Last Updated on October 29, 2023 by Kelvin Nielsen
Are you looking to learn what rights you have as a tenant in Colorado? If you are, this article has you covered!
As a renter in Colorado, you enjoy certain rights under the statewide landlord-tenant law. And these rights exist regardless of what the lease agreement says.
Knowing these rights will help you know what your Colorado landlord can and cannot do as per the law. From security deposits, to habitability issues, to rent-related matters, to eviction procedures, you enjoy certain rights in every facet of tenancy.
The following are the rights renters have under state law.
What are My Rights As A Tenant in Colorado?
#1: You have a right to live in a habitable rental property.
Under Colorado law, renters have a right to live in a property that meets the basic health, safety, and building codes. Among other requirements, the unit must have hot and cold running water, meet the heating requirements, be free of pests and vermin, and have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
The landlord must also make repairs to issues impacting a unit’s habitability within 24-96 hours after receiving proper notice from the tenant.
If the landlord isn’t able to do the repairs within this period, you may be able to exercise certain rights. Including, suing the landlord for any damage you’ve incurred, breaking the lease without penalty, or withholding future rent payments.
#2: You have a right to a proper eviction process.
Your Colorado landlord cannot evict you for any reason. They must have a ‘just cause’ to begin the process. Examples of ‘just causes’ include failing to pay rent, violating a lease term, refusing to leave after the lease expires, or engaging in illegal acts.
Next, the landlord must follow the proper eviction procedure. The following is a basic overview of the process.
- Serve you an eviction notice. If the eviction is due to failure to pay rent, for instance, the landlord must serve you a 3-Day Notice to Pay. If for other reasons, the landlord must serve you an appropriate notice.
- File an eviction lawsuit in court and obtain a copy of Summons and Complaint. A process server will need to serve these to you.
- Attend the court hearing. The judge will make a ruling based on the evidence adduced.
If the judgment favors the landlord, the court will issue them with a Writ of Restitution (court order). At this point, you’ll need to move out of the property or else risk a forceful eviction by the sheriff.
The landlord must not try to evict you in any other way. Such as, through retaliatory- or discriminatory tactics, or through “self-help” methods.
#3: You have a right to the return of your security deposit after moving out.
Colorado law requires landlords to abide by certain security deposit rules.
First and foremost, the landlord must not charge you a security deposit exceeding 2 months’ rent. If the monthly rent is, say, $1,500, then the most you can pay as a security deposit should be $3,000.
Also, the landlord must only make allowable deductions to the security deposit. Examples of allowable deductions include costs of abandonment, unpaid rent, and damage exceeding normal wear and tear.
And after moving out, the landlord must return the deposit within 60 days, less allowable deductions.
#4: You have a right to terminate your periodic lease agreement.
As a renter in Colorado, you can terminate your periodic lease after serving the landlord proper notice. The notice to serve will depend on how long you have lived on the property.
|Length of Tenancy||Notice Requirement|
|If the tenancy is less than 1 week||1 Day|
|If the tenancy is between 1 week and 1 month||3 Days|
|If the tenancy is between 1 month and 6 months||7 Days|
|If the tenancy is between 6 months and 12 months||28 Days|
|If the tenancy is a year or more||91 days|
The notice must be in writing and contain some important information. Including, you and your landlord’s name and address, the date you served the notice, the date you intend to move out, and a statement that you’re terminating the lease.
#5: You have a right to break a fixed-term lease early without penalty.
A fixed-term lease usually runs from 6 months to a year. During this entire time, you are contractually obligated to abide by the terms of the agreement, including paying rent, whether or not you actually live there.
However, a few exemptions do exist that may allow you to break the lease early without penalty in Colorado. For instance, when starting active military duty, domestic violence victim status, or if the unit becomes uninhabitable.
#6: You have a right to a proper rent increase.
Unfortunately for tenants in Colorado, there is no state rent control law. This basically means that the landlord can charge any rent amount and raise it by whatever amount.
A rent increase must, however, abide by retaliatory and discriminatory laws. Also, a landlord can only raise the rent once in a 12-month period.
Furthermore, the landlord must provide you with a proper notice of the rent increase. C.R.S. 38-12-701 requires landlords to give renters a notice of at least 60 days where there is no written lease agreement. For all other situations, please check what the lease says.
#7: You have a right to live without being discriminated against on the basis of a protected class.
As a renter in Colorado, you have a right to be treated fairly and equally as per state and federal law.
The Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects you on the basis of 7 classes. That is, race, color, religion, nationality, religion, sex, and familial status.
