Colorado Landlord Tenant Law: FAQs
What are the rent control/stabilization laws in Colorado?
There are currently no rent control or stabilization laws in Colorado.
What fees may I charge?
There currently are no restrictions or limits placed on the collection of a late charge, an application fee, or a returned payment. However, reasonable cost should always be kept in mind when initiating any charges. Landlords and tenants can also create their own agreement about fees for returned payments.
Are there limitations on the amount I can collect for a security deposit?
There is no limit on the security deposit charged to the tenant so long as it is reasonable. Some jurisdictions such as Boulder have different requirements (in Boulder, the landlord must pay the tenant interest on a security deposit). Landlords should check with local housing laws for variables that may differ from state regulations.
What do I do with the security deposit after my tenant has moved out?
Colorado law requires the landlord to return the security deposit or an itemized statement of the deductions and balance, if any, to the tenant within 30 days after lease termination. This time period may be extended up to 60 days if stated in the lease.
What are common issues involving security deposits?
Oftentimes, landlords try to collect deductions for items that are described as normal wear and tear. To prevent a situation like this, the landlord should provide proof of each deduction with pictures, and receipts.
How can I terminate a Colorado lease agreement?
In regards to a fixed-term rental agreement, notice would apply to the terms specified within the lease. Tenancies that are one year or longer may be terminated by either party, giving at least 3 months’ advanced written notice. With regards to a lease that is 6 months or longer but less than 1 year, tenancies may be terminated by either party, giving at least 30 days advanced written notice. For tenancies that are one month or longer, but less than 6 months, tenancies may be terminated by either party, giving at least 10 days of advanced written notice.
In which situations must I release a tenant from the rental agreement?
In the case of a fire not caused by the tenant, may the landlord release the tenant from the agreement. A tenant may also be released from a contractual agreement if he/she is called to active military duty. Furthermore, a tenant may be removed from the lease agreement from the court if a landlord does not follow Colorado’s landlord obligations.
How much notice is needed to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent?
If the tenant has not paid rent, the landlord can serve a 3-day notice to pay or quit. The notice must be either posted on the door or the premises or given to the tenant. The 3 days do not include holidays or weekends. A court proceeding may be initiated after the 3-day notice has been served to the tenant.
What must I do to physically remove my tenant after possession was granted to me?
After the court grants possession, the landlord must obtain a Writ of Eviction issued by the court clerk. The Sheriff will serve The Writ by posting it on the door of the rental property.
What is the time frame for the eviction process?
There are many factors that go into the eviction process which make exact timing almost unattainable. If there are no complications, the process should take around 4-5 weeks.
May I demand my tenants to renter’s insurance mandatory for my tenants to obtain?
Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance and can make the failure to do so a breach of the lease agreement.
What are the landlord’s legal rights in the event of the death of a tenant?
The lease is automatically terminated in the event of the death of a tenant. If the lease states conditions regarding the death of a tenant, then the lease prevails. If there is no lease agreement, then the landlord must get authorization from a probate court to remove all contents from the premises.
How will I know if my tenant abandoned the rental unit?
There are a few obvious ways to figure out whether or not your tenant has abandoned the rental or not. It is recommended to check if the tenant removed any personal items or to find whether the tenant has returned to the property at any time during a one-week period. It is recommended to take pictures and document all-sufficient evidence in order to rule out abandonment.
May I enforce a no-smoking policy in my rental agreement?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy in the Lease.
How much notice must I give before entering the rental unit?
A landlord must give reasonable advanced notice unless stated otherwise in the lease.
Landlord Rights & Responsibilities
1. Zoning Ordinances
The Land Development Code’s zoning rules contain provisions that have an impact on landlords and tenants in addition to the Longmont Property Maintenance Code’s basic livability requirements. Specifically:
- Apartment buildings must be situated in zoning districts that are legal.
- Unless the building is legally permitted to depart from that requirement, the proper indicated amount of street parking must be offered for each unit.
2. Occupancy Limits
The Longmont Municipal Code’s definition of “family” governs how many persons are allowed to reside in a single rental unit (home or apartment) in Longmont. One household is only permitted to occupy one rental property. “Family” is defined as:
- two or more individuals who are connected to one another through blood, adoption, marriage, or legal guardianship, including foster children; or
- a residential unit shared by two unrelated people and their minor children;
- a household with no more than five residents who are not connected by blood, adoption, marriage, or legal guardianship (including foster children).
3. Commitment to Repair & Maintain The Rental Property
In the following situations, a landlord is required by Colorado law to make repairs to the rental property during the period of the lease:
- The lease has a particular clause outlining the landlord’s obligation to maintain or make repairs to the property.
- A home rental is unsuited or uninhabitable for the purposes that the parties reasonably expected.
- The state of a residential rental is materially threatening to the tenant’s life, safety, or health.
- The landlord and renter have a particular agreement that states the landlord will undertake certain repairs.
- The presence of gas-burning machinery has created a dangerous situation.
- In order to maintain multi-unit complexes safe, repairs are required in common spaces like parking lots, sidewalks, stairways, and corridors. A landlord is required to take reasonable precautions to guard against known risks.
- To be in compliance with the City of Longmont’s property maintenance code, repair or maintenance is necessary.
