Landlords and tenants have rights and responsibilities that they have to follow to keep a good leasing relationship. In the case of landlords, they have to provide a habitable property that follows both state and local laws. The Colorado landlord tenant laws vary slightly depending on the area, so every landlord must seek legal advice before drafting a rental agreement document for their property.
In this article, you can learn more about the landlord-tenant laws in Colorado so that you know how they can affect your lease document. If you have any pending doubts, don't hesitate to contact an attorney or real estate property manager.
What is a Rental Agreement in Colorado?
Also known as "Lease Agreements," a rental agreement is a formal contract that a landlord creates for leasing their commercial or residential property in the Colorado state. This document serves as a legal tool that indicates the responsibilities and rights of all parties involved in the lease.
Colorado landlord-tenant law states that these agreements are needed for tenants who are planning to rent for 12 months or longer. However, most landlords draft lease agreements regardless of the duration of the term; this provides legal protection against any issues.
What Does a Lease Agreement In Colorado Include?
This may vary depending on the landlord and state laws, but generally, this is the information that most landlords must include in this document:
- Contact information of all the parties involved in the lease (Landlord included).
- Address and description of the leased property.
- Lease duration.
- Rent amount and due date.
- Landlord and tenant responsibilities.
- Miscellaneous clauses (Pet laws, smoking laws, etc.)
Is Colorado a Landlord or Tenant-Friendly State?
As of today, Colorado is considered a landlord-friendly state since there are few restrictions regarding evictions for late-payments and security deposits. On the other hand, Colorado is one of the few states that allow landlords to enter their property without notice.
Rights & Responsibilities
According to housing laws in the state of Colorado, landlords must provide a habitable unit for every tenant. A landlord has to ensure that the utilities are in good condition before leasing their property; these utilities include running water, electrical wiring, heating systems, plumbing, fixtures, etc. This is stated in the "Warranty of Habitability" law.
On the other hand, landlord-tenant laws in Colorado require landlords to provide repairs in a reasonable amount of time to comply with the Warranty of Habitability laws. Colorado tenants have the right to send a written notice of repair when they consider it appropriate, and landlords have up to 24 hours to fix the issue.
A landlord has the right to collect rent, deduct damages from security deposits (if applicable), and seek legal help if the tenant breached the terms of the lease.
Tenant rights state that they may exercise their right to habitable housing whenever they consider it appropriate; this includes asking for utilities in good condition, getting repairs in a reasonable amount of time, and collecting their security deposit once they leave the premises.
Additionally, tenants must comply with the following requirements to keep a good relationship with their landlord:
- Pay rent on time.
- Keep the property free of trash or waste.
- Keep the property safe and in good condition.
- Provide any required repairs as long as they're minor.
As stated by Colorado landlord-tenant laws, landlords are free to charge any amount of rent they consider appropriate for their unit since the state doesn't ask for any specific requirements.
Keep in mind that a Colorado tenant may withhold rent if they consider that the unit is not habitable and/or contains a potential health hazard for them. Tenants might withhold rent under these conditions if they provided notice of these damages beforehand. In most cases, the notice should be with a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of one month.
Rent Control Law
There are no rent control regulations in Colorado, meaning that a landlord may be able to raise rent prices as much as they want without any problems. Additionally, they're not required to provide notice about rent increases.
Late Fee Law
According to the Colorado landlord-tenant law, there are no specific limitations or requirements for late fees. A landlord may charge late fees as an incentive for Colorado tenants to pay rent, and they can choose any value that they feel appropriate. However, it's important to note that the value of the late fee may be reasonable under that specific context.
Grace Period Law
When it comes to paying rent in Colorado, some landlords may specify a grace period for unpaid rent. However, this is not a legal requirement in Colorado, so it's up to the landlord to decide if they want to include these clauses in their lease agreement.
Security Deposit Laws
While they're not a legal requirement in Colorado, most landlords tend to collect a security deposit in case of any damages that exceed normal wear and tear. Normally, the security deposit should be equal to the value of one month's rent.
