This is a summary of Colorado Landlord-Tenant laws that apply to residential (non-commercial) rentals. These references were compiled from the Colorado Revised Statutes and various online sources to serve as a reference and for people wanting to learn about Colorado landlord-tenant laws, Colorado eviction laws, and Colorado renters’ rights.
However, this guide is not comprehensive and PayRent does not warrant the accuracy of this information Statutes can change any time the state legislature passes a new law. Additionally, counties and cities may have different regulations. Given its limitations, this guide is not an adequate substitute for legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer. If you are dealing with a landlord-tenant issue, you seek guidance from a qualified attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, we’ve included a list of attorney referral services in this guide.
Rules and Regulations Governing Colorado Landlord-Tenant Laws
Colorado Revised Statutes — C.R.S. Title 38, Article 12, Tenants and Landlords
Colorado Lease Terms Provisions
Security Deposits in Colorado
- What is the maximum allowable security deposit?
There is no Colorado law limiting security deposits. However, for mobile home space in mobile home park, the limit is one month’s rent. (C. R. S. § 38-12-207(1))
- Are security deposits required to earn interest?
No. There is no Colorado law requiring security deposits to earn interest. In case of mobile home space, landlord may keep the interest and profit earned from the corpus as compensation for administering the trust account. (C. R. S. § 38-12-207(3)).
- Do landlords need to store security deposits in a separate bank account?
No. There is no Colorado law requiring security deposits to be stored in a separate bank account. However, in case of mobile home space, landlord must deposit each security deposit into a separate trust account to be administered by landlord as a private trustee. Landlord shall not commingle the trust funds with other money (C. R. S. § 38-12-207(3)).
- Are non-refundable fees, such as pet fees, prohibited?
No. There is no Colorado law forbidding non-refundable fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
- How long do landlords have to return security deposits?
30 days, unless the lease agreement specifies a longer period, but not to exceed 60 days. (C.R.S. § 38-12-103(1)).
- Can landlords withhold security deposits?
Yes. Landlords can use the deposit to cover nonpayment of rent, abandonment of the premises, or nonpayment of utility charges, repair work, or cleaning contracted for by the tenant. Landlord cannot retain a security deposit to cover normal wear and tear. (C.R.S. § 38-12-103(1)).
- Are landlords required to itemize damages and fees deducted from security deposits?
Yes. The landlord shall mail a written statement listing the exact reasons for the retention of any portion of the security deposit, along with the remaining security deposit, to the tenant’s last known address. (C.R.S. § 38-12-103(1)).
- Do landlords have to issue receipts upon receiving security deposits?
No. There is no Colorado law requiring landlords to issue receipts for security deposits.
- Are there any specific requirements for record-keeping for deposit withholdings?
No. There is no Colorado law specifying record-keeping requirements.
- What happens when a landlord does not return a security deposit within the required timeframe?
If the landlord fails to provide the tenant with a written statement within the required timeframe, the landlord forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the security deposit. If the landlord willfully retains the security deposit, the landlord is liable for treble the amount of that portion of the security deposit wrongfully withheld from the tenant, together with reasonable attorney fees and court costs. In any court action brought by tenant, landlord bears the burden of proof that his/her security deposit withholding or any portion of security deposit was not wrongful. (C.R.S. § 38-12-103(2), C.R.S. § 38-12-103(3)(a), C.R.S. § 38-12-103(3)(b)).
Colorado Rent Laws
- Is there a cap on how much landlords can charge for rent? (rent control)
No. There are no rent control laws in Colorado. Cities, counties or municipalities cannot impose their own rent control ordinances. (C.R.S. § 38-12-301).
- Does rent need to be paid using a certain method of payment?
No. There is no Colorado law requiring a certain payment method for rent.
- Can landlords charge late fees when rent is late?
Yes. Landlord can charge tenant and mobile home owners late fees if rent payment is late for 7 calendar days and it’s disclosed in the lease agreement. The amount of late fees cannot exceed $5 or 5% of the amount of the past due rent payment. Landlord can impose a late fee once for each late payment. (C.R.S. § 38-12-105).
- Do landlords have to allow for a grace period for paying rent before charging late fees?
No, but landlord can charge a late fee after providing a written notice of the late fee within 180 days after the date rent payment was due. (C.R.S. § 38-12-105(1)(j)).
- Can landlords charge application fees?
Yes. There is no Colorado law forbidding application fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
- Can landlords charge returned check fees?
Yes. Landlord can charge a $20 returned check fee (C.R.S. § 13-40-107(4)).
Colorado Landlord-Tenant Relations
- Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of rent increases?
Yes, in certain situations. In a tenancy of one month or longer but less than six months where there is no written agreement between the landlord and tenant, a landlord may increase the rent only upon at least 21 days’ notice to the tenant. (C.R.S. § 38-12-701)
- Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the property?
No. There is no Colorado law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the rental property.
- What notice is required to terminate a fixed-end lease?
No notice is required — the lease ends on the date stated in the lease.
- What notice is required to terminate periodic tenancies?
A tenancy may be terminated by notice in writing with the following notice requirements::
- A tenancy for one year or longer, 91 days.
- A tenancy of 6 months or longer but less than a year, 28 days.
- A tenancy of one month or longer but less than 6 months, 21 days.
- A tenancy of one week or longer but less than one month, or a tenancy at will, 3 days.
- A tenancy for less than one week, one day. (C.R.S. § 13-40-107)
- Is notice of the date and time of the move out inspection required?
There is no statute in Colorado law covering this issue.
- When can landlords enter the rental premises?
There is no statute in Colorado law covering this issue.
- What notice must a landlord give a tenant before entering the rental unit?
There is no Colorado law requiring landlords to give tenants notice of entry.
Landlords must ensure the dwelling has the following characteristics:
- Fit for human habitation (C.R.S. § 38-12-503).
- Functioning appliances that conformed to applicable law at the time of installation and that are maintained in good working order.
- Effective 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, 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,
- Functioning heating facilities that conformed with applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order.
- Electrical lighting, with wiring and electrical equipment that conformed with applicable law at the time of installation, maintained in good working order.
- Common areas and areas under control of landlord kept in every part clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin.
- Appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin throughout the residential premises.
- An adequate number of appropriate receptacles for garbage and rubbish in good repair.
- Floors, stairways, and railings are 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.
- 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. (C.R.S. § 38-12-505)
- Tenants must comply with all obligations imposed upon tenants by building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
- Tenants must keep that part of the premises that the tenant occupies and uses as clean, safe and sanitary as the condition of the premises permits.
- Tenants must dispose of all ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste cleanly, safely, sanitary, and legally compliantly.
- Tenants must use all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises in a reasonable manner;
- Tenants must not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the premises; or knowingly, recklessly, or negligently permit any person to do so.
- Tenants and their guests must conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb the neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
- Tenants shall promptly notify the landlord if the residential premises are uninhabitable or if there is a condition that could result in the premises becoming uninhabitable if not remedied. (C.R.S. § 38-12-504)
- Tenant shall promptly notify landlord via written or electronic notice when tenant knows or reasonably suspects that dwelling unit contains bed bugs (C.R.S. § 38-12-1002).
Required Landlord Disclosures
- If there is a written rental agreement, then the landlord must provide the tenant with a copy of the agreement that is signed by the landlord and the tenant, no later than the seventh day after the tenant has signed the agreement. (C.R.S. § 38-12-801)
- Before renting pre-1978 property, landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards. (16 CFR 1303, 42 U.S. Code § 4852d) . If the landlord fails to disclose all known lead paint hazards, the landlord can face fines of up to $19,507 for each violation (24 CFR 30.65).
Colorado Renters’ Rights
- What rights do tenants have if their landlords breach their duties? (See Landlord’s Duties)
If the landlord has breached the warranty of habitability and the tenant provides 10 to 30-days written notice to the landlord specifying the condition alleged to breach the warranty of habitability and giving the landlord 5 business days from the receipt of the written notice to remedy the breach. If the landlord does not remedy the breach within 5 business days, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement by surrendering possession. (C.R.S. § 38-12-507(1)(a))
- Are tenants allowed to withhold rent for needed repairs or other breaches of their landlords’ duties?
Yes, if the premises are inhabitable. While no statute explicitly allows tenants to withhold rent, Colorado law allows a breach of the warranty of habitability as a defense to eviction for nonpayment. (C.R.S. § 38-12-507(1)(c))
- Are tenants permitted to sublease their rental units?
Yes, but only with consent. Colorado case law requires tenants to obtain consent from the landlord before subletting their rental unit unless otherwise agreed to in writing. (Landlord/ Tenant Laws)
- What are the protections for tenants against retaliation from their landlords for exercising their Colorado renter’s rights?
Colorado law prohibits landlords from increasing rent, decreasing services, or bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession if the tenant has alleged a breach of the warranty of habitability by complaining to the landlord or a governmental agency. (C.R.S. § 38-12-509)
Colorado Eviction Laws
- What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under Colorado eviction laws?
- Nonpayment of rent (C.R.S. § 13-40-104(1)(d))
- Violation of lease terms / rental agreement (C.R.S. § 13-40-104(1)(e))
- Illegal activity, including violent felonies, drug-related felonies, criminal acts that carry a 180-day+ penalty and are public nuisances, physical harm to another tenant/landlord, and damage to another tenant’s/landlord’s property (C.R.S. § 13-40-107.5)
- The tenant remains in possession without the landlord’s consent after expiration or termination of the term of the rental agreement (holdover tenancy) (C.R.S. § 13-40-104(1)(c))
- What notice must landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process in Colorado?
- For evictions based on illegal activity, landlords must give a 3-day notice of termination of the lease before starting the eviction process. Landlords do not have to permit the tenant to cure these types of breaches. (C.R.S. § 13-40-107.5)
- For evictions based on a holdover tenancy, landlords must provide proper notice to terminate the tenancy. If the tenant remains on the rental property after the termination date, the landlord can begin the eviction process without providing additional notice. (C.R.S. § 13-40-104(1)(c))
- Are landlords permitted to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities?
No. If a landlord evicts a tenant using self-help methods, the tenant can sue for damages. (C.R.S. § 38-12-510)
COVID-19 Changes to Colorado Landlord-Tenant Laws
- The CDC’s national eviction ban was effective through August 26, 2021, and is no longer in place. .
- The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is no longer effective.
- State Emergency Housing Rental Assistance Program helps tenants during the eviction process and connects them to legal services.
Squatter’s rights in Colorado
Under Homestead Act of 1862, individuals (squatters) can possess the property if they have lived there for a specific period of time, done so publicly, made repairs to the property, have deed to the property and have paid rent or taxes on this property.
Colorado has no specific laws recognizing squatters.
- City of Boulder – Landlord Tenant Handbook
- City of Fort Collins- Landlord Tenant Handbook (PDF)
- Denver Code of Ordinances – Chapter 27 – Housing
- Department of Local Affairs – Colorado Renter’s Guide (PDF)
- Colorado Judicial Branch
- Colorado Division of Insurance
- Colorado Consumers Guide to Insurance
- Colorado Attorney General
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Colorado
- Colorado Homeowners Assistance Programs
- Colorado Renter’s Guide (PDF)
- Colorado Division of Local Affairs – Housing
- Colorado Division of Real Estate