Colorado Landlord Tenant Laws
January 20, 2023
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Application fee expenses
Reason for denial
Rent and Fees
Application Fees: Permitted
Rent Control: Banned
Late Fee Limit: $50 or 5% of amount due
Grace Period Minimum: 7 days
Amount Limit: N/A
Return Within: 60 days
Permitted Times of Entry: N/A
|Fair Housing Protections|
Veteran or military status
Rent Demand Notice: 10-day pay-or-quit notice
Notice for Lease Violation: 10-day cure-or-quit notice
Unconditional Notice to Quit: 3-day quit notice
Colorado Landlord-Tenant Law
Landlords in all 50 states must include information about lead-based paint hazards in the rental agreements for most properties built before 1978. Sellers and landlords must distribute an EPA-approved information pamphlet called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” and disclose any known lead hazards in the property. These obligations were established by Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.
Lease agreements in Colorado must disclose the name and address of the landlord or the agent authorized to act on their behalf.
The landlord should not advertise or rent a property known to contain bed bugs. If the tenant asks, the landlord must disclose whether a dwelling unit has contained bed bugs within the previous eight months, as well as the last date that the unit was inspected and found to be free of bed bugs.
Application Fee Expenses
Landlords in Colorado must disclose to tenants an itemization of how the application fee was used. If the fee is based on the average cost of processing applications, the landlord should include an explanation of how that average fee was determined.
Reason for Denial
Upon denying a rental application, the landlord must provide the applicant with a written notice stating the reason for the denial. This may include providing a copy of a report from a screening company.
Rent and Fees
- Rent Due Date: Rent in Colorado is due on the date specified in the lease agreement.
- Application Fees: Colorado landlords may only charge application fees to cover the actual cost of processing the rental application (e.g., the cost of processing, credit/background checks, etc.). Landlords must also charge all prospective tenants the same application fee and provide a paper or electronic receipt of such. If the landlord does not use the entire application fee, they must return the remainder within 20 days after processing the application (CRS § 38-12-903).
- Rent Increases: Rent control is banned in Colorado (CRS § 38-12-301(1)). However, if there is no written rental agreement for a residential tenancy, the landlord must provide 60 days’ notice to increase rent (CRS § 38-12-701(2)(a)).
- Late Fees: $50 or 5% of rent due (CRS § 38-12-105(1)(b)).
- Grace Period: 7 days (CRS § 38-12-105(1)(a)).
- NSF/Bounced Check Fee Maximum: If the tenant’s rent check bounces, the landlord may charge a fee up to $20, as long as the fee was described in the rental agreement (CRS § 13-21-109(1)(b)).
- Repair and Deduct: If the landlord fails to maintain habitability, the tenant may arrange for the repair and deduct the cost from the rent. However, the tenant must follow the appropriate notice requirements, including preparing an estimate of the cost of the repair and allowing the landlord to provide their own estimate after receiving the notice (CRS § 38-12-507(1)(e)).
- Deposit Limit: There is no limit on security deposits in Colorado.
- Interest: Landlords in Colorado are not required to pay interest on security deposits. However, many cities uphold this requirement.
- Return Within: 60 days. If the lease agreement does not specify when the security deposit should be returned, the default is one month (CRS § 38-12-103(1)).
- Deposit Location: There is no statute in Colorado designating where security deposits should be held.
- Withholding: Colorado landlords may withhold funds from the security deposit for unpaid rent or utility charges, repairs, cleaning, or abandonment of the premises. Landlords must also provide a written statement listing the exact reasons for any deductions from the security deposit. (CRS § 38-12-103(1)).
Tenant Screening and Fair Housing Protections
- Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability (Title 24 USC § 3601-3607). The Colorado fair housing act adds sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, veteran or military status, and ancestry (CRS § 24-34-502(1)(a)(I)).
- Landlords in Colorado must not consider any rental or credit history beyond seven years prior to the rental application date (CRS § 38-12-904(1)(a)).
- Colorado landlords are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (15 USC § 1681), which outlines the responsibilities of landlords to protect tenant credit information. According to the Act, landlords may not share tenant credit information with anyone without a legal reason to view it. They must also investigate disputed information, dispose of credit reports after use in tenant screening, and notify applicants when their credit score or history was the reason for their denial.
- Criminal background checks may be used during tenant screening in Colorado. However, landlords must not consider arrest records or convictions that occurred more than five years prior, except for convictions related to illegal drug distribution/manufacturing or registered sex offender status (CRS § 38-12-904(1)(b)).
- Colorado landlords should follow HUD recommendations for using criminal background checks fairly. This includes avoiding blanket policies for denying applicants with criminal convictions, assessing applicants and their criminal histories on a case-by-case basis, and only denying an applicant when they demonstrate a risk to the safety of other residents or the property.
- Advanced Notice: There is no state law in Colorado requiring landlords to give advance notice before entering a property. However, if the landlord is entering to inspect or treat a bed bugs infestation, they must give at least 48 hours’ written or electronic notice (CRS § 38-12-1004).
- Permitted Times: Colorado state law does not designate any time-of-day restrictions for entering.
- Emergency Entry: There is no state statute on emergency entry in Colorado, but it is generally permitted.
Evictions are complex processes often poorly understood by both parties. Before pursuing eviction in Colorado, consider hiring an experienced real estate attorney and be sure to review the Colorado eviction process in more detail.
- Rent Demand Notice: 10 days to pay or quit (CRS § 13-40-104(1)(d)).
- Notice for Lease Violation: 10 days to cure or quit. This lease violation eviction notice applies when a tenant is responsible for noncompliance with the rental agreement (CRS § 13-40-104(1)(e)).
- Unconditional Notice to Quit: 3 days to quit. According to Colorado laws on eviction, this notice applies when the tenant commits a “substantial violation,” such as endangering another person on the premises, committing a violent or drug-related felony, or breaking a federal or state law on the premises that carries a sentence for incarceration of more than 180 days (CRS § 13-40-107.5).
Other Laws and Facts About Colorado
- The median rent rate in Colorado is $2,250.
- The median rent rate in Denver is $2,200.
- According to the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, Colorado landlords may not demand or request that applicants provide information about their immigration or citizenship status. Landlords may ask for documentation like a social security or taxpayer identification number in order to confirm financial qualifications. However, the landlord must ask for this information from all applicants (CRS § 38-12-1203).