Understanding Colorado's Landlord-Tenant Laws: A Guide for Property Owners

June 26, 2023

Knowing the Rules Makes the Game Easier

Whether you're managing one house or 5 apartment buildings, understanding the rules of tenancy will certainly make things go far more smoothly than just winging it. With this having been mentioned, we know that while some revel in property management, others can find it to be a burden. If the latter of the two describes your stance, then you may want to consider calling us. We are a property management company that knows the ins and outs of renting property. On the other hand, if you like handling your property matters yourself, then scroll down and read on to learn more.

Rental Agreements: The Foundation of a Successful Tenancy

A rental agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord and tenant outlining the terms and conditions of renting a property. In Colorado, rental agreements can be either written or oral, though it is highly recommended to have a written document to avoid misunderstandings and potential disputes. A comprehensive rental agreement should include:

  • Duration of the lease
  • Rent amount and due date
  • Security deposit terms
  • Maintenance responsibilities
  • Rules for renewing, modifying, or terminating the agreement


Security Deposits: Protecting Your Property and Your Tenants' Rights

Landlord-tenant laws in Colorado mandate that property owners follow specific guidelines when collecting, holding, and returning security deposits. Landlords are not allowed to charge more than one month's rent for a security deposit unless the property has unique features that warrant a higher amount. Furthermore, landlords must return the security deposit within 30 days (or a mutually agreed-upon time frame) after the tenant has vacated the property, providing an itemized list of any deductions made for damages or unpaid rent.

Rent Payments: Ensuring Timely and Transparent Transactions

As a landlord, it is crucial to establish clear rent payment terms in the rental agreement. This includes the due date, acceptable payment methods, and any late fees or grace periods. Offering multiple payment methods, such as those carried out via cash, check, wire transfer, or credit cards — either in the office or online —, increase the likelihood that rent will be paid on time and in a manner that is easy for tenants.

In Colorado, if a tenant fails to pay rent on time, a landlord must provide a written notice giving the tenant at least 10 days to pay the outstanding amount. If the tenant still does not pay rent within this time frame, the landlord may initiate eviction proceedings.

Evictions: Understanding the Legal Process to Protect Your Property

Evicting a tenant is an unfortunate but sometimes necessary part of property management. The law in Colorado outlines specific procedures for landlords to follow when they evict a tenant. The most common reasons for eviction include:

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Violation of the rental agreement
  • Illegal activity on the property
  • The landlord's decision to end a month-to-month tenancy

Before initiating eviction proceedings, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written notice detailing the reason for eviction and a deadline to remedy the issue or vacate the property. The eviction process itself involves filing a complaint with the court, serving the tenant with a summons, and attending a court hearing. If the court rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant will be legally obligated to vacate the property.

Maintenance and Repairs: Balancing Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities

According to landlord-tenant laws in Colorado, both landlords and tenants have responsibilities when it comes to maintaining a rental property. Landlords are generally responsible for ensuring that the property is habitable, which includes providing essential services such as heating, plumbing, and electricity. Tenants, on the other hand, must keep the property clean and in good condition, reporting any necessary repairs to the landlord promptly.

Fair Housing and Discrimination: Upholding Equal Opportunity for All Tenants

As a landlord in Colorado, it is crucial to understand and comply with the Fair Housing Act, a federal law that prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. This means that property owners cannot refuse to rent to potential tenants, set different rental terms, or falsely deny the availability of a rental unit based on these protected characteristics. Additionally, Colorado state law expands these protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status. By adhering to these anti-discrimination laws, landlords can ensure a fair and equitable housing market for all individuals.

Tenant Privacy: Respecting the Rights of Your Renters

Tenant privacy is an essential aspect of landlord-tenant laws in Colorado. Landlords must provide tenants with a reasonable expectation of privacy in their rental units. This means that property owners are generally not allowed to enter a tenant's rental unit without proper notice, except in cases of emergency. In Colorado, landlords must give at least 24 hours notice before entering the property for non-emergency reasons, such as performing maintenance, inspections, or showing the unit to prospective tenants. By respecting the privacy rights of your tenants, you can foster trust and maintain a positive landlord-tenant relationship.

Handling Tenant Complaints: Resolving Issues in a Timely and Professional Manner

Dealing with tenant complaints is an inevitable part of property management and tenant law. As a landlord in Colorado, it is essential to handle these concerns promptly and professionally to maintain a positive relationship with your tenants and avoid potential legal disputes. Some best practices for addressing tenant complaints include:

  • Responding to concerns in a timely manner
  • Communicating openly and honestly with your tenants
  • Documenting all communication and actions taken to resolve the issue
  • Seeking mediation or legal counsel when necessary
By being proactive and attentive to your tenants' needs, you can minimize conflict and foster a harmonious rental environment.

Rent Increases and Rent Control: Balancing Affordability and Profitability

The law in Colorado states that landlords have the right to increase rent, but it is essential to do so fairly and within the bounds of the law. There are no statewide rent control laws in place, but landlords must abide by the terms of the rental agreement when it comes to rent increases. For fixed-term leases, rent cannot be increased until the lease expires and a new agreement is negotiated. For month-to-month tenancies, landlords must provide a written notice of the rent increase at least 10 days before the beginning of the next rental period.

To maintain a positive relationship with your tenants and ensure continued occupancy, it is recommended that rent increases are reasonable, in line with current market conditions, and communicated transparently. By being mindful of these considerations, landlords can strike a balance between maintaining affordability for their tenants and ensuring the profitability of their rental properties. 

Subleasing and Assignment: Navigating Third-Party Rental Agreements

Subleasing and assignment are arrangements in which a tenant allows another party to rent the property, either for a portion of the lease term or for the remainder of the lease. These arrangements can be complex and require a clear understanding of the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved.

If you're wondering where vacation home rental sites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway fit into the equation, then do note that while these sites operate on a foundation that is based on the state laws that govern rental property, they do have additional aspects to consider, such as the collection of occupancy tax, cleaning fees, and platform fees. Additionally, each listing is structured by the host (i.e., the one who is renting the property), and may include rules (e.g., check-in and check-out times, common area usage, etc.) that would not be stipulated in a standard rental agreement.

Should you have questions regarding the manner in which these platforms conduct business, then we recommend that you visit their websites to gain a better understanding of what rental terms, whether that is one day or 3 months, they have.

Back to standard rentals. Landlord-tenant laws in Colorado say unless explicitly prohibited or restricted in the rental agreement, tenants may sublease or assign their rental unit. However, it is advisable for landlords to include specific terms regarding subleasing and assignment in the rental agreement to maintain control over who occupies the property.


Property management can be seen as a leisurely pass-time or full-time endurance test. Either way you view it, having the knowledge required to run a successful and legitimate rental property will ensure that things run as smoothly as possible.
If your idea of smoothly ran property means handing the reins to someone else, then we get it. Sometimes you just have to know when something just isn't for you, and when you do, then give us a call. We would be happy to discuss our professional property management services with you.

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