Colorado Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Colorado Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Last Updated: February 23, 2023

Tenants in Colorado have the legal right to repairs for issues that place the property in violation of state health and safety standards. To exercise this right, they must give the landlord written or electronic notice and allow 24-96 hours for the landlord to begin repairs in good faith.

Colorado Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs

Colorado landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition:

  • Plumbing
  • Sewage
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Weatherproofing
  • Doors and windows (including locks)
  • Heating
  • Hot water
  • Exterior garbage containers
  • Floors, stairways, and railings
  • Smoke alarms and CO detectors
  • Common areas
  • Anything impacting health, safety, or habitability

If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord is the one responsible for making the repairs necessary to fix it.

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What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Colorado?

Colorado tenants don’t have to fix minor damages that result from ordinary wear and tear, but are responsible for repairing any damage they cause to the property which affects a legal habitability requirement or general health and safety.

If they have the necessary repair skills, renters of unsubsidized single-family homes can make a separate written agreement with the landlord to do maintenance that would otherwise be the landlord’s responsibility.

Requesting Repairs in Colorado

Colorado tenants must request repairs by sending written or electronic notice to the landlord regarding the issue that needs fixing. The landlord must reply providing the tenant a repair timeline within 24 hours.

If the landlord doesn’t reply, or doesn’t begin repairs, the tenant can submit a written (not electronic) notice of breach giving five business days to complete repairs, and then sue or end the lease if repairs still aren’t done.

How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Colorado?

Colorado landlords must begin repairs within 24 hours after getting a written or electronic request. This gets extended to 96 hours when the tenant gives permission to enter for repairs in the initial request and the issue doesn’t materially impact health and safety.

Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Colorado?

Colorado landlords cannot refuse to make repairs that are their responsibility, even when the tenant is not current on rent.

Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Colorado?

Colorado landlords, when doing repairs that move the tenant out of the unit, must pay for the tenant to stay in a comparable rental unit or in a hotel until repairs are complete. The lease otherwise continues normally, with the tenant remaining responsible for the usual rent.

Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Colorado

Colorado tenants can cancel the rental agreement when the landlord doesn’t fix an issue within five business days after written notice of failure to make timely repairs. Tenants can also sue for damages, get an injunction to force repairs, or repair and deduct.

Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Colorado?

Colorado tenants are not allowed to withhold the entire periodic rent without a court order. However, if a landlord fails to make timely repairs, a tenant can follow a specific procedure to repair and deduct the costs from a withheld portion of the periodic rent.

Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in Colorado?

Colorado tenants can repair and deduct the cost from rent, if their housing isn’t federally subsidized. When repairs aren’t begun within 24-96 hours of notice, the tenant must send the landlord (and keep a copy of) written notice of intention to repair and deduct, that specifically contains the following:

  • Date.
  • Name of landlord / property manager.
  • Address of rental property.
  • Condition requiring repair.
  • Date of original repair request.
  • At least one good-faith cost estimate, prepared by a licensed professional who isn’t related to the tenant.

The landlord can then, within four business days, challenge the estimate with his own (also from a licensed professional) and begin work as soon as reasonably possible. Otherwise, the tenant can hire a professional for repairs and begin deducting the costs from one or more rent payments.

Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Colorado?

Colorado tenants can break a lease when the landlord fails to begin good-faith repairs within five business days after getting a written notice of breach.

When the same habitability issue recurs within six months, tenants can end the lease without waiting for repairs, following two weeks’ written or electronic notice that includes the issue and date of termination (unless the issue is a broken appliance, and the landlord replaces it).

When service personnel specifically provide written warning of a gas hazard, the tenant can move out and end the lease immediately if the landlord doesn’t repair within three business days of written notice. Unlike some other cases, the tenant doesn’t have to provide a second notice of breach.

Can the Tenant Sue in Colorado?

Colorado tenants can sue to force repairs or recover monetary damages, when the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs.

Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in Colorado?

Colorado tenants can report landlords for code violations that affect health or safety. Tenants should usually report to the local inspections or code enforcement department. If an inspecting officer finds a violation, the tenant could cancel the rental agreement, or sue to force repairs.

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Landlord Retaliation in Colorado

Colorado landlords aren’t allowed to retaliate by raising rent, reducing services, or threatening eviction against a tenant who takes one of the following protected actions:

  • Complaining to the government or landlord about habitability, health, or safety violations.
  • Participating in a tenant organization.

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