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Colorado Landlord Tenant Laws

Colorado has some very detailed and specific laws regarding maintenance of premises and the rights of victims of domestic violence that go beyond what is required in many other states. Colorado landlords need to ensure that they are familiar with these special provisions, especially if they are moving in from other states where there are not as many requirements in these areas.

Though some areas of Colorado rental law are very detailed, others are almost entirely without statutes. In these cases, disputes are sometimes settled by prior precedent in court cases. For example, the “benefit of the bargain” rule that establishes the extent of damages that a landlord can collect stems from a state Supreme Court ruling (Schneiker vs. Gordon) rather than existing in the state statutes.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Colorado?

Colorado rental laws are covered under the Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 38 – Property – Real and Personal – Tenants and Landlords. It is important to note, however, that individual cities in Colorado very often have their own codes and ordinances that also have to be followed. For example, the cities of Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins all have unique local ordinances that landlords need to be familiar with. Some good places to brush up on local statutes and ordinances include the official city website, the local law library or public library, or the offices of the city or county manager.

Security Deposit Rules

Though Colorado does have some complicated rules governing rental arrangements, the state is fairly hands-off in the area of security deposits. There are no statutes on maximum amounts, landlords are not required to pay interest to tenants or place the funds in a specific type of account, and there are no limitations on pet deposits. However, Colorado does not allow non-refundable security deposits. The landlord is required to return the deposit to the tenant in full provided they are not owed back rent or damages.

CRS 38-12-30 outlines the terms of whether or not the security deposit needs to be returned. The default amount of time to return a deposit is within 30 days, unless another arrangement was agreed to in the lease, but that arrangement is not valid if it is greater than 60 days. If the tenant is forced to vacate due to hazardous conditions, the landlord must return the deposit within 72 hours spanning only business days. The landlord does not have to provide an itemized list in the case of damages, but they do have to provide the tenant with written notice of the amount they intend to withhold during the period before the deposit is to be returned. If the landlord fails to provide written notice during this time, they waive their right to the deposit regardless of damages. If the landlord wrongfully withholds a deposit, the tenant may recover up to three times the amount of the deposit along with any attorney and court costs.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

Colorado is also fairly hands-off about fees, at least at the state level. There are no statutes regarding late fee amounts, advance notice of a rent increase, return check fees, application fees or prepaid rent. There is also no statute that provides for a tenant to withhold rent for repairs, and landlords are under no obligation to minimize damages in the case of an abandoned lease (though they are also restricted to only collecting what they would have been paid originally had the lease been honored).

Colorado landlords do need to be aware that there are restrictions on handling abandoned property, however, which are spelled out in CRS 38-20-116. Tenants are also allowed to withhold rent due to problems with the habitability of the unit, under certain circumstances that are listed in CRS 38-12-507.

If a yearly lease runs over without a new lease being signed, the law automatically regards the tenant as being on a monthly lease (a “holdover tenant”), with all the rules and protections that govern such a lease. However, once the tenant pays rent for one full month, the lease is automatically presumed by the law to be renewed for an additional year.

Notice and Entry Rules

CRS 13-40-107-4 makes the rules about notice of lease termination clear. A yearly lease can be terminated with 91 days notice. Leases longer than six months but shorter than a full year require 28 days notice. Month-to-month leases require seven days notice, and week-to-week leases require three days notice.

Eviction for nonpayment can take place with only three days notice. Three days notice are also required for a lease violation, but the tenant has the option of remedying the violation during that time to continue with their lease. Repeat violations can enable an immediate lease termination, however; the exact circumstances are covered in CRS 13-40-104-e.5.

There are no statutes about prior notice for entry by a landlord. Lockouts and utility shutoffs by the landlord are never allowed, and the tenant can sue for damages if they occur. Self-help evictions without the consent of both parties are not allowed, with the exception of incidents involving state cleanup of an illegal drug lab on the premises.

Required Disclosures and Notes

CRS 38-12-505 details all of the specific duties a landlord must fulfill to maintain a habitable premise. Among other utilities the landlord must provide running water, reasonable amounts of hot water, connection to a sewage disposal system, functioning and well-maintained heating facilities, and electrical lighting that is up to code. Landlords are also responsible for exterior waterproofing and weather protection, maintenance of plumbing and gas facilities, cleanliness of common areas and the good working order of locks. Landlords must also handle extermination if a tenant reports infestation of insects, rodents or vermin in the dwelling. Any of these listed deficiencies must be shown to materially and substantially limit the tenant’s use of their unit before the unit can be considered legally uninhabitable.

Provisions for the duties of landlords in regards to domestic violence victims are found in CRS 38-12-402 and CRS 13-40-107.5c. It is not legal for the landlord to make it a lease violation to repeatedly call police officers and emergency assistance in response to a domestic abuse situation. Landlords may request proof of domestic violence status, but they may not terminate the lease of a domestic violence victim. A tenant who experiences sexual assault or domestic violence is allowed to terminate the lease early, but may be required to pay one extra month’s rent.