4. Adherence to the Longmont property maintenance code and zoning regulations
The City of Longmont Property Maintenance Code, which defines minimum requirements for health, safety, and upkeep and integrates the International Property Maintenance Code, must be followed by all rental properties in the city.
The rental property is not authorized by the City of Longmont. However, the City does have a Rental Inspection Program, and it will inspect premises when it hears complaints. The following minimum requirements must be met for housing to be considered respectable, sanitary, and safe:
- Each inhabited room must have two electrical outlets or at least one electrical light fixture and one electrical convenience outlet.
- Heating systems that can sustain 65 degrees Fahrenheit three feet above the ground.
- A minimum window opening of 5.7 square feet and a maximum window sill height of 44 inches are needed for new construction and as mandated by the UCBC for existing structures, respectively, in every sleeping room below the fourth story. Note: Dimensions must be greater than 20 inches in width and 24 inches in height to meet the requisite 5.7 square feet.
- A sufficient hot water supply, with all hot water-serving fixtures, properly linked.
- An operational smoke detector.
- Every plumbing device is connected to a sanitary sewer and kept in good working order.
- All habitable rooms should have windows for ventilation and natural light. The square footage of the window must be at least 8% of the square footage of the room.
The lists above don’t include all of the zoning laws, minimum maintenance requirements, and health, safety, and safety standards for rentals. As illustrations and a basic guide for landlords and tenants, they are provided here. You can reach the Office of Community and Neighborhood Resources at the City of Longmont Code Enforcement for more information (303-651-8444). At http://ci.longmont.co.us, you can access the Longmont Municipal Code online.
Tenant Rights & Responsibilities
1. Obey the terms of the lease
You engaged in a legally binding agreement when you signed the lease. If you do not abide by its conditions, you risk being evicted. If you do experience an unanticipated change in circumstances, talk to your landlord about modifying your lease rather than breaking your agreement and running the danger of being kicked out.
2. Pay your utility bills and rent on time.
Rent and other obligations as specified in the lease must be paid promptly by the renter. Even a single day of late rent payment is cause for eviction. Any money paid, whether it be for rent, deposits, repairs, or anything else, should be noted down and accompanied by a receipt from the landlord. Never pay with cash when a personal check or money order are also acceptable options. Whenever paying with cash, make sure you receive a receipt.
Inform your landlord and/or the utility provider right away if you discover that you won’t be able to pay your rent or bills on time. Talk to each other and try to come up with a payment plan that everyone will be happy with. However, you should never consent to a financial responsibility if you know you will struggle to fulfill it. Once you’ve committed to a payment plan, honor it. When a renter doesn’t contact the landlord or utility provider right away, problems get worse since late fees and interest on the rent or utility bills accumulate, possibly making it hard for the tenant to make up the money.
3. Repairs and Maintenance
When repairs or maintenance are required, the renter should review the lease carefully to determine who is responsible for carrying out the work—the landlord or the tenant.
It is assumed that the tenant is responsible for repairs and maintenance if the lease does not specify who is responsible for them and the type of repairs or maintenance necessary falls outside of the landlord’s legally mandated obligations.
A tenant should initially get in touch with the landlord if a repair is necessary and the landlord is required to make it by the terms of the lease, a contractual agreement, or another legal obligation. Should the landlord not respond right away, the renter should:
- Present the landlord with a written list of the required repairs and a deadline for their completion.
- By making plans to be at home when the repairman arrives, offer to help the landlord accommodate your schedule.
- Notes, letters, and emails sent or received by the landlord should be kept on file;
- Affirm in writing or via email any verbal agreements you have with the landlord;
- Give the landlord enough time to complete the repairs.
- If the repairs are not completed within a reasonable period of time, send a written reminder to the landlord.
4. When Can Tenants Refuse To Pay Rent?
According to a Colorado statute that became effective on September 1, 2008, and is applicable to all residential leases entered into or renewed after that date, a landlord who rents out a property guarantees that it is suitable for use as intended by the parties and for human habitation. If and only if the following three criteria are satisfied, a tenant may refuse to pay rent to a landlord:
- The renter believes the rental property is unsuitable for the purposes that the landlord and tenant reasonably planned, and
- The state of the rental unit poses a serious risk to the tenant’s life, health, or safety, and
- Despite being notified in writing of the issue, the landlord has not taken action to address it.
5. What Tenants Can Expect From A Landlord?
The following requirements must be fulfilled by a livable rental unit:
- Roof waterproofing
- Doors and windows that are intact
- Fully functional gas and plumbing fixtures
- Always have access to hot and running water that is connected to the proper fixtures.
- Properly functioning heating fixtures
- Fully functional electric lights
- Common areas are kept largely pest-free and reasonably clean.
- Extermination is carried out as needed to rid a residential property of a vermin infestation
- A sufficient number of properly maintained garbage disposal units
- Floors, stairs, and railings kept in good condition
- Locks on outside doors and locks or security measures on windows that can be opened, both of which are kept in excellent working order.
The tenant may undertake workmanlike repairs, bill the landlord for them, and deduct the cost of the repairs from rent payments, up to $400 per month or $1,000 per year, if the landlord fails to maintain habitable premises after receiving formal notification from the tenant or from a code enforcement agency.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord-tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.
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