In case the tenant decides to terminate the lease and leave the property, the landlord must return the security deposit within 30 or 60 days. If there is a hazardous condition in the unit, landlords must return the security deposit in a maximum of three days.
A landlord may withhold part of a security deposit if the damages exceed normal wear and tear or if there are any pending utility bills or unpaid rent.
Evictions & Early Terminations
A landlord may choose to evict a tenant for several reasons that imply a rental agreement breach. The most common grounds for eviction are listed below:
- Lease contract breach.
- Criminal activity.
- Withholding rent without cause.
In those cases, landlords must give at least a three-day eviction notice. An at-will tenant may receive an eviction notice in advance depending on the time they've lived on the rental unit. The minimum is a one-day notice for weekly leases, and the maximum is a 91-day notice for a tenant who has lived on the unit for more than a year.
Alternatively, a tenant in Colorado may terminate the lease early if one of the following required conditions are met:
- Active military service.
- Hazardous or uninhabitable rental unit.
- Domestic violence.
- Early termination clauses.
Read more about early termination clauses and eviction laws.
See our full guide on the eviction process and laws for Colorado.
Other Important Lease Clauses
Housing Discrimination and Tenant Protection
The Fair Housing Act and the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies - Civil Rights Division offer protection for tenants who have been discriminated against for any reason. According to state laws in Colorado, a tenant can be considered discriminated against for any of the following:
- Familial status
- Marital status
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
Tenants can file a discrimination lawsuit online if they consider it appropriate.
Right to Entry for Landlords
There are no specific landlord-tenant laws in Colorado regarding a landlord's right to enter their rental; this means that a landlord is not required to give any notice to enter the rental. However, most landlords and tenants come to an agreement on any notification clauses to avoid issues in the future.
In most cases, a landlord may give the tenant one or two days' notice before entering the premises.
Small Court Laws in Colorado
A Colorado small claims court can hear disputes regarding rent and security deposits that total a maximum of $7,500. However, it doesn't hear eviction cases. Landlord-tenant agreements in Colorado usually have a three-year statute of limitations.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
According to this landlord-tenant law, the landlord must give the tenant any information regarding lead paint if his unit was built before 1978.
Colorado is highly flexible regarding landlord-tenant laws, allowing landlords to have a broader set of options to choose from for their lease documents. It's important that landlords are reasonable with their requirements and ensure that their tenants are compliant with them.
If you have any more doubts regarding these laws in Colorado, we suggest that you seek legal advice.
P.S. Please check all current and updated laws. Apparently there is now a restriction on how much and when a landlord may charge late fees. One reader indicated that they may only charge $50 or 5% of monthly rent, and they may only charge it one time for each late month, but please verify this with your local attorney.
What are the laws on pets in California?
While Colorado doesn't specify any laws regarding pets, landlords are allowed to specify their criteria for pets inside their lease agreement. However, people with disabilities are legally entitled to keep their service animals in all public forums, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
How can the tenant respond to harrassment and violence on the property?
If the tenant feels involved in any special circumstance that involves domestic violence, harassment, or sexual assault, they can legally terminate the lease early. However, the tenant could be responsible for paying an additional month of rent unless they provide evidence of domestic abuse or violence.
How do retaliation laws work in California?
A tenant might file a court order if they perceive retaliatory behavior from their landlord. Retaliatory behavior can include harassing the tenant after making a complaint or increasing the rent's price deliberately after said complaint.
Can a tenant change the locks on a property?
Tenants can legally change their locks if the landlord allows it in the lease agreement; if the tenant plans to do this, they may be required to send a notification some days before. Keep in mind that landlords may not change the locks as a form of retaliation for the tenant.
Alternatively, tenants can request the landlord to install a security system for safety reasons. If this happens, the landlord has to respond in a reasonable period (usually a few days after the request was made).