Colorado law extends these protections to its residents based on gender identity, sexual orientation, ancestry, marital status, and ownership of a service animal.
#8: You have a right to proper notice prior to landlord entry in some situations.
Colorado is one of the most landlord-friendly states in the country. Unlike most other states, landlords can generally enter their rental unit without notice. As long as the landlord has a reasonable purpose, they can enter without notice to make repairs, inspect the unit, show the unit to prospective tenants, or respond to an emergency.
That said, a few exceptions to this rule exist. For one, if the landlord is looking to enter the home to inspect for bedbugs, they must serve the tenant a 24 hours’ advance notice. Also, a landlord must provide you with notice if looking to enter your home in your absence.
#9: Right to a 7-day grace period after the rent becomes due.
While Colorado landlords have a right to charge a late fee for late rent, there are certain requirements that they must abide by. Including:
- Disclosing the late fee in the lease agreement.
- Wait for at least 7 days before charging a late fee.
- Not charge a late fee exceeding $50 or 5 percent of the past-due rent payment.
- Not charge an interest on late fees.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What are My Rights As A Tenant in Colorado in 2023?
Q: What are Colorado Tenant Rights To Withhold Rent?
A: Colorado tenants have a right to withhold rent under certain situations. The state’s “Implied Warranty of Habitability” requires that landlords provide habitable living conditions to tenants.
If the landlord is unable to do this, either by not abiding by the state’s basic health and/or safety codes or by refusing to make requested repairs, you may be able to withhold rent payments.
Before withholding rent payments, however, make sure the problem is truly serious. For instance, a pest infestation, broken windows or doors, a leaky roof, or lack of heat or hot water. Next, notify the landlord of the habitability concern. This must be in writing. You must then allow the landlord reasonable time to make the repair, which is usually between 24- and 96 hours.
That said, only resort to withholding rent payments as a last resort. If you do it in bad faith, you may risk an eviction.
Q: What are your rights as a tenant without a lease in Colorado?
A: As a tenant without a lease in Colorado, you enjoy certain rights under state law. Including:
- The landlord cannot evict you without proper notice. They must provide you with a proper notice commensurate with the length of time you have lived on the property.
- You have a right to the return of your security deposit after moving out.
- You have a right to be treated fairly without discrimination on the basis of your race, color, nationality, or any other protected class.
- You have a right to live in a habitable home.
Q: How late can rent be in Colorado?
A: As a renter in Colorado, you have a right to a 7 day mandatory grace period. So, once rent becomes due (usually on the 1st of every month), the landlord will have to wait for at least 7 days before charging you a late fee.
Q: Can a landlord terminate a month to month lease without cause in Colorado?
A: Yes, a Colorado landlord doesn’t need to have a just cause to terminate a month-to-month lease. That said, the landlord must provide the tenant with proper notice prior to lease termination.
The amount of notice the landlord must give you will depend on the length of time you have lived on the property. For instance, if you have lived on the property for a period of between 1- and 6 months, the landlord must provide you a 7 days’ advance notice.
Q: What is an illegal eviction in Colorado?
A: In Colorado, an illegal eviction is one that doesn’t abide by the statutory procedures. The following are examples of situations where an eviction can be deemed to be irregular under the law.
- Self-help evictions. For instance, the landlord shutting down a utility, locking you out, or removing your personal belongings from the unit.
- Retaliatory evictions. For instance, the landlord trying to evict you for exercising a legal right.
- Discriminatory evictions. For example, the landlord trying to evict you for exercising a legal right, such as reporting them to a local health agency for habitability issues.
It’s only a court order that can remove a tenant from their rented premises in Colorado.
Q: How much can a landlord raise rent in Colorado?
A: Colorado is among the group of states that have no rent control laws. As such, landlords can charge whatever amount of rent and raise it as much as they want.
However, before effecting the rent raise, the landlord must provide you with a notice of at least 30 days. The increase must also adhere to Colorado laws, including discriminatory and retaliatory laws.
There you have it, all the rights you enjoy under Colorado law. Understanding these rights will help you know what you are entitled to under the statewide landlord-tenant law.
Disclosure: The content herein isn’t a substitute for advice from a professional attorney. It’s only meant to serve educational purposes. If you have a specific question, kindly seek expert attorney services.
I am a real estate attorney with over 11 years of experience in tenant eviction cases. My mission here at LTRC is to help answer your commonly asked questions on everything regarding real estate laws, especially on eviction matters.
I’m a member of the following professional organizations: Attorneys’ Real Estate Councils of Florida (ARECs), Florida Bar Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section, American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), and the Florida Association of Community Managers (FACM).