about the concentration of lead paint.
Changing the Locks in Colorado
Landlords are prohibited from unilaterally changing the locks on tenants as a form of eviction. Tenants may be allowed to legally change the locks on their own, provided it is not explicitly disallowed in the lease agreement.
Local Laws in Colorado
Denver Landlord-Tenant Rights
The city of Denver maintains several additional landlord-tenant policies. For example, Denver landlords must give 21 days’ notice before raising rent. Immigrants are also protected from discrimination in Denver. Additional rules can be found here.
Longmont Landlord-Tenant Rights
The city of Longmont maintains many of the state’s statutory requirements but they are administered directly through the city’s government instead of the state’s government. More info can be found here.
Aurora Landlord Tenant Rights
The city of Aurora has a Multi-Family Systematic Housing Inspection Program that enforces state and local health codes. Tenants can request an inspection from this agency. More information about this agency can be found here.
Fort Collins Landlord-Tenant Rights
The city of Fort Collins also has its own code compliance program that enforces health and safety codes. The program also fields and negotiates punishments for code violations. More information about this program and housing ordinances in Fort Collins can be found here.