Landlords are not allowed to retaliate in response to good faith complaints by tenants. Retaliation includes increasing the rent, decreasing services, or threatening to bring action against the tenant directly in response to a complaint. Tenants may make a valid complaint either directly to the landlord or to a government agency, with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) being the central agency that handles such complaints.

Small Claims Courts

CRS 13-6-403 establishes a small claims court limit of $7,500. Eviction cases are not heard in small claims court. Both landlords and tenants who are anticipating a legal dispute would be well advised to consult the Colorado Judicial Branch’s Local Small Claims Practices sheet, which details the individual procedures and locations for each district.

Colorado Realtors Associations

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Nathan - May 28, 2016

With the long weekend ahead, I am trying to get an expedited answer. I know this to be very difficult, as other are doing the same and I can only imagine what your case load must look like.
Sheriff deputy Mindy Mangel and officer Wilson responded to my 911 call last night around 11pm or so. Screen number EP16068930. The reason I called them out was to assist with a prohibited forced entry by my landlord at 11pm. This was instruction given to me by deputy Hauge (female not sure if that’s how you spell her name). I called the sheriffs department yesterday afternoon, after I received multiple emails from Charles Webster (agent) for the how I rent. (18830 lake forest ln monument co). The reason I sought the advice from the sheriffs department, is because he repeatedly sent harassing emails, threatening to ” move his whole family in”, harrasment in the for of name calling to provoke a negative response, etc.
In two different emails I asked him to stop contacting me, one I asked him to please stop using negative/derogatory words towards me. That he had an opinion, as do I , and there is a due process for this civil matter. I asked him to utilize the sheriffs department to handle this matter , and any further contact I would view as harassment.
At 619pm yesterday the 26th of May I replied with the same message to stop. He did not reply. However, at 11 pm, without 24 hour notice, he forcibly entered my (to this day ) private residence. With a strong hand and a multitude of people. Him, Lucita, I believe the other two names were Dan and alli. 13-140-104 states forcible entry prohibited. He never knocked nor rang the doorbell. Mind you I have 2 small children 3 and 5 in the home. I along with my wife, went upstairs to find four people in our home dropping bags on the floor , Charles rushing down the stairs to serve us with JDF 101.
He is the agent/landlord of the house, so if there is an issue, he has every right to serve us himself with this form as part of the eviction process. I also understand that he did not have to do it the way he did. He could have simply taped it to the door, taken a picture and sent me a copy certified mail. If I receive it or not the clock starts ticking. The way he did this was scary, uncalled for, and unlawful. Especially when there are other ways to do it and still get the same result without, my family feeling like our lives are in danger.
So I immediately dialed 911. As above mentioned are the names of the deputy and officer that responded with the call screen.
I also understand in Colorado, as long as you are a part of the conversation, only one party has to know it’s being recorded. As he is taping this JDF form to the fridge, I have him on recording saying that this was filed with the sheriffs office, that these are their stamps, and it was official etc. I called the court they looked up my name , nothing on file, then I called you and am writing this email. Next I will contact the civil department of El Paso county. However I feel that this was all a lie. The deputy told me the instructions give t to him were:
Do not come back, or he could be arrested for trespassing / harrassment . Do not enter or he could be charged with burglary. I would have to agree on time and date etc.
So not only did he forcibly enter my house , causing distress and fear for our lives at an odd hour of the night with small children, he flat out lied to the deputy, if this wasn’t filed with the sheriffs office or county clerk, he is forging documents and saying that they were, which is intimidation by a landlord as well as other criminal charges I would think, and all this after I asked him to handle this theough the sheriffs office and not to contact me because he was harassing and threatening already! On top of that this guy Dan was or is a security guard for woodmoor. He came in here with his badge around his neck and a gun on his hip. When I was on the call with 911. They asked me if any weapons were involved. I said no but there is a guy here I think named Dan with woodmoor security he has what looks to be a gun on his hip. As I stated that Charles responded ” he doesn’t work there anyomore”. Which may be heard on the call tape. As they were leaving deputy mangel told Dan he could be charged with impersonating a police office because of ” public perception” Charles lied and told them that he (Dan) announced himself as security. They never knocked nor rang a doorbell , and when I was talking with 911 he said he doesn’t work there anymore! So which is it? Does he or doesn’t he? Did he or didn’t he state he was security?
Bottom line is we felt for our safety, felt our privacy was invaded, and our rights infringed upon. As well as how my kids felt! We want to know what we can do to have these things turned into charges? We would like something to be done about this. What is our next step?

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Lauren - January 23, 2017

So I need answers asap we were late on rent once ever and it was due to so many issues here flooding etc and getting sick and needing help with my babies. My apartments are evicting us for paying so late but now they’re refusing our payment and trying to take us to court and demanding this months and next months rent in advance and i have been looking up the laws here in Colorado and I don’t see anywhere where that is legal and on top of that theyre refusing to let me have a copy of my lease! Please help